We mentioned on the radio show this weekend how lame we thought it was that a groin shot earns you a five minute reprieve during a fight while an eye poke needs to be dealt with immediately or you risk having the fight stopped. Now Nick Lembo from the New Jersey Athletic Commission has come forward to explain the reasoning, and it goes like this: because we can’t look at a dude’s nuts during a fight, we give them the minutes.
“There’s really no way to examine the groin, obviously, in the cage or the ring and to be able to say if the guy is faking or he’s really in pain or what’s really going on there unless you, I guess, take them to a private area and do some scanning or some detailed examination,” Lembo said. “So it was up to five minutes, and that was based on if you had a proper cup that you should wear for this sport, like a steel Muay-Thai cup or something like that, you should be able to get hit dead on with that and be OK.”
This is essentially a case where the commission is inserting itself into the fight too much. They don’t want to give a fighter time to recover, they want to send a doctor in to assess the situation and make a call. While this is all well and good in theory since you obviously want to make sure no permanent damage has been done to a fighter’s headballs, in practice it’s just completely useless.
Just like with a groinshot, it takes a person a few minutes to do an eye poke self-diagnostic and realize if he’s okay or something is seriously wrong. Hell, I’ve spent 5 minutes in agony over a chunk of Fruit Loops that got under my contact lens. I thought I was dying and that they’d have to take my eyeball, but then a few minutes later I was fine and chomping down on another bowl.
The point of that story was just to illustrate the fact that it takes time for a fighter to be able to accurately determine what’s up with his eyes after he’s been poked. While I’d be down with a doctor coming in for a looksie whenever there’s a serious poke, the cockshow that was Scott Smith vs Robbie Lawler has scared most fighters to the point where they’ll REFUSE to see the doctors. And how does that make things safer?
The rules have to be changed to give people time to recover from eye pokes. I’d also be down with having doctors come in during that time to make sure that no one’s corneas have been slit in two. It’s insane that we’re probably still running on eye poke rules lifted from boxing and padded with provisions that are more concerned with people ‘faking it’ than protecting fighters.