UFC Vegas 21 saw Belal Muhammad receive one of the nastiest eyepokes in recent history.
The No. 13 ranked UFC welterweight went up against No. 3 ranked Leon Edwards. Stepping in on short notice after Leon Edwards' original opponent Khamzat Chimaev had to withdraw due to COVID-19 aftereffects, Belal Muhammad was looking at a climb up the rankings and a potential title shot had he come out victorious.
However, an accidental eyepoke in the first minute of the second round brought an abrupt end to the fight, as well as to Belal Muhammad's goals. What Leon Edwards thought was a legitimate punch that he had landed on his opponent turned out to be a quite painful eye poke.
UFC president Dana White posted a close-up picture of the accident soon afterwards, from which the extent of the injury is quite clear.
Belal Muhammad was seen breaking down in pain, and perhaps in the understanding as well that the fight will have to be called off.
How bad is Belal Muhammad's injury
Despite looking all welled up and swollen right after the poke, it turns out that Belal Muhammad has not suffered any permanent damage to the eye. In social media post following the event, 'Remember The Name' himself updated his fans and followers about the situation.
He said that his 'heart was shattered' because of the turn the main event took, but he is confident about coming back after recovery and run it back again with Leon Edwards.
Because of the 'unintentional' nature of the eyepoke, the fight was declared to be a 'No Contest', which is certainly not the outcome either of the fighters wanted. Leon Edwards was finally competing after more than a year and a half and was looking forward to seeing the bout through.
Speaking to the media post-fight, Leon Edwards revealed that he was trying to land a combination on Belal Muhammad when the accident happened. He wished his opponent a full recovery.
"I thought it was a punch 'cause the combination I was throwing was a cross head kick. He kind of stepped in to close the distance and then I seen him grabbed his eye and turned around, I thought it was a punch. I wish Belal full recovery obviously. It was an accident, I didn't mean it."
Twitter was flooded with reactions from fans and UFC fighters, many of whom blamed the design of the UFC gloves for being the real culprit in this scenario.