After Ugly Eye Poke That Led to a No Contest, Demands of Overturning Outcome by Justin Tafa Sees Ex-NFL Player Austen Lane Respond to the Controversy

Published 06/25/2023, 12:14 AM EDT

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After his fight with Austin Lane at UFC Jacksonville, UFC heavyweight fighter Justin Tafa turned to Twitter to share an update. Unfortunately, the fight was declared a no-contest due to an accidental eye poke, leaving fans disappointed. Tafa experienced pain and was unable to continue, bringing an abrupt end to the bout.

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Tafa drew inspiration from and trained with combat sports legend Mark Hunt before embarking on his UFC journey. He shared a shocking picture on Twitter after the fight, revealing the extent of the damage he suffered. Hint: it does not look pretty!

Justin Tafa shows the scary consequences of being an MMA fighter

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In the image, Tafa’s eye appeared visibly damaged, prompting him to express his disappointment, stating, “I deserve my win bonus. That’s a DQ, man.” The fight between Austin Lane and Justin Tafa was officially declared a no-contest due to the unfortunate eye poke incident that occurred during their bout.

Other fighters like Belal Muhammed, Casey O Neil, Brian Kelleher, and Chris Curtis also took to Twitter to share their opinions about the eye-poke. The general consensus being Tafa needed to get to the hospital and get his eye looked at.

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Soon after Tafa’s post, Lane responded on Twitter, expressing remorse for the incident and issuing an apology to his opponent. He acknowledged his responsibility, stating, “Justin Tafa… I apologize. Not how I wanted it to go down. That s*** is on me, and I hope your eye is alright.”

Lane, a former NFL player, secured a UFC contract following his appearance on the Contender Series. He is currently 12-3 as a professional MMA fighter.

Tafa’s eye poke is just the tip of the iceberg

Eye pokes continuously plague the sport of MMA, frequently resulting in fights being stopped or declared no-contests. This issue has plagued various fights in the past, including instances such as Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammed and Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs. Kevin Burns.

MMA coach Trevor Wittman has previously discussed the prevalence of eye pokes on the JRE podcast, mentioning his attempts to devise solutions for the problem. However, eye pokes continue to be a recurring concern within the sport of MMA.

via Getty

 

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The incident between Justin Tafa and Austin Lane serves as another example of the impact and potential dangers associated with eye pokes in mixed martial arts.

As fighters and coaches grapple with finding effective preventive measures, the need for increased attention and awareness regarding this issue remains crucial in the ongoing pursuit of fighter safety and fair competition.

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Written by:

Dushyant Patni

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Dushyant Patni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. He fell in love with MMA at the tender age of fourteen and his appreciation for the craft has led him to become a practitioner, too. With a master's degree in English and an extensive background as a writer and editor, he uses his technical ability to articulate the nuances of the sport.
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Edited by:

Rupkamal Sarma

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