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UFC VP Marc Ratner On Rule Changes, Eye Pokes, MMA In NYC

Marc Ratner, the UFC senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs, appeared on “UFC Tonight” last week and talked about a number of key subjects in the world of mixed martial arts right now.

Ratner, who helps with governing rules and getting MMA legalized in parts of the U.S. and the world, sounded off on changes the fighters are taking advantage of, including putting a hand down to stop a knee strike.

“The spirit of the rule has been violated by the fighters. We have fighters putting their hand down. They’re trying to draw the foul and get the refs to call the violation,” he said. “We’re telling the refs, go into the dressing rooms and tell them you’re doing it at your own peril. It’s a judgment call.”

Another issue, accidental eye pokes, is being looked at by Ratner and his crew. They are working on making a special glove that would help limit the number of strikes that get through.

“We’re working with a glove manufacturer to make a glove that is a little more curved, so hopefully that will make it tougher for someone to stick a finger in an eye,” Ratner said. “Also, the ref can’t do anything more than say, ‘Can you see?’ to the fighter after he gets poked in the eye. If he says he can’t see, the ref has to stop the fight. We want the ref to not ask the question, but to let a doctor come out, examine the fighter and make the decision, which will take two to three minutes and give the eye some time to clear up and the fighter could get to continue the fight.”

As for getting MMA legalized in New York, that continues to be a quest for the UFC and Ratner, to which he said, “It’s not a matter of if, but it’s a matter of when. This year we passed in the senate. In the assembly, we had the majority leader of the assembly sponsor it. But they never had a vote go to the floor. It’s not the democratic process and it’s un-American. But we’re a fighting company and we’re going to keep fighting and get it happen.”