Following an unfortunately large number of incidents at UFC 159, eye poke rules were back in the headlines once again. But Cub Swanson adds an interesting point to the discussion I haven’t heard before. He thinks the design of MMA gloves contribute to the problem, and not in a kooky Joe Rogan kind of way:
I think MMA gloves are crap, to be honest. First off, they’re square. When they give them to you, they’re a square piece of 4 ounce glove. They say that they’re open fingered so you can grapple, and then you can close your hand to punch. I believe the gloves should be rounder, because we hit from weird angles. If you relax your hand, the way the gloves are now, the natural position is for the hand to be completely open, which is why so many people get poked in the eye. If they were curved, and you put them on and relaxed your hand, your hand would follow the curve, not completely open. You’d only have to squeeze a little bit to make a fist with a more curved glove. It’s a balance that’s missing with the current gloves. The padding, instead of just falling off at the sides, should follow the curve of the hand more.
When we get the gloves, the UFC tries to help out by sort of curving the gloves for you overnight. You also have to kind of stretch them out a little bit, because they’re brand new and stiff. Some commission guys, like in Toronto, they wouldn’t let anybody touch my gloves but me, and the problem with that is I can barely get them on. When you can’t break them in, they’re very uncomfortable. I had to put them on early and start hitting the pads early, the day of the fight, just so I could feel comfortable, and not have the circulation cut off in my fingers. If I do less handwraps, then I might break my hands again.
TL;DR New gloves are so stiff and square they actually pull your hand open, leading to an increased amount of unnecessary finger flailing in the cage. If this is the case, the UFC might wanna look into doing something about it.
Imagine if at the beginning of every baseball game the umpire handed out brand new stiff ass gloves with no oiling and breaking in done at all. It would be a fiasco! An entertaining and hilarious error-filled fiasco. Unfortunately, there’s nothing very hilarious about guys getting their eyes gouged out. So if gloves need to be broken in, maybe the UFC should take care of that.