Pedro Munhozo had a roller coaster ride for a few days.
The bantamweight veteran has been… UFC 276 fight against Sean O’Malley ended in a disappointing no-contest due to an accidental eye jab Munhoz sustained early in the second round. Despite winning the opening round on the scorecards and leading at the time of the offense, Munhoz has been under intense scrutiny since the fight, with O’Malley and many fans accuse him of looking for a way out?†
It turned out that Munhoz was indeed injured. He suffered and abrasion on his right cornea and even resorted to posting his hospital medical report to clear his name. And given his well-deserved reputation as one of the most playing fighters in the bantamweight division, he’s disappointed with O’Malley’s handling of the situation.
“A lot of his post-fight actions were things that I don’t think are right, based on my values,” Munhoz said on Wednesday. The MMA hour† “Like he came and apologized to me, and then he went to make a video on TikTok, joke about my vision there. So you apologize for poking me [then do that]† Realizing that he came up to me and said, “I didn’t mean to poke you in the eye.” I say, “I know you didn’t mean to poke me in the eye.” I say, “We can roll this one back at any time,” and he said, “You’re a legend.” I say thank you, and then I told his coach [Tim Welch] and he was very nice to me, and he says, ‘Let’s turn this back on.’ I said, ‘Let’s turn this back on.’
“But then you’re going to have fun” [of it]† Those are the kind of things I tell my kids not to do it. You say one thing but then you joke on the other. I came to a generation like the one before his generation… I’m not going to make someone just to get more followers and stuff like that. And besides that, all his friends, all these guys who text me, talk about my wife, talk about my family, say they’re going to fight me. Guess what? I said to them, I say, ‘You can find me. I’ll be here by the pool on Sunday.’
“They’re gangsters on computers. … So that’s the kind of thing I don’t agree with, and that was something that was new to me – fighting a kid of a generation that makes these shows look like a circus. When I grew up watching BJ Penn† Frankie Edgar† Jose Aldofought against all these boys, Dominick Cruzand now I just feel like I was in the circus.”
O’Malley was incredulous at his post-fight media availability, both at the outcome of the fight and at the fact that two of the three judges had Munhoz in front of them at the time of the offense. He claimed he dominated the fight and said Munhoz was “100 percent” looking for an easy way out. He then doubled down with numerous social media posts.
Munhoz’s weekend was very different. The 35-year-old said he was taken to hospital after the fight and was unable to open his right eye for 25 minutes. He said doctors eventually treated him with eye drops often used to numb eyes with bits of glass in them after car accidents, and that even when his right eye was open, all he could see was “a black mist.” Munhoz is expected to visit on Tuesday for a follow-up appointment. Four days after the incident, he said his vision is still not 100 percent.
“Today I can open my eyes, as you can see, and I see … very clear in the middle, but in both extremes I still see super dark and not clear, like blurry eyes,” Munhoz said.
Munhoz also clarified a misconception that it was his left eye that sustained the injury, which stemmed from an Instagram post he posted in Portuguese after UFC 276. In it, his left eye was swollen shut, but he said that was simply because he accidentally got it. blew his nose when he got back to his hotel. He said he noticed his right eye was giving him trouble in the mail, but the details were lost in translation.
But it’s the criticism he received from other fighters that surprised Munhoz the most. The Brazilian veteran has been at war with many of the greats of his day and has gone on to take on such names as Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, Frankie Edgar, Cody Garbrandtand current UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling† Munhoz built a reputation as one of the toughest fighters weighing in at 135 pounds, so he’s baffled as to why people would assume he’d pick a way out against the least decorated opponent he’s fought in the past four years.
“I’m being blamed for something I didn’t do,” Munhoz said. “I was in the fight, I went forward to attack him.
“In front of me, behind me, he does that move [pointing his fingers outstretched], and so I get blamed for something he did, you know? And suddenly I want out? That makes no sense. And when people say something, the opposite, it just shows how many stupid people there are, and ignorant, a bunch of haters. If they’re fighters, they’ve probably been poked in the gym before training. I did. But in that sense, cutting my cornea was the first time. So I think people who will judge see such a situation, but [they’re] don’t put [themselves in] my shoes. They are just ignorant.
“I was 100 percent in the fight, I won on the scorecards, I felt super comfortable,” Munhoz added. “I was able to break him on the first round, that’s the round where he goes strongest. Second and third, we know he’s starting to go down, and that’s my strongest round. Five round fight, I’d probably get him alive eat.”
Munhoz added that he’s ready and willing to do a rematch with O’Malley once his eye is medically healed, although he’s unsure if O’Malley is willing to do the same.
“I don’t have to prove anything,” Munhoz said. “Ultimately, it’s my eye in the game. I have proven my reputation of the sport many times over. Look at all those battles I’ve been through. Jose Aldo punched me right in the face on the second round, clear, boom – that was the middle of the second round, I stayed strong that second round, went toe to toe into the third round with one of the best of them all – time. And his punches compared to Sean O’Malley, it’s like a kid.
“Even Jose Aldo texted me yesterday, he said, ‘Bro, we all know you’re tough. Don’t post that [medical report]† You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.’ …Like I said, I’ve been in so many fights [with legendary] guys, and literally go fight Sean O’Malley and see all I stood for was nothing more [than] hype, and now my theory is settled, and I just felt I’d say it’s here for the people who doubt and still believe. I know you still won’t believe in that, but here, so I’m doing everything I can to avoid this fight. That really happened that day.”