Long-time UFC commentator and long-time MMA aficionado Joe Rogan has proposed a change to the construction of the gloves used for mixed martial arts competition.
He says he was “disappointed” when the weekend’s Strikeforce fight between Justin Wilcox and JZ Cavalcante ended with a ‘no contest’ because of an eye-poke.
“It got me thinking again about an idea I had. There's always going to be a problem with open handed gloves, but I was wondering if there was a solution where we could develop a glove that covered the tips of the fingers and kept them all together like a speed bag glove,” he wrote on The Underground.
“We would still have to worry about the thumb, but I think it could prevent at least some of the eye pokes from open hand pushes. What I was thinking was a thin leather cover for the 4 fingers with some elastic on the sides so that it could spread out a bit to adjust grip.
“I don't think it would hinder grappling too much if done properly, and it might even help because it would provide traction when gripping that bare sweaty fingers wouldn't… We obviously have a real problem with the gloves the way they are, and I haven't heard anyone come up with any solutions.”
Rogan has a point - there have been any number of fights that have been stopped or affected by eye pokes. But solutions have been thin on the ground and one has to wonder what effect covering the fingers would have on grappling.
MMA apparel companies proliferate these days and every one of them is always looking for an edge. If one of them can come up with a glove that eliminates or reduces eye-pokes, they may find themselves with a lucrative product.
The other potential solution would be to require fighters to have their hands closed at point of impact and to penalise them for not doing so. That would ban the outstretched-fingers range-measuring that we see a lot of at present, but would require an eagle-eyed referee to enforce.