Belal Muhammad’s first UFC main event ended in disaster, but at least an apparent injury is not as bad as it first seemed.
Saturday’s UFC Vegas 21 welterweight headliner between the returning Leon Edwards and Muhammad was ruled a no contest after an Edwards eye poke (the second-such foul of the fight from the Englishman) in the second round left Muhammad unable to continue. The foul had Muhammad clutching at his face and screaming as referee Herb Dean called a stop to the action. A ringside physician later determined that Muhammad could not continue after Muhammad stated that he couldn’t see.
Later in the evening, Muhammad provided a positive update on his health via Twitter:
My heart is shattered my first main event ended like that but Gods the best of planners im sorry to the fans and the @ufc you deserved a full fight.. Alhamdillah the vision is coming back and no permanent damage to the eye I’ll be back and want to run it back @Leon_edwardsmma pic.twitter.com/5xsvhmZ5Uh— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) March 14, 2021
“My heart is shattered, my first main event ended like that, but God’s the best of planners,” Muhammad wrote. “I’m sorry to the fans and the UFC you deserved a full fight.. Alhamdillah, the vision is coming back and no permanent damage to the eye. I’ll be back and want to run it back, Leon Edwards.”
The eye poke was deemed to be accidental by Dean and replays showed that Edwards’ finger went into Muhammad’s eye as Edwards caught him coming in with a kick to the body. UFC President Dana White later shared an image on Twitter of the gruesome foul.
Immediately following the fight, Edwards did an on-air interview with commentator Daniel Cormier and he told Cormier that he “would rather have lost” than see the fight end in the manner that it did.
Edwards added at the post fight press conference that despite the outcome, he didn’t really see a need to rematch Muhammad, who was a late notice replacement in the main event after Khamzat Chimaev dropped off the card.
That didn’t sit too well with Muhammad, who ripped Edwards in a social media post on Sunday morning
“Never saw someone act so tough after poking someone in the eye,” Muhammad said. “The fight was just getting going and if you’re satisfied to end it on that note, you’re soft. You ain’t getting a title fight off that. I took the fight on three [weeks] notice and came to fight. Run it back.”
Never saw someone act so tough after poking someone in the eye the fight was just getting goin and if your satisfied to end it on that note your soft you ain’t getting a title fight off that I took the fight on 3 week notice and came to fight run it back @ufc— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) March 14, 2021