"That eye poke never happened" - Leon Edwards' coach accuses Belal Muhammad of foul play in first fight, says rematch is not about "revenge"

Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad have long been at odds [Image courtesy: Getty Images]
Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad have long been at odds [Image courtesy: Getty Images]

The rivalry between Leon Edwards and Belal Muhammad has snowballed into an extremely intense one over the years. Edwards' head coach, Dave Lovell, has now addressed his star pupil's potential rematch against Muhammad and seemingly accused the latter of unsportsmanlike conduct.

Edwards fought Muhammad in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card at the UFC's APEX facility in Las Vegas on March 13, 2021. After Muhammad suffered eye pokes at the hands of his opponent and couldn't continue in round two, their fight was declared to be a no contest.

Both athletes were respectful toward each other before and even after their fight, but things eventually changed. For his part, Muhammad insinuated that he was winning the fight until 'Rocky' unfairly hurt him with eye pokes. On the contrary, Edwards asserted that he was comfotably in charge of the fight and that his opponent used the eye poke as an excuse to avoid a stoppage defeat.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Leon Edwards' coach Dave Lovell recently indicated that the medical personnel cleared Belal Muhammad after the fight. He believes that 'Remember the Name' was attempting to steal a win against 'Rocky.'

Clarifying that his student's second encounter against Muhammad won't be about revenge for them, Lovell stated:

"Well, it's not revenge for us. For us, if that eye poke never happened, I believe Leon would have finished him in the second round the way the fight was going. To me, analyzing the fight looking back at it, Belal was looking for a way out to steal a decision. 'Cause that eye poke and the noise he made, literally crying and screaming; you've heard it for yourself, the world's heard it. It's funny that he didn't have to go to hospital. He didn't have any eye damage. He didn't have to go to hospital to get his eyes tested."

Check out Lovell's comments below (3:50):


Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad: Revisiting the medical suspension after their first fight

In the aftermath of the Leon Edwards-Belal Muhammad fight), MMA Fighting highlighted that the official list of medical suspensions was reported by mixedmartialarts.com. The list included the suspension handed to Muhammad, which prescribed no contact (till April 4, 2021), no contests till (April 13, 2021) and added that Muhammad needed an ophthalmologist's clearance for his right eye.

Muhammad confirmed that he didn't suffer permanent damage to his eye. Regardless, Leon Edwards and co. disapproved of his subsequent assertions, as tensions between the pair rose.

Leon Edwards captured the UFC welterweight title in Aug. 2022 and has successfully defended it twice. The general consensus is he will face Muhammad in a rematch at UFC 304 (July 27, 2024) in Manchester, England, with Edwards' title at stake.

During his aforementioned interview, Dave Lovell said that he too foresees 'Rocky' fighting Muhammad next, probably at UFC 304.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now