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

August 19, 2014

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.

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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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