Many fights, as recent as UFC 159, that have had fight stoppages due to eye pokes. It's frustrating for both fighters and fans. (Belchers eye poke is a hard image to forget) Fighters, fans and commentators have all expressed the need for new rules or better mma gloves to reduce eye pokes.
Seems easy right? Well not so fast. Its a hot topic with many different opinions, and to top it off, any new glove design would have to have thorough testing, and get the ok from not only fighters, but also get approved by the athletic commission.
Fighters like Cub Swanson have weighed in on the matter expressing their frustrations on how MMA gloves are too square, and impossible to properly break in because they are issued new just hours before a fight.
Some say that the gloves aren't the issue, pointing the finger (pun intended) at the fighters for excessive pawing or reaching with an open hand. Would eye pokes be reduced if fighters were fined or penalized? Some think so, and others suggest that eye pokes can never really be eliminated, and it is simply a risk that fighters have to learn to deal with.
UFC president Dana White hinted that the UFC is working on a U shaped glove that keeps the fingers curled which would still have enough flex for grappling, but reduce the chance of an eye poke when the hand is at rest, or not clenched.
Finally there are the "just bleed" type fans that feel that more glove regulations, and maybe even using gloves at all reduces the purity of the sport and eliminates the brutal action that made the sport so popular in the first place.
No matter your opinion, there is no question that its a problem, and we're interested to see what new designs are announce in the coming year.