Getting poked in the eye is scary.
Getting poked in the eye in the middle of a fight with a world-class fighter is scary as Hell. Those are the words that Johny Hendricks used to describe seeing double after being poked in the eye by Josh Koscheck early in the first round.
"He landed a lot because he poked my eye and I was seeing double for the first three mintues," said Hendricks. "I didn’t see clearly again until the second round. So the first round I was trying to circle away and close one eye every so often so I could get a good fix on him and try to throw."
What made the situation scarier than Hell, was that Hendricks felt he couldn't do anything about it.
It is standard at a show of the UFC's magnitude for the ref to individually speak in the locker room with each fighter on the card that he will be officiating, in order to clarify any rules questions. Before UFC on FOX 3, during that meeting Johny Hendricks asked referee Kevin Mulhall about what to do if he got accidentally poked in the eye by Josh Koscheck.
"I said, 'If he pokes me in the eye, what are you doing to do?' He said, 'I can't stop it,'" Hendricks related. "'You don't get a five-minute break, and you can't say you can't see, or the fights going to be over.'"
So Hendricks fought on, eventually taking a split decision, and with it the possibility of facing the winner of GSP vs. Condit for the world Welterweight championship.
In a post fight interview Ariel Helwani had a blunt question for Hendricks. "Do you think he did that on purpose?" asked Helwani.
"He does it every fight," said Hendricks. "That’s just him. We knew about it. That’s why I was trying to throw and move my head out of the way. I was moving my head more this fight when I was trying to throw punches because I didn’t want to get poked in the eye because he’s always sticking that hand out there. It ended up catching me and it hurt me."
To make matters worse, Hendricks had mono shortly before the fight.
“I guess I had God on my side. I had a tough training camp. These last two weeks, I was battling some mean stuff, but my coaches kept me positive,” Hendricks said. “I had bronchitis, and then mono -- two great ones to have three weeks before the fight, right?”
“Both [Koscheck and Fitch] are tough fighters. I feel blessed to be in same Octagon as them. Now I just have to go home and be prepared for a title shot. I fought hard tonight and got my hand raised.”
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