Sean O’Malley Believes Pedro Munhoz’s “Fake” Eye Injury Cost Him A Highlight-Reel Knockout

Sean O'Malley

Sean O’Malley wasn’t happy with how UFC 276 played out. 

The 27-year-old had two goals: Be the first person to finish Pedro Munhoz and make it viral. An accidental eye-poke halted those plans after Munhoz was unable to continue in the second round and the fight was deemed a no-contest. Following the bout, Munhoz revealed that he suffered a scratched cornea. 

O’Malley is convinced that Munhoz used the eye-poke to avoid a highlight-reel loss. 

“He robbed me of a highlight-reel KO that I trained 12 weeks for because I was getting the better of him,” O’Malley said on his BrOMalley Show podcast. “He didn’t want to be on the highlight-reel. He didn’t want to be an Eddie Wineland [and] he didn’t want to be a (Raulian) Paiva. He wanted out while he still could.”

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Despite Munhoz’s post-fight diagnosis, O’Malley believes the eye-poke was not severe enough to stop the fight in the second round. 

“The second round, barely poked him in the eye. Not enough to stop the fight,” O’Malley said. “I’ve been poked in the eye and I’ve poked someone in the eye. That was not a f****** poke in the eye. That was brushed up… there’s no way he could not have not continued that fight.”

Munhoz responded to O’Malley’s claims by assuring that he was “100%” focused in the fight.  

“I was winning in the scorecards… I was able to break him down the first round which is the round he goes the strongest,” Munhoz said on the MMA hour. The second and third we know that he starts going down and that’s my strongest rounds.”

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Some fans and fighters reacted to the no-contest by questioning the legitimacy of the eye injury. The 35-year-old addressed the criticism including O’Malley’s antics since the fight. 

“He didn’t do it on purpose but a lot of his actions after the fight was things that I don’t think he’s right based on my values like he came and apologized to me and then he goes and makes a video on TikTok [to] make fun of my video,” Munhoz said. “I’d be blamed for something that he did and all of a sudden ‘I want out’ like that doesn’t make any sense.“

Heading into UFC 276, O’Malley was on a three-fight winning streak with all coming by knockout against Raulian Pava, Kris Moutinho, and Thomas Almeida.

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Munhoz lost four of his last five fights against top bantamweights like UFC champion Aljamain Sterling, Dominick Cruz, José Aldo, and Frankie Edgar. O’Malley believes Munhoz used the eye-poke as a way to avoid another loss and further his UFC career. 

“He wanted out while he still could. He wanted to get another fight in the UFC. I put his lights out, they say, ‘You know what? That might be it.’For him, he’s like ‘Well I can get paid here and I can probably get another fight booked.’”