The bantamweight contenders fought to a disappointing no contest this past Saturday at UFC 276 after Munhoz was unable to continue due to an accidental eye poke in the second round. Munhoz has since revealed that he has an abrasion on his right cornea and he said on The MMA Hour that he wasn’t pleased with O’Malley making light of the situation.
If that’s the case, Munhoz definitely won’t be happy with O’Malley’s latest comments on the situation from his BrOMalley Show podcast.
“Pedro said I poked him in the eye, which I didn’t,” O’Malley said. “Maybe a little bit, but his eye was closed... And then he said I poked him twice. So he thought the first one, in the first round — when I punched him in the eye — was a poke. That’s the one that swole his left eye shut. That’s the one that really hurt him, when I punched him in the eye. My knuckle is actually still sore from that punch, boom, right in the eye socket.
“Right after I punched him in the eye I threw a teep kick. It landed on the belt line. I’ve kicked people in the nuts before. I feel the cup. I did not hit him in the nuts. That was a fake foul. I hit him in the gut and instantly he didn’t hold his nuts, he held his eye. So he was taking that low body shot to take time for his eye that I punched. That was a fake nut shot that did not hit him in the nuts. If it hit him in the nuts he would have held his nuts. It would have hurt him more. It would have been a nut shot and people react different to nut shots. It wasn’t a nut shot. It was a good body shot after a good right hand.”
A handful of fighters questioned Munhoz’s reaction on fight night, including Bryce Mitchell, Sergio Pettis, and Randy Brown, the latter of whom tweeted, “He packed it up.” However, others supported Munhoz, with Casey O’Neill tweeting, “I urge every fan who boos an eye poke to take an eye poke, then continue fighting another killer.”
But to O’Malley, the foul was hardly worth stopping the fight for, a fight that he believes was strongly trending in his favor.
“The second round, barely poked him in the eye,” O’Malley said. “Not enough to stop the fight. Right after the fight, I apologized. I’ve poked someone in the eye before in sparring. Never in a fight. I poked someone in the eye before and it feels gross. You don’t want to poke someone in the eye. I’ve been poked in the eye and I’ve poked someone in the eye. That was not a f****** poke in the eye. That was, like, brushed up. There’s no way.
“You can’t say because obviously we’re not him, but there’s no way that he could not continue that fight. Not a chance. He robbed me of a highlight-reel KO that I trained 12 weeks for because I was getting the better of him. I was checking his leg kicks. His leg kicks were hurting him, 100 percent. I felt his shin and sometimes he was landing with his feet. He was throwing 100 percent power kicks with his feet into my shin.”
O’Malley has developed a reputation as one of MMA’s most entertaining strikers and 11 of his 15 wins have come by way of KO/TKO. He entered the Munhoz fight coming off of three straight knockout victories and owns a first-round finish of one-time UFC bantamweight title challenger Eddie Wineland.
On the other side, Munhoz had lost four of his past five fights prior to UFC 276, so O’Malley believes that Munhoz made a business decision.
“He didn’t land one body shot,” O’Malley said. “He didn’t land one head shot. The 26 leg kicks was probably 12. He landed a couple of decent leg kicks, but it didn’t change the fight at all. My legs felt completely fine. I guarantee his legs hurt worse than mine from his leg kicks that he was throwing. Zero landed head shots. Zero landed body shots. So when he wanted the opportunity to say, ‘Hey doctor, save me. I can’t see.’ Instead of waiting, he didn’t have to tell the doctor, ‘I can’t see’ right away. He wanted out of that fight.
“What was he going to do? The leg kicks weren’t working. Couldn’t land a body shot, couldn’t land a head shot. I cracked him with a hard right hand, I spun to the body, kicked him hard, spun to the head, landed. This m***********’s confused. ... He didn’t want to be on the highlight reel. He didn’t want to be an Eddie Wineland. He didn’t want to be a [Raulian] Paiva. He wanted out while he still could. He wanted to get another fight in the UFC. I put his lights out, they say, ‘You know what? That might be it.’ So for him, he’s like, ‘Well, I can get paid here and I can probably get another fight.’”