3 rules of mixed martial arts (MMA) that need to be changed
These rules in mixed martial arts are the ones that absolutely must be reviewed.
When North America was first truly exposed to mixed martial arts (MMA) with the UFC’s inaugural event in November 1993, the event was a one-night tournament designed with no rules or limits.
Those early UFC cards actually had a few rules – i.e. no scrub, no bite and SOMETIMES no hits. Other than that, anything was allowed until one fighter could no longer continue every match.
Of course, that kind of promotion has done the UFC a disservice. While this “rule-less” mindset has garnered attention, it has been looked down upon by politicians nationwide. Soon, “No Limit Fighting” was banned across most of the country as the UFC plunged into the Dark Ages.
MMA in the United States finally got an approved set of standardized rules in 2001, when a meeting held by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board approved what we know today as the Unified Rules for Mixed Martial Arts. .
These three things are MMA rules where changes must be taken into account
Although there are MMA promotions as exceptions, the Unified Rules are now the usual set of rules for MMA events in the United States, and it is the most common form of rule set adjourned by the United States. MMA promotions and sanctioning bodies around the world.
The adoption of the unified rules was certainly a step in the right direction for MMA, as it was one of the first steps in the sport from being criticized and mocked to accepted and celebrated. And, of course, over time the UFC and MMA in general have gained significant popularity that some might never have imagined in those dark days.
That being said, the unified rules weren’t perfect and they have evolved over time. And even 20 years later, there are still some common rules in MMA that some may find questionable and potentially worth changing.
Here are three of those practices that might require a makeover.
1. Scoring (aka the “10 point mandatory system”)
You hear it said at the start of every UFC event. “The winner of the round gets 10 points, his opponent nine or less, based on an effective strike and grapple, followed by aggression and control of the Octagon, in that order.”
When the Unified Rules were first developed and confirmed, fight scoring took a page out of the boxing playbook, using what is commonly referred to as the “10 point mandatory system”. As stated, one fighter gets 10 points and the other nine or less, based on a specific set of criteria.
For a while this worked, as the system helped give MMA a more solid and real test of how a fight can be judged and made the sport look more professional. But over the past two years everything about judging, from scoring criteria to points awarded, has come under fire. And that could be a sign that change is needed.
While the “10 point mandatory” boxing scoring model was a good idea to initialize a uniform set of standards for MMA, it is ultimately outdated with the evolution of the sport these days. Judging an MMA fight is much more subjective than judging a boxing match.
In boxing you look at who threw the most, landed the most, took the hardest hits, and who controlled the pace of the fight. In an MMA fight, it’s not just about hitting. It’s also about melee control, kills, transitions, and ground control, as well as whether or not what you do matters in combat.
There is also the question of what is considered “effective” in hitting and grappling. If a pair of fighters is against the cage, one holds the other in close combat while the other throws all the punches for the round, who wins this round? And a lot of talk over the past year, in particular: if a fighter has the best ground control but does little or nothing, how “effective” is that fight?
Keep in mind that the judging criteria weren’t clarified to be in a specific order until early 2017. And that’s also when the judges were asked to be a bit more lenient. with what is determined to be a 10-8.
This is not to denigrate the 10 point system or boxing; it’s just a question that maybe MMA – a different fighting sport – needs changes in the way fights are judged.
Perhaps one solution, as discussed lately, is to bring an open scoring to all levels in MMA. The Kansas Athletic Commission has been promoting it and working with Invicta. He received much praise, with the belief that such a system can encourage losing fighters to take more risks and be more aggressive and could bring more accountability to judges.
However, not everyone believes in such a system. Some believe it will encourage the winning fighter to take less risks and have a more boring fight. UFC President Dana White has previously commented that he believes an open scoring will reduce the fun and drama of fighting.
So there is another solution: don’t judge turn-based fights with scores, just judge the fight as a whole. If the fight goes the whole distance, the judges are simply asked if the fighter from the red corner won, the fighter from the blue corner won, or if the fight was a draw.
This was the judging format used in PRIDE and can still be seen today in ONE Championship and RIZIN. These rule sets also have different, possibly better, judging criteria that prioritize efforts to get a finish and damage and are clearer – and perhaps more entertaining and understandable to fighters and fans alike.
And in those promotions, we see a lot less controversy than in a promotion that uses unified rule scoring like the UFC and Bellator.
2.12 to 6 elbows
It’s a classic and long-contested rule, although it hasn’t received as much attention and discussion lately (perhaps because it’s been about a year and a half since we haven’t seen it. Jon Jones in action).
The strike in question refers to a strike with the elbow in which it passes from an upward position directly downward in a straight line (hence from the “12h00” position to the “6h00” position). Any other nudge (a 9 to 3 or 3 to 9, something with an arch like a 5 to 12, etc.) is fine. But the 12 to 6 is a big no-no under the unified rules.
The long-standing story, as previously promoted by Joe Rogan, is that 12-6 elbows were banned when the unified rules were established due to TV shows in which martial arts smashed objects like cinder blocks. and blocks of ice with their elbows.
The real reason, according to veteran “Big” referee John McCarthy, is that the commissions fear just how dangerous and potentially fatal a 12-6 elbow could be.
In the case of the first reasoning, it is just plain silly. In the case of the latter, what exactly makes a 12-to-6 more dangerous than any other elbow? You can always crush an eye socket or open someone up with something like a 3 to 6 or 5 to 10 or any other type of elbow with a movement you can think of. Just look at the bloody mess Curtis Blaydes left Alistair Overeem with his elbows in their UFC 225 fight.
There is no reason to ban a 12 to 6 elbow when just about all other types of elbows are allowed under the unified rules. ONE Championship allows them with the Global MMA rule set.
Or, just don’t get nudged. Strikeforce has banned all nudging and PRIDE banned elbows to the head. Both classes seemed to be doing pretty well during their existence.
3. “Unified” rules are not unified
There are so many choices that we could have this last choice. You could talk about knees on an opponent’s head on the ground (similar to what happened with Petr Yan against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259). We could look into whether football kicking and stomping to an opponent on the ground should be legal (callback to Adriano Moraes against Demetrious Johnson in ONE earlier in 2021). We could talk about guard upkicks to an opponent on the ground (look for Anderson Silva’s DQ loss to Yushin Okami in 2006).
There are many possibilities to consider here, especially when it comes to rules involving an opponent on the ground. But, a question for dear readers: what constitutes an opponent on the ground?
The simple answer is, “everything except the soles of the feet touching the rug”, right? The thing is, if you’re in a state like California or New York, and you put one hand on the mat, technically it’s not an opponent on the ground.
A 2016 vote by the Association of Boxing and Combat Sports Commissions (ABC) made changes to the unified rules, including the definition of a fighter on the ground. The point is that not all states have adopted such measures. This means that the rules in place for a fight may very well depend on the location of the map.
This is why you hear UFC broadcasts mentioning whether a card is held under the unified “old” or “new” rules of MMA, especially when it comes to things like the definition of a card. opponent on the ground and reruns.
Doesn’t it seem completely stupid that what are called unified rules are not?
And that’s the great thing. Everything discussed in this article – from judging criteria to score, and legalizing movements to defining a fighter on the ground – means nothing unless we try to make the Unified Rules a true whole. of “unified” rules.
Commissions are (or at least should be) always mindful of the safety of combatants when determining their rules and regulations. If we had a real unified set of rules, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to tackle more serious or controversial topics like extreme weight cuts and better pay for fighters (including the potential extension of Ali Law in the sport) .
Having these divided and unified “unified rules” can simply be a big obstacle in the evolution of sport today.