As Long as the UFC Is Looking to Change Rules, How About These?
After the myriad of eye poke injuries that occurred at UFC 159 last month, the MMA world has been buzzing over what sort of changes can be implemented to reduce these types of incidents.
Reactions from the UFC brass have varied from a modest call for a clarification of the rules to a more radical approach of creating new gloves, a move that could potentially do more harm than good to the sport.
While this issue may never get completely solved, its clear that some sort of adjustment needs to be made to the way eye pokes are handled inside the octagon.
But despite the number of recent incidents, eye-poke injuries are far from being the most pressing issue for the UFC. Here are a few other rules that the world's largest MMA promotion should be looking into altering as well.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
While eye pokes may not be the UFC's most pressing concern, it is an issue that has to be dealt with now that everyone is talking about it.
But instead focusing on making new gloves, the promotion should focus on curbing fighters from causing the eye pokes in the first place.
Calling this type of injury "accidental" is a bit of a misnomer because no fighter "accidentally" extends his or her fingers during a match.
A fighter usually will open their hands when parrying punches or trying to create distance by extending the lead arm while using the open hand to distract the opponent.
Since the latter case is the logical likely cause for the majority of eye pokes, penalizing fighters for causing the injury would help to curb the problem.
An instant disqualification may be a bit harsh, but a deduction in points, or a similar penalty, should be put in place.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
As the competition inside the octagon continues to rise, fighters are going to extremes in order to get that extra edge.
While everyone was up in arms over the plethora of eye pokes at UFC 159, there were few people calling for a reform in weight cutting after UFC welterweight Nick Catone was hospitalized for dehydration while attempting to make weight for his eventually canceled bout against James Head.
With guys like Daniel Cormier and others having suffered debilitating weight cuts in their wrestling past, this practice clearly has a ton of dangers if performed improperly.
But with fighters routinely cutting 20 lbs. or more just prior to their bouts, there needs to be better procedures in place to ensure that a tragedy like the three deaths that occurred in 1997 in the NCAA never happens in the UFC.
Screenshot via FX
While we're on the topic of fighters' safety, the rules regarding a downed opponent definitely need a revamp.
In the recent No. 1 contendership bout between two of the UFC's top women's bantamweights, Cat Zingano's third round stoppage of Miesha Tate was mired in controversy because one of her knees (pictured in the slide) landed while the former Strikeforce champ's fingers touched the canvas.
While it makes sense to have rules that prevent knees to the head of a fighter who's in the turtle position or a similarly compromising position, it really doesn't have the same merit when a fighter is just touching the ground in order to delay the inevitable.
Instead of the vague, three points of contact rule, the UFC should clarify it a bit by specifying the exact scenarios and positions where knees would be illegal.
Layoffs After Knock Outs
Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports
Going further into safety concerns that arise from the striking aspect of MMA, the UFC should also institute more comprehensive standards for fighters' layoffs after nasty knockouts.
The state commissions, in conjunction with medical personnel, give fighters their own rest recommendations, but just as a safety precaution, the UFC should have a minimum layoff time to reduce the risk of brain damage.
As the issue of head trauma continues to be discussed within the MMA community, this issue should definitely not be taken lightly.
TRT, Marijuana Metabolites, and Another Look at PEDs
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Last but not least, the biggest issue facing the UFC right now has to deal with performance enhancing drugs.
The issue of testosterone replacement therapy has been buzzing for a while now, with fighters drawing lines on both sides of the sand.
Beyond TRT, the use of marijuana is another thing that the UFC and the commissions need to take another look at. It's one thing for a fighter to enter a cage while under the influence, but to punish them for inactive metabolites that have no affect on a fighter during the bout is ludicrous.
This could be an article all on its own, so suffice to say, the UFC needs to revamp its policy on PEDs.