The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) recently completed its annual conference held earlier this week in New York. Two important rules were voted on (and unanimously passed) before commissioners set sail on Wednesday, with one particular change expected to have a major impact on the unified rules of mixed martial arts (MMA).
That’s according to a report from MMA Junkie.
Eye pokes will now be afforded the same recovery time as groin strikes, giving competitors (like this guy) up to five minutes to shake off a digit to the eye, or sooner, should the fighter declare themselves fit to continue. If the injured fighter has not fully recovered after the mandatory five-minute rest period, the bout will be called off.
That’s not all.
The association also voted to approve the use of black neoprene sleeves during MMA competition, so long as they remain confined to the knee or ankle joints and do not feature any additional materials (like velcro or padding) that would pose a safety hazard. Some fighters (not naming any names) have pushed the limits in previous fights.
Eye pokes have been a major problem in cage fighting and several attempts to correct the problem (including new gloves) have been introduced over the years in an effort to reduce the number of incidents. Unfortunately, any time you have exposed fingers in full-contact fighting, you run the risk of suffering a fight-ending eye injury.
Assuming the fists don’t get your first.