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UFC Looking to Implement New Gloves to Reduce Eye Pokes

Apr 27, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Gian Villante (red shorts) talks with the official as he competes against Ovince St. Preux (not pictured) during UFC 159 at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIINovember 27, 2016

UFC 159 will go down as one of the strangest events in UFC history. We saw two technical decisions following eye pokes, along with a couple of other gruesome injuries.

After Jon Jones' toe going the wrong way, fans will most likely remember the evening's nasty eye pokes. It's an issue that's plagued the sport for years, but UFC President Dana White spoke about how the promotion is looking to fix the problem.MMA Junkie has the details.

"We actually have started to work on a new glove that actually curves your hand," UFC President Dana White said. "Like the glove is curved like a 'U,' so you can still open your hand, but your fingers don't point straight out."

Of course everyone points to modifying the gloves as the end-all-be-all solution to the problem, but it's not that simple. Altering the gloves to keep a fighter's fingers in would create a big hindrance to their grappling ability.

White believes the real solution lay in the fighters themselves.

"Guys need to keep their damn hands closed," he said. "You can't reach out toward the face with the hands open in a fight. You can't do it."

That is what will help avoid eye pokes, along with keeping the integrity of the sport. Yet, it's a natural reaction to reach out to gauge distance or push away from an opponent. In a sport where instincts come first, it will be hard for fighters to ignore their natural tendencies.

The UFC admits the process is in the "early stages" but I'm sure guys like Alan Belcher and Gian Villante will appreciate the progress.

Ultimately, the eye-poke issue will never be truly corrected, as any number of solutions present valid counter-arguments. It will take a combination of coaches teaching their fighters not to paw out with an open hand, along with tougher officiating when an eye poke does occur.

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