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Morning Report: Daniel Cormier supports a redesign of gloves to curb eye pokes but says ‘there’s always gonna be issues’

Daniel Cormier

This past weekend, the main event of UFC Vegas 21 ended in unsatisfying fashion when an accidental eye poke halted proceedings. Early the second round, while throwing a body kick, Leon Edwards poked Belal Muhammad, causing an immediate scream of pain from Muhammad and a cut on the eye lid that ended up requiring stitches. The fight was stopped, resulting in a no-contest and reigniting a debate that MMA fans have been having for years regarding the design of the UFC’s gloves.

The issue with the UFC gloves, detractors say, is that they allow the hand to open completely, creating more opportunity for fighters to extend their fingers and poke opponents in the eye. There have been a number of alternatives suggested which largely boil down to including a curve to the glove to minimize this effect but former double champ and current UFC commentator Daniel Cormier says even these ideas won’t magically make everything perfect.

“A lot of times when you poke eyes, you are trying to grab,” Cormier said on ESPN. “If your fingers aren’t allowed to open or straighten, I think that you could eliminate some of the eye poking but the reality is, there’s gonna be issues with the gloves being curved if we go forward. My thing is this, you’re never gonna find something that works perfectly. There’s gonna be issues with everything and I don’t know what it’s gonna take in order to stop eye poking. I believe eye pokes will still happen, maybe not as frequently but they will still happen.

“Eye pokes happen just about every fight. The big one that just happened with Belal, is probably - when was the last time a big one like that happened where it was so damaging?”

Cormier knows a little something about being poked in the eye. Aside from having fought Jon Jones twice, one of the most notorious eye pokers in the sport, in the final fight of his career he was on the receiving end of an eye poke from Stipe Miocic that left him unable to see out of one eye. But, as Cormier notes, though eye pokes are a fairly common occurrence in the UFC, like groin shots, they rarely lead to a fight being stopped. However, that doesn’t mean Cormier is against updating the UFC glove design, so long as it doesn’t hinder other aspects of the MMA game.

“Having curved gloves will help, because it does allow you to still lock your hands and wrestle,” Cormier said. “You can still grab, you can do everything, it keeps the fingers from going straight. Even when Jones would touch people in the eye, he wasn’t trying to. He was just trying to manage distance and because he’s so long, he’d put his arms out...

“I do believe that the rounded glove could help, so long as it’s not so rounded that it’s making it into a fist. You just don’t want it into a fist. You want to be able to maneuver and use your hands. So if it’s just a little curve, just to bend the front, okay, but not anything that makes your fingers kind of all the way go forward.”

The UFC and athletic commissions have been attempting to minimize the frequency of eye pokes for some time now, including updating the rules to prohibit fighters from advancing with their fingers outstretched, instead dictating that fighters must keep their fingers pointed upwards or face penalization. But while in concept the rule makes sense, it obviously hasn’t cured the sport of its eye poke problem and that’s because, according to Cormier, nothing will. They best anyone can do is hope to curb things because at the end of the day, we’re still talking about cage fighting.

“This thing that they started implementing, where you’re supposed to have your hand up, has helped, but the reality is, you’re in a fight,” Cormier said. “Sometimes those things happen. Unfortunate that it happens in those big spots. So yeah, I’m all for different designs on the gloves but I do believe that with the different designs, I don’t know what the issue will be but there will always be something. In a fist fight, it’s never perfect... There’s always gonna be issues but we should do whatever’s necessary to limit those things.”


Fans. Dana White: UFC 261 gets full crowd in Jacksonville, Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2 headlines.

Champion. Jan Blachowicz: ‘I don’t care’ about Daniel Cormier, open to Israel Adesanya rematch but ‘he needs to win’ at light heavyweight first.

Out. Paulo Costa ill, unable to fight Robert Whittaker at April 17 UFC event.

Dark place. Georges St-Pierre admits he never liked fighting: ‘I hate it … but when you win a fight, it’s really worth it’.

Bias. Matheus Nicolau blames Daniel Cormier commentary for UFC Vegas 21 robbery narrative: ‘It’s pretty clear I won’.

Boxing. Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua reportedly sign two-fight deal to unify heavyweight titles.


UFC 261 reaction.

The Rise of Gregor Gillespie.

One of the best KOs of 2020.

Belal Muhammad gives update on eye and blasts Leon Edwards.

Pros predict Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou II.


The Co-Main Event. Discussing UFC Vegas 21 and fouls in MMA.

Jack Slack. Discussing UFC Vegas 21 and the disaster in the main event.



Aljamain Sterling.

Petr Yan.

Call out.


Bobby Knuckles.

Kelvin Gastelum hoping for the call.

Quarantine life.

Tony Ferguson.

March 15th, Dustin Poirier Day.


Hakeem Dawodu (12-1-1) vs. Movsar Evloev (14-0); UFC 263, Jun. 12.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Should the UFC update their gloves?

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  • 76%
    Yes, they need to fix this problem.
    (659 votes)
  • 23%
    No, referees just need to enforce the rules.
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857 votes total Vote Now

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