The UFC is a brutal sport. Bad things can and often do happen inside the octagon. Eye injuries are some of the most horrific to witness because of the eye’s sensitivity and a fighter’s vision can be at stake. During UFC Fight Night‘s main event from the UFC Apex between No. 13-ranked Belal Muhammad and third-ranked Leon Edwards, Muhammad suffered an absolutely grotesque eye injury that left him shrieking in pain and announcers Daniel Cormier and Michael Bisping in a state of shock.
Belal Muhammad faces Leon Edwards in UFC Fight Night
At UFC Fight Night from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, American and No. 13-ranked Belal Muhammad stepped inside the octagon with his four-fight win streak to face the No. 3-ranked Leon Edwards, who had an eight-fight win streak of his own. He was hoping a win would set him up for a title shot in the welterweight division.
Edwards looked the part in the first round, landing several combinations and blasting Muhammad with a kick to the right side of his head, resulting in a nasty cut. Edwards did receive a warning in the round for extended fingers. Despite the adversity, Muhammad survived the round.
The second round of the UFC Fight Night main event started, and Belal Muhammad and Leon Edwards converged in the middle of the octagon. Just 15 seconds into the round and disaster struck.
Belal Muhammad suffers grotesque eye injury due to poke from Leon Edwards at UFC Fight Night
Leon Edwards attacked first in the second round of the UFC Fight Night main card, leading with his left hand, then following with a swift left leg kick to Belal Muhammad’s ribs. Muhammad immediately clutched at his right eye and fell to the ground.
A second later, Muhammad screamed in pain as referee Herb Dean sent Edwards to the other side of the cage. Muhammad sat up moments later and let out a shriek.
“Oh my god, this looks like a bad one,” commentator Michael Bisping said.
“Oh my goodness,” Daniel Cormier said in shock as he watched Muhammad move around on the ground in incredible pain, clutching at his eye. Moments later, a split screen showed a slow-motion replay of the brutal eye poke on one side and the American sitting on the floor sobbing in the other.
Emotional post-fight reaction
As Belal Muhammad moved erratically on the floor, Herb Dean tried to calm him so the doctor could look at his eye. Leon Edwards stood on the opposite side of the cage.
The doctor finally got Muhammad calm enough to shine the light into his eye. When he asked the fighter what he could see, Muhammad painfully responded, “I can’t see anything.”
A few minutes later and on his feet, Dean asked Muhammad if he still wanted to go to the center of the octagon for the official no decision, and he agreed. Once there, the two fighters hugged, Edwards gesturing an apology with his hand over his heart.
Cameras caught a glimpse of the injury, which appeared to be a large red swollen bump under his right eye, which was completely shut, with a stream of blood dripping down his cheek.
In the post-fight interview, an emotional Edwards offered his apologies.
“First of all, I want to apologize to Belal. I didn’t mean to do it, you know. I went for the cross-head kick. He stepped into it. I would have rather lost than that. I’m just heartbroken. I don’t know what to say.”
UFC is a brutal sport. But it doesn’t mean the fighters who step inside the octagon with the intent of physically harming the opponent aren’t human. That was quite evident on Saturday night.