Dana White Following UFC 159 Controversy: “We Really Need to Revamp Some Rules”

April 29, 2013
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UFC President Dana WhiteFollowing two technical decisions at UFC 159: Jones vs. Sonnen on Saturday, UFC president Dana White says it’s time to revamp the rules.

In preliminary action that aired on FX, Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante were in the third round of their light heavyweight match-up when St. Preux accidentally poked Villante in the eye.  Referee Kevin Mulhall called for time and asked Villante if he could see.  Villante responded, “No,” and Mulhall immediately stopped the fight.

“He should have had a doctor come in,” said White following the UFC 159 post-fight press conference.  “You stop the fight.  You send the guy to a neutral counter.  You have a doctor come in a check him out, and the doctor determines whether he can go on or not.  That’s what should have happened.”

Typically, the scenario White explained is what takes place when a fighter is accidentally poked in the eye, but it obviously didn’t happen that way in New Jersey.

“The guys said, ‘can you see?’  He said, ‘I can’t see,’ so he stopped the fight.  He said I can’t see because I got poked in the (expletive) eye.  Give me a minute.  But apparently, what Joe Silva (UFC matchmaker) was telling me, there’s no poke in the eye rule here,” explained White.

“If you get kicked in the groin you get five minutes to recover from it.  There’s nothing in the rules about a poke to the eye because in boxing there is no poked in the eye.  Guys don’t get poked in the eye anymore in boxing,” said White.

During the UFC 159 co-main event between middleweights Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher, Belcher was poked in the eye in the closing minutes of the third round and the fight was stopped.

“What needs to happen is that ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) needs to get together and we need to come up with a few things,” said the UFC president.  “We really need to revamp some rules and regs.”

The eye poke issue isn’t the only rule White would like to see addressed.

“Obviously the eye poke thing is a big deal.  We need to talk about that.  And the other thing is this three-point thing where you can’t get kneed if you have your finger on the ground. That’s not what the rule was meant for, so I think we’re due.”

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  • King_DG

    That was a stupid stoppage, obviously if you get poked in the eye you won’t be able to see but he should have had time to recover

  • should have won by disqualification

  • Patriot

    The only injury time out is for a groin injury. The reason for this is because a doctor can’t “check'” that injury in front of 15,000 people.

    The way this works in practice is the referee calls time and brings in the doctor. The doctor has 5 minutes to assess the fighter’s condition. Not treat, but assess. The ref should discretely tell the doc, “Take the full 5 minutes to give this guy’s eye a break.

    That being said, Keith is a very experienced referee. If he stopped it without consulting with the doc, he must have seen something he didn’t like and didn’t want the fight to go on.

    • MMAFAN

      An illegal shot to the head gets recovery time too doesn’t it?

      • Ian Price

        More so, it can stop the fight and the guy can win by DQ.

  • bajafox

    MMAFAN likes pretty girls…

    • MMAFAN

      Horrible comment Baja.

      • bajafox

        So you like pretty boys?

  • bigwhoop

    who is kieth ? pretty sure its kevin…..

  • mnasefl

    That’s because she’s a whore!!!
    She shows her bag for money!!!

    • Deadz28

      i believe it

  • Luckily nobody was seriously injured. Some of the refs are doing a good job by telling fighters to watch the open hand. I know I’ve heard Herb Dean warn fighters about it when seeing them paw that hand out there.

    • Mark McDowall

      I agree…ALOT of fighters do that when they are being pressed. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen alot more often.

      I don’t know what the answer is to the problem. As someone with jui jitsu experience I don’t think that a closed finger glove could even work…

      • Whoever comes up with a new concept will be making a lot of money. Maybe a Combat Science MMA Glove?? lol 😉

        • Ian Price

          The problem is, if you web the four fingers like a snow mitten, then BJJ moves will be harder to pull off. Fighters need their open hands to pull off submissions, I think.

          • Yes that is the big issue with coming up with a new glove. I’m working on something right now but it’s a lot of work.

  • Marconi Cata

    Revamp any rules you want that would protect the fighters by all means. But above all have some REAL refs. overseeing the fights!. where the f*** did you get this clowns, a dollar store?…for f-king god sakes, give us a break!.

  • Marconi Cata

    Clarifying , I was talking about the newbies refs that came out of nowhere. Herb Dean of course is a hell of a ref., human but hell of a ref. , as the usual crowd of refs that we are used to seeing.

  • George Sperry

    No way you should win a fight after poking someone in the eye. A no contest is called for.

    • Ian Price

      If it was inadvertent, it shouldn’t.

  • Jon Bowie

    You could easily have MMA weight gloves designed like mittens to fit over the fingers in one piece so the eye poking couldn’t happen. You make them one-sided, so you can grip and grab with your fingers, you just can’t f****** poke with them.

  • Jaime

    The refs have been horrible lately I know they are trying to integrate more male/female but we need to stick with the Herb Dean’s and John McCarthy. Until they can be properly trained people pay a lot to watch these fights the least they can do is have good refs for the fans and safety of the fighters.

  • ned sto

    Steps need to be made in the direction of creating an Association of Mixed Martial Arts. Steps in a direction that separates MMA from Boxing. They are as different as American football is to Rugby.

    Revamping some rules and regs should be considered as only a short term solution. As long as MMA keeps being put in the same box as pugilism, these problems will persist.

  • Ian Price

    Here you go Dana, the new rules. You’re welcome:

    1. eye poke = kick to the nuts.

    2. No more 3 five-minute rounds. 2 ten-minute rounds for non-title fights. If it’s not unanimous after 10 minutes, you go to round 2. For title fights or main events, 2 15-minute rounds.

    3. You have to have a knee or elbow on the ground for you to be grounded, or 2 or more hands or legs. No more putting 1 hand down just so you can be “technically” touching the ground with your hand.

    4. You can call a timeout anytime you want. But if you do, you lose a point. And you can’t call it after a fighter wobbles you, or after a fighter is getting lose to a submission.

  • Louis

    Knees on the ground, I am begging you! Bring us knees on the ground!

  • Davis924

    My thinking is the ref didnt see the eye poke (idk how he didnt) but you cant take every fighters word on it so he treated it like any ref would when a fighter stops and sits down in the middle of the fight. I’ve always thought groin shot or eye poke have to be seen by the ref for the fight to be stopped….Not saying Villante did too many fighters just stop at the slightest poke or nut shot lately just for a quick break