Cat Zingano isn’t going to let a freak accident add another loss to her record.
The one-time bantamweight title challenger is seeking to have her most recent fight with Megan Anderson at UFC 232 in Inglewood, Calif., on Dec. 29 overturned to a no-contest, MMA Fighting confirmed with California State Athletic Commission executive Andy Foster following an initial report by MMAjunkie.
Zingano ended up on the wrong end of a TKO after a high kick from Anderson resulted in Anderson’s toe scraping Zingano’s eye. The 36-year-old fighter could not continue and the featherweight bout was waved off by referee Marc Goddard at the 1:01 mark of round one, with Anderson being declared the victor.
Per a copy of the appeal filed by Zingano’s attorney Nathan Gable, the request revolves around the interpretation of what constitutes an eye gouge and the circumstances under which the bout should become a no contest. He is also asking for “a legal opinion regarding the interpretation of the applicable rules.”
Foster said the finish came via a legal strike per the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports Unified Rules. But he will ask the ABC rules and regulations committee for an opinion about whether that should continue to be the rule moving forward.
Citing the Unified Rules of MMA, Gable is arguing that (emphasis Gable’s) “The language of the Unified rules regarding eye gouging is non exhaustive and the examples listed, namely ‘eye gouging by means of fingers, chin, or elbow’ are not meant as the only methods by which a foul may occur. First, the language is plainly open ended, beginning with ‘eye gouging of any kind…’. Had the Unified Rules intended to limit this foul to only the examples that followed and exclude toes from this foul, this rule would have been written with limiting language such as, ‘only eye gouging by means of fingers, chin, or elbow is illegal’ and omit the words ‘of any kind.’”
To support his example, Gable added that fingers are mentioned in the Unified Rules but technically not thumbs and that allowing eye gouges via toe opens up the possibility that “a fighter defending a heel hook could use his toes to defend by eye gouging their opponent.”
Gable then notes the standard ruling for bouts that do not advance past the scheduled halfway mark of a fight due to “unforeseen, non-combat related issues” becoming no contests, a point that is contingent on his eye gouge argument being successful.
Zingano is expected to get the chance to appeal her case at a hearing of the CSAC in February, per Foster.
The loss to Anderson was the fourth in five fights for Zingano, who initially feared that she’d ruptured her eye, though it was later reported to be an eyelid laceration by ESPN.
With additional reporting by Marc Raimondi.