Controversy reared its ugly head at UFC Fight Night Vancouver when a bout between Jeff Hughes and Todd Duffee ended via a no contest due to an accidental eye poke from Hughes to Duffee.
Hughes is a firm believer that no actual eye poke was delivered from him to Duffee in their encounter.
“I thought he was trying to catch a breather,” Hughes said to MMA Junkie. “I get it, we were going hard for almost five minutes. I thought we were going to continue and we were going to try to take each other’s heads off again. But once the doctor was in there, I knew it was no good. They tell you in the back ‘If there’s an eye-poke, we’re going to ask you how you are, and we’re going to try our best not to bring a doctor in.’ So once I saw the doctor in there, I knew it wasn’t looking good for me. I don’t think it was an eye-poke. It might have grazed him, I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of worse eye-pokes in the last couple of months, and people still fight. So, I don’t know. I’m in there to fight, and I was expecting to go another couple of rounds and was ready to turn it up. I felt like momentum was in my corner, you know? I was starting to put it on him, he was busted up and, I don’t know, that happened and, man, it ended a little too quick. Usually, you can feel (when you eye-poke your opponent). Even in the heat of battle, you can still feel all that. I’m not calling the guy a liar, but I’m here to fight. I don’t know if he was looking for a way out, or he’s getting gassed or what. It was just very disappointing how it ended.”
There is no word yet from the UFC as to whether or not a rematch will get booked or if the fighters will go their separate ways.
The heavyweight contender also wants to make sure the fans and fighters know that he isn’t a dirty fighter.
“I’m not a dirty fighter, man,” Hughes said. “I love to fight, and I try to fight by the rules. It’s just how it goes. I have no injuries, my face isn’t marked up or anything. I’m just ready to get back in there and fight, as soon as possible.”
Duffee has yet to publicly comment on the incident, but UFC Fight Night Vancouver marked his first bout in over four years.