John Kavanagh understandably unhappy about unsuccessful appeal 9 months ago

John Kavanagh understandably unhappy about unsuccessful appeal

John Kavanagh has every right to be disappointed with this ruling.

On first viewing, Santiago Ponzinibbio's lightning quick finish of Gunnar Nelson in UFC Glasgow's main event in July seemed devastating and fair.

Even Dan Hardy and John Gooden in the commentary booth were full of nothing but praise for what they saw in real time as a perfectly clean first round knockout. They held up the Argentine as a new contender in the UFC's welterweight division, talked up the power in his hands, they did everything but mention the fouls he committed en route to victory.

To be fair, it happened so fast, even a trained eye would be forgiven for missing it on the first viewing.

It's only when you rewatch the fight and slow down the action that you begin to notice that Ponzinibbio was illegally using his fingers throughout the duration of the scrap.

Under the amended rules, it is prohibited for fighters to extend their fingers towards their opponents face. This is a precautionary measure against the dreaded eye poke, a foul that has ruined plenty of prizefights inside the Octagon.


Fighters can be warned by the referee, have points taken away and even be disqualified for the outstretching their fingers towards their adversary's face and gouging their eyes. Whether it was accidental or on purpose, Ponzinibbio did both to Gunni.

An appeal was made to overturn the result of the fight to a No Contest. However, on Wednesday, Nelson’s management team, Paradigm Sports Management, released a statement confirming that it had been rejected.

It was argued that the eye pokes were a major impact on the stoppage, but the team conceded that getting a result overturned because of eye pokes is notoriously difficult. Just ask Anthony Johnson, whose 2008 loss to Kevin Burns reads (TKO - eye-poke) on his professional record.

Nelson's coach John Kavanagh isn't happy with the decision not to overturn the result. Considering how much of a scourge the foul is in the sport, Kavanagh shudders to think what needs to happen before the problem is addressed properly.