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Dublin: 14°C Sunday 27 September 2020

Judging amendments among new rule changes introduced for MMA

There are also changes relating to eye pokes, female clothing and the definition of a grounded fighter.

Image: Gregory Payan

SEVERAL RULE CHANGES for mixed martial arts were approved yesterday by the Association of Boxing Commissions [ABC].

The news was very adeptly reported by Marc Raimondi for, who described the changes as “the greatest alterations to MMA’s Unified Rules since their inception”.

The amendments were passed by a vote of 42-1 at the ABC’s rules and regulations committee’s annual conference in Las Vegas. The only state to go against the tide was New Jersey, while Mississippi and Tennessee both abstained.

Nevertheless, each commission still has the right to reject the changes individually as the ABC does not possess authoritative power over state governments. Commissions can introduce the changes immediately, although the process may take longer in certain states due to the need to go through their legislatures.

The main change is to the language of the scoring criteria for judges. This determines that effective striking and grappling are the priority for judges. Aggression and cage control should only be the taken into account if those things are equal.

The word “damage” in the judging lexicon will be replaced by “impact” due to the negative connotations of the former. In the case of 10-8 rounds, judges must assess dominance, duration and impact. A 10-8 score should be considered if two of those factors are present, but it should be essential in the case of all three.

With the official language, here are the other rule changes:

Grounded fighter

A grounded fighter is defined as: Any part of the body, other than a single hand and feet touching the fighting area floor. To be grounded, both hands and feet, palm/fist down, and/or any other body part must be touching the fighting area floor. At this time, kicks or knees to the head will not be allowed.

Extended fingers

In the standing position, a fighter that moves their arm(s) toward their opponent with an open hand, fingers pointing at the opponent’s face/eyes, will be a foul. Referees are to prevent this dangerous behavior by communicating clearly to fighters. Fighters are directed to close their fists or point their fingers straight in the air when reaching toward their opponent.

Female clothing

Female competitors must wear a short-sleeved (above the elbow) or sleeveless form-fitting rash guard and/or sports bra. No loose-fitting tops are allowed. Female competitors will follow the same requirements for bottom coverings as the male competitors, minus the requirement for groin protection.

Click here to read Marc Raimondi’s comprehensive round-up of the changes, including the removal of heel strikes to the kidneys and the grabbing of the clavicle [collarbone] as fouls.

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About the author:

Paul Dollery

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