Mustapha Al-Turk was poked in the eye by Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 99, and promptly finished seconds afterwards with a barrage of punches. Al-Turk's manager Ken Pavia said that they would appeal the decision, in hopes of getting the "TKO" removed from record. However, MMAWeekly spoke with the UFC's Marc Ratner and he had this to say:
"It’s very simple," said Ratner. "By the unified rules... first of all the referee didn’t see the foul. What you’re asking is can we go to instant replay. You’re saying now that the fight’s over, can you take a look at it? If the referee had seen the finger and stopped the fight immediately, he could have given a stop for five minutes to recover, and then if (Al-Turk) couldn’t have gone on, it would have been a no-contest."
It's an unfortunate situation for Al-Turk. Ratner is correct in that it was a judgement call, and in real time the eye poke was extremely difficult to detect. Most people tend to think that the outcome was inevitable anyway, but that's hard to say considering how unpredictable MMA is. I mean Ray Mercer just took Tim Sylvia's face off like Nicholas Cage. I suppose the only thing Al-Turk can hope for at this point is that the UFC recognize that he got shafted just a bit and they may give him one more fight. This is the second time in the last few months that I can remember an eye poke have significant influence in the outcome of a fight. Kevin Burns tore Anthony Johnson's eyeball off and got credited with the TKO, when the replay showed that he(Johnson) clearly got poked in the eye. Johnson was later able to avenge the loss in devastating fashion. Now with Cro Cop reportedly signed with DREAM, Al-Turk will not have the chance to do so.
Most of the time when a fighter pokes another fighter in the eye, they'll acknowledge it and back off to give the opponent time to recover. The same thing happens when low blows occur. However, in instances such as these do you think it would be appropriate to allow instant replay to be a factor in determining what exactly happened? It is a judgement call, but things happen really quickly in MMA. Sound off in the comments section.