UFC President Dana White believes fighters need to change their technique to avoid accidental eye-pokes, but he thinks fans are getting out of hand in the case of champion Jon Jones.
“I mean, people are always going to go overboard with Jon Jones because they don’t like him,” White told MMAjunkie.
Following this past Saturday’s UFC 172 event, the exec told FOX Sports the UFC should “stop that stuff” when asked about the eye-pokes that took place in Jones’ (20-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) light-heavyweight title defense against Glover Teixeira (22-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC).
But on Friday, White clarified his opinion on the matter, saying Jones isn’t the only offender when it comes to the eye-pokes that frequently result from outstretched hands.
“It’s not just taller fighters,” he said. “Jones has that range and he can do it, but lots of guys do it because that’s how you block punches. So you keep your hands open and you slap punches down. Then guys are rushing in and you’re doing whatever, and guys get poked in the eyes.
“Guys have got to start closing their hands, and if you’re going to keep your hands open to block shots, which everybody does, you’ve got to keep your hands closer to your face, not extended in your opponent’s face.”
Jones dominated Teixeira en route to a unanimous-decision victory at Maryland’s Baltimore Arena, extending his record-breaking title reign at 205 pounds to seven defenses. He’s expected to meet Alexander Gustafsson later this year.
White said despite Jones twice being warned by the referee for poking Teixeira in the eye during the UFC 172 headliner, the champion adjusted his approach and didn’t repeat the infraction. But he added that critics were unlikely to give Jones credit for his action because of his polarizing presence at the top of the 205-pound division.
White said he had heard about a series of inflammatory tweets Jones sent this week, but hadn’t seen them and thus couldn’t give his opinion. He made it clear, however, that the 26-year-old champion continues to fight an uphill battle with fans.
“[Jones] poked him in the eye twice, and then the referee warned him about it, and he never did it again,” White said. “They’re making it sound like he was targeting his eyes and sticking his fingers in his eyes the entire fight and nobody did anything about it. He did it twice, he was warned, and he never did it again in a five-round fight.”
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