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Cat Zingano suffers eyelid laceration at UFC 232; veteran referee explains why it was TKO loss

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John McCarthy explains why Megan Anderson vs. Cat Zingano at UFC 232 resulted in a TKO win for Anderson, not a no contest.

It appears Cat Zingano won’t have to deal with any long-term damage after her fight against Megan Anderson at UFC 232.

Zingano lost to Anderson via first-round TKO on Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, California, but the fight ended in bizarre fashion. Anderson attempted a head kick, but instead of landing it flush, cut Zingano’s eyelid with her toenail. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported Saturday night that Zingano suffered an eyelid laceration but did not have to go to the hospital.

Zingano wrote in a tweet that she was initially worried that she had suffered more damage than just an eyelid laceration, but that it seems she’ll be alright.

“I was worried my eye was ruptured,” Zingano wrote after the loss. “They say I’ll be ok tonight. Thanks to everyone for your concern.”

After the fight, some debated whether it should have resulted in a TKO win for Anderson or a no contest. Zingano raised the question in her social-media post.

“What are your thoughts on a finger digit poke vs a toe digit poke being ruled a tko?” Zingano wrote.

Zingano’s eye injury was a result of Anderson’s toe entering Zingano’s eye, not her finger. It is illegal to poke a fighter in the eye with an extended finger, but not a toe. Veteran referee John McCarthy, who now serves as a color commentator for Bellator, explained why Anderson vs. Zingano resulted in a TKO win for Anderson, not a no contest, in a series of tweets.

McCarthy said that because fighters have more control over their fingers than toes, toe strikes to the eye are not illegal. A toe entering a fighter’s eye is more comparable to a closed fist hitting a fighter’s eye — a legal strike — than an extended finger entering a fighter’s eye, McCarthy said.

“Feel so bad for @CatZingano , but that was the absolutely right call by @marcgoddard_uk,” McCarthy wrote. “Cat was kicked with a legal kick, it was a toe that caught her in the eye, but it was not illegal and is not the same as being poked with a finger.

“You punch with a closed fist. If you sustain an eye injury based upon a legal punch the eye injury could lead to you losing the fight via TKO. A fighter can not control toes in the same fashion they can fingers. That’s why we do not call toe pokes to the eye.”

Zingano’s recovery time and timetable for return is unclear at this time.