Cat Zingano Appeals Toe in Eye TKO Loss – The Legal Landscape in Place

Today MMAJunkie reports that Cat Zingano has filed an appeal of her TKO loss stemming from UFC 232.

At the event Zingano was kicked in the face.  During the strike a toe from Megan Anderson contacted Zingano’s eye causing injury and bringing the bout to a halt.  Referee Marc Goddard ruled the strike legal and handed Zingano a TKO loss.

(Image via Zingano appeal)

Zingano, through the Law Offices of Nathan Gable, filed an appeal seeking to change the result to a no contest.

Gable argues that “the Bout was incorrectly ruled a technical knockout loss at the 1:01 mark of the first round….Under the Unified Rules of MMA, eye gouging of any kind is a foul….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

Zingano will be facing an uphill battle during this appeal.  Here are the laws and regulations in place –

Section 368 of California’s Regulations governs the only circumstances where an appeal could succeed.  These read as follows:

(a) A decision rendered at the termination of any boxing contest is final and shall not be changed unless following the rendition of a decision the commission determines that any one of the following occurred:
(1) There was collusion affecting the result of any contest;
(2) The compilation of the scorecard of the judges, and the referee when used as a judge, shows an error which would mean that the decision was given to the wrong boxer;
(3) There was a violation of the laws or rules and regulations governing boxing which affected the result of any contest.
(4) The winner of a bout tested positive immediately after the bout for a substance listed in Rule 303(c).
(b) A petition to change a decision shall be in writing and filed by a boxer or the boxer’s manager within five (5) calendar days from the date the decision was rendered.
(c) If a petition to change a decision is not filed in writing within five (5) days of the decision, the commission may, upon the vote of at least a majority of the commissioners present, hold a hearing to change the decision at any time.
(d) If the commission determines that any of the above occurred with regards to any contest then the decision rendered shall be changed as the commission may direct.
The only applicable ground Zingano has to work with is number 3 that there was “a violation of the laws or rules and regulations”.
Section 522 of the Regulations has the official language prohibiting eye gouging in full contact martial arts contests in California reading as follows:
Openhand attacks to the eyes or throat or eye gouging
The Unified Rules of MMA go on to expand on the definition of eye gouging as follows “Eye gouging by means of fingers, chin, or elbow is illegal. Legal strikes or punches that contact the fighter’s eye socket are not eye gouging and shall be considered legal attacks.
Given the limited grounds in which an appeal can succeed in California and further given that incidental eye contact from a strike that is otherwise deemed legal being expressly excluded from the Unified Rule’s definition of ‘eye gouging’ creates a very difficult path for Zingano’s appeal.
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