Aside from causing pain, discomfort and serious injury, eye pokes -- inadvertent or not -- often slow down the tempo of a fight and occasionally take a fighter out of his or her groove ... or even leads to a loss for the recipient.
Unfortunately, there isn't a way to stop a problem that looks to have no end in sight. Some, like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) color commentator Joe Rogan, think changing the style of the gloves could limit, if not erase, the incidents altogether.
While that likely won't happen for the foreseeable future, Rogan says UFC President Dana White seems to think one way to prevent eye pokes is to simply take away one point for every infraction.
"There's a lot of people that have some really strong feelings about the shape of the [UFC] gloves right now and that they're contributing to eye pokes. I've had some recent conversations with [UFC president] Dana White and with [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta and they're of the opinion, I think, that the fighters need to be penalized more because the gloves have been the same for a long time, but back in the day, [eye pokes] weren't nearly as much of an issue. It happens. Guys get poked in the eye. It seems like it's inevitable, but Dana's opinion is that they should be penalized. Every time there's an eye poke, one point. It's pretty harsh, but you wouldn't do it."
Think about it, when was the last time a point taken away for anything, much less a poke to the eye?
Should UFC move for a notion to institute harsher penalties for eye pokes, it would be up to athletic commissions to officially pass the change and referees to strictly enforce it. Still, while it won't prevent pokes or injuries, it could force fighters to keep their fists clinched more often or suffer the consequences of a potential loss.
It would be a start.