Because of the UFC’s glove design, inadvertent eye pokes are pretty much an occupational hazard. But in some cases, they tend to be a lot more damaging for the fighter on the receiving end of it.
On Saturday night’s headliner at UFC 252, Daniel Cormier ate a hard eye poke from Stipe Miocic towards the end of the third stanza. The former “double-champ” claimed it greatly compromised his vision throughout the last two rounds.
Cormier apparently spoke to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, revealing he suffered a torn cornea because of the poke.
Daniel Cormier suffered a torn cornea last night, Cormier told me this morning. No timetable yet for recovery. Doctors said he won’t need surgery just yet but they have to monitor how it heals before knowing for sure. He was discharged from the hospital late Saturday night.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 16, 2020
Some may see Cormier’s supposed disadvantage after the poke and vision impairment as a major contributor for his loss. UFC president Dana White, however, sees it as a non-issue.
“You can’t look at the eye poke and take that away,” White said during the post-fight presser (transcipt by MMA Junkie). “There were two eye pokes – they both got poked in the eye, and that eye was hurt before the poke.
“We’ve got a big group text that goes on, and I was like, ‘There’s something wrong with Cormier’s eye,’ and then he got poked after that. That didn’t help, but they both got poked – you can’t use that as an excuse.
“I think his eye was hurt before the poke and the poke definitely didn’t help. But you can’t look at the poke and say, ‘Oh, the poke.’ Stipe got poked hard, too. They both got poked.”
Reigning champion Stipe Miocic was also left damaged after getting accidentally poked by Cormier during their rematch at UFC 241 in August 2019. A little over a month later, it was revealed that Miocic suffered a “major retina injury,” forcing him to sit out the rest of the year.