Daniel Cormier suffered a torn cornea when he was accidentally poked in the eye by Stipe Miocic during their UFC 252 heavyweight title bout Saturday night in the UFC Apex, empty of fans because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, in Las Vegas.

Cormier told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that he was hurt in the second round of the fight, a third-round, unanimous-decision victory by Miocic. The fight continued, with Cormier struggling to see the rest of the way. He told ESPN that he would not immediately need surgery but that doctors will monitor how well he heals.

The victory for Miocic was the second in three bouts with Cormier, who has said he intends to retire.

“I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles,” said Cormier (22-3, one no-contest). “I don’t imagine there’s going to be a title in the future, so that will be it for me. I’ve had a long run. It’s been great.”

Cormier said he told referee Marc Goddard that he couldn’t see out of his left eye, but Goddard thought the injury was the result of a punch. Typically, fighters are given extra time after an unintentional poke or low blow.

Goddard tweeted Sunday morning that he had apologized for missing the eye poke.

“I practice what I preach and as a man I stand tall and head on. If you accept plaudits then you must with mistakes too, that’s proof that you are listening, honest and implore improvement,” he wrote. “Rough with the smooth, acceptance and ownership. Immediately after the fight when seeing the replay I apologized to Daniel and his team and I do so publicly and unreservedly for missing what I shouldn’t have — but I cannot call what I do not see. I don’t have replays and multiple angles, it’s a one shot take in real time. I cannot convey just how much I have both lived and loved this sport for the past 20 years. I truly appreciate all who understand.”

Miocic (20-3) is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion and is tied with Randy Couture for the most UFC heavyweight title fight wins with six.

As for Cormier’s future, UFC President Dana White said, “Whatever he wants to do, I’m happy for him.” However, for fighters, retirement isn’t something that’s usually irrevocable.

“He’ll say he’s not going out like that,” White said of the 41-year-old fighter. “That’s my prediction.”

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