HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly from UFC Mexico City

Frank Hyden MMATorch Columnist

UFC Mexico City
Sep 21, 2019; Mexico City, MEX; Jeremy Stephens (blue gloves) reacts after being poked in the eye by Yair Rodriguez (red gloves) as fans throw beer during UFC Fight Night at Mexico City Arena. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Mexico City was this past weekend and it ended in controversy. Let’s get right to the rundown.

UFC Mexico City

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly from UFC Mexico City

GOOD- Steven Peterson stops Martin Bravo

They started off with some nice striking, Bravo having the advantage early but Peterson responding towards the end of the first round. The second round ended when both men threw spinning backfists and Peterson’s connected and put Bravo out. Good win for Peterson

GOOD- Irene Aldana vs. Vanessa Melo

Aldana just beat up Melo all throughout this fight. Melo tried but Aldana was just the better fighter. Aldana won the decision, no surprise there. Good win for Aldana.

GOOD- Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov

These guys went back and forth in a crazy and wild affair. They were striking from everywhere, landing takedowns then going for submissions, and just tons of movement. Both men had moments of greatness and both showed good toughness. The fight ended up being a split draw. One judge scored the fight for Moreno, one scored it for Askarov, and the third scored it a draw. It’s a little disappointing that such a good fight was ruled a draw but I guess you just have to live with it.

GOOD- Carla Esparza vs. Alexa Grasso

Esparza controlled things with takedowns in the first and second rounds. Grasso nailed her with some good shots, especially at the end of the second round but Esparza landed another takedown. The third round started differently, though, as Grasso hurt Esparza with a flurry. Grasso then landed a takedown of her own and slapped on a tight armbar. Esparza escaped it, though and survived the round to get the decision victory. Good win for Esparza.

Jeremy Stephens and Yair Rodriguez

UGLY- Jeremy Stephens vs. Yair Rodriguez

This fight was ruled a No Contest as Rodriguez poked Stephens in the eye within the first ten to fifteen seconds of the fight starting.

UGLY- No penalty for Rodriguez

The eyepoke that Rodriguez hit Stephens with is about as blatant as it gets. He clearly intended to do it. You can look at the slo-mo replay and see his hand open up from a fist into his fingers sticking straight out and raking Stephens across the eyes. In fact, he hit both of his eyes and his damn lip as well. That is absolutely ridiculous.

I’m so sick and tired of guys doing this crap. There’s no reason for it, you’re purposefully trying to poke your opponent in the eye. There’s no other reason you would stand there with your fingers pointed right at their eyes. And there’s definitely no reason why you would open your hand up during an exchange like that.

I’m sure some people might get upset at me accusing these guys of fighting dirty but I don’t care. I’m sick of fights being ruined by this crap. These guys are professionals, they’re supposed to act like it. This isn’t like questioning some of the things the NFL wants defensive players to do as they try to make the game safer. Some of that might go too far, but the players have adjusted because they’re professionals. It’s what they do.

The UFC needs to take a stand on this. You can severely damage someone’s eyesight doing this stuff. You can usually tell what’s an accidental eyepoke and what’s not. Go to the replay, that’s what it’s there for. It’s not perfect, but you err on the side of caution.

The first eyepoke is a point deduction, subject to replay. If it’s judged to be intentional, you lose two points instead. Or even three. We all know that these guys will adjust and suddenly won’t have to fight with their fingers sticking out. Your second eyepoke in a fight is an automatic disqualification. Too harsh? Perhaps, but so is losing your eyesight. This stuff could also accumulate. If you eyepoke an opponent in one fight and do it again in another fight, you get deducted points, even if it’s your first eyepoke of this fight.

I think you also level extensive fines at offenders. Your first eyepoke is something like $5,000 but your second eyepoke is half your purse. You can tinker with the numbers but they need to be substantial. You’re fined 20% of your purse for missing weight, why are eyepokes not on that same level?

This night of fights, which was actually pretty good, ended on an extremely sour note because of this junk. It needs to end. You can’t eliminate accidents but you can get rid of intentional dirty moves. The UFC, and other organizations, can and should do whatever they can to get rid of it.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

More from MMATorch:

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.