Dana White Says UFC Working to Improve Octagon Flooring, Passes Buck on Curbing Eye Pokes

August 19, 2014
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Dana WhiteIssues such as eye pokes and slippery Octagon surfaces have recently been a source of complaints from UFC fighters. At this point, the complaints are being heard, but only some are being addressed by the organization.

UFC president Dana White said over the weekend that officials are looking into options that will improve the slippery canvas inside the UFC cage, and a plan has been in place to improve the surface for some time now.

“We’ve been working on it forever,” White said, addressing concerns of a slippery Octagon floor.

SEE ALSO: Dana White’s Maine Post-Fight Scrum Video

The company president explained that fighters have been concerned about a sandy texture that causes them to lose their footing during their bouts. The substance meant to make the floor sticky, according to White, is responsible for the sandy conditions.

White did not reveal the name of the substance, but said that other methods to improve footing are currently being researched by his team in the Las Vegas-based promotion.

“We’re actually looking at a couple of different options right now for that, too,” he said, adding that they are “trying some new things.”

While White expressed an interest in improving floor conditions inside his fabled cage, he was less than willing to address concerns about lowering the number of accidental — or not-so accidental — eye pokes that happen during fights.

According to the UFC boss, curbing the number of fingers to the eyes falls on the referees, and he didn’t reveal any plans on the part of his organization to reduce the amount of the illegal move.

White added that in his years of overseeing the UFC, eye pokes are more common now than before.

“Eye pokes are the (referee’s responsibility). The ref needs to make people start shutting their hands,” he said. “You start giving guys warnings, and then you start taking points, I guarantee you there are going to be a lot less eye pokes. We’ve been doing this for over 14 years. We went years without eye pokes. And then all of a sudden, everybody started poking each other in the eyes. The refs gotta take care of that, tell them to close their hands. And if they don’t, you warn them and then you take a point.”

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  • Joeyjoejoejrshabidu

    Why not get those pride style gloves where the hand is bent 90 degrees when resting instead of the current gloves where the hand can be flat when resting. Just makes sense.

    • b.one.z

      Bellator has been using a glove by Everlast that forces the hand into a curve to promote a more natural striking form. That, along with the extra padding, seems to reduce broken hands and eye pokes. These gloves appear to be better, and I think the UFC and other organizations should consider adopting them.

  • Scoobykater

    Dana, you’re such a pig.

  • Mark McDowall

    I would think the eye pokes are a bit more of an issue than the cage floor. Haven’t seen any points deducted or fights ended because of a slippery floor.

    The problem is if you put on a glove that will prevent eye pokes then it will inhibit grappling. It’s a problem that could be prevented…but could lead to others. Will be interesting to see what they come up with.

    • Darin

      They won’t come up with anything. The refs aren’t going to redesign and implement new gloves. And Dana has made it clear he doesn’t give a damn.

      • Mark McDowall

        Exactly…hence his brush over of the topic. It’s just one of those things that will happen in combat sports. It still happens in boxing all the time and look at their gloves!

  • Darin

    Attention Mike Mazzagatti: Dana just cleared the way to give you more leeway in helping the white guy beat the black guy.

    • MMA.King

      Steve Mazzagatti. Not a big deal, just saying, its steve. I also assume you’re referring to Jon Jones as the black guy because he’s the most notorious eye poker, and he’s not facing a white guy in his next fight.

      • DamianCross

        I don’t wanna hear one word about racial bias in the UFC until Diego freakin’ Sanchez gets 6 decision losses in a row.