UFC strawweight Tecia Torres was scheduled to fight Angela Hill at UFC 256, but when Hill was pulled from the event following a positive COVID test, Sam Hughes stepped up on short notice in what was a major opportunity to not only debut in the UFC but to do so against an established, ranked, and respected name in Tecia Torres. Unfortunately for Hughes, Torres would show exactly how she has earned that respect and the number next for her name by bashing Hughes throughout the first round. Between rounds, Hughes mentioned to her corner that she was poked in the eye and could not see, which caused Hughes’s corner to put a stop to the fight. In the immediate aftermath, Daniel Cormier weighed in from the commentating booth.
“As an athlete, you know if you say you can’t see, the referee is going to come in there and stop it,” Cormier said. “You could say, ‘Ah, I want to go. I want to go. I want to go.’ But if that man in the suit goes in, the guy from the commission, and he looks into your eyes – I did this in August (against Stipe Miocic). ‘DC, can you see?’ (You say), ‘Oh, I’m fine,’ because you want to go fight.
“… I’m not trying to crap on Sam Hughes here by any way, but just saying, ‘I can’t see’ tells the guy you’re done. They’re going to make you stop because even if her coaches let her go, the commission will come in and talk to you, and then it’s over.”
Sam Hughes was hurt by the comments, and her head coach Eddie Grant was outright offended at what he believes Cormier was implying.
“I’m sorry, but that really got to me,” Grant said. “First of all, Sam is a huge fan of Daniel Cormier – and she always has been. Then for him to be like, ‘She’s quitting’ and all this stuff, I know that that was hurtful to her. … The thing is that she wasn’t quitting. She would’ve continued to fight. Sam got her arm broken in a fight and came back and won. I have no question about whether she’ll continue to fight. You’re going in there in your UFC debut, and it just so happens we took the fight on five days’ notice. We cut 17 pounds, made weight, and then went and fought the No. 10 girl on planet earth.”
Sam Hughes also chimed in about Cormier’s comments, stating, “(Quitting) wasn’t my intention at all. He asked a question, and I answered it. But if you look at the footage, I was like, ‘No, no, no, please don’t stop it,’ because I had full intentions of going into the second and third round.”
Sam Hughes was later diagnosed with hyphema, which is the condition of having a pool of blood inside the eye. Grant even claims that the UFC’s doctor informed Hughes that 80% of her affected eye was filled with blood. Looking back, Hughes and Grant both believe the right decision was made to stop the fight, as the long-term risks were not worth any temporary reward.
Do you think Daniel Cormier was out of line for his commentary about Sam Hughes’s dialogue with her coaches at UFC 256?