Amateur MMA Bouts
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS UNIFIED RULES FOR AMATEUR COMPETITION
Amateur Mixed Martial Arts [MMA] competition shall provide participants new to the sport of MMA the needed experience required in order to progress through to a possible career within the sport. The sole ethos of Amateur MMA is to provide the safest possible environment for combatants to train and gain the required experience and knowledge under directed pathways allowing them to compete under the confines of the rules set out within this document.
“Mixed martial arts” means a combat competition involving the use, subject to any applicable limitations set forth in these Unified Rules, of a combination of techniques from different disciplines of the martial arts, including, without limitation, grappling, kicking and striking.
The Referee shall remain the sole arbiter of a contest. All contests and exhibitions of mixed martial arts must be conducted under the supervision and authority of the commission/host regulatory body.
Each contest under shall be 3 [three] rounds each to be 3 [three] minutes in duration, with a rest period of 1 [one] minute between each round.
5) STOPPING THE CONTEST:
The referee and the ringside physician are the only individuals authorized to enter the ring/fighting area at any time during competition, and the referee is the sole arbiter of a contest and is the only individual authorised to stop a contest.
All contests will be evaluated and scored by three judges.
7) TEN (10) POINT MUST SYSTEM:
The 10-Point Must System will be the standard system of scoring a contest.
A single warning will be issued for the following infractions only:
- Holding or grabbing the fence
- Holding onto the opponent’s shorts, gloves, shin guards or rash-guard
- Having the fingers outstretched, palm parallel to the floor toward opponent’s face
The following acts constitute a foul in mixed martial arts competition:
- Butting with the head
- Eye gouging of any kind
- Biting or spitting at an opponent
- Fish Hooking
- Hair pulling
- Spiking the opponent to the canvas onto the head or neck (pile-driving)
- Strikes to the spine or the back of the head. The spine includes the tailbone
- Throat strikes of any kind and/or grabbing the trachea
- Fingers outstretched toward an opponent’s face/eyes
- Downward pointing elbow strike (12 to 6)
- Groin attacks of any kind
- Kneeing and/or Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
- Stomping of a grounded fighter
- Holding opponent’s gloves, shorts, shin-guards or rash guard
- Holding or grabbing the fence with fingers or toes
- Small joint manipulation [fingers or toes]
- Throwing an opponent out of the fighting area
- Intentionally placing a finger into any orifice, or into any cut or laceration of your opponent
- Clawing, pinching, twisting the flesh
- Timidity (avoiding contact, or consistently dropping the mouthpiece, or faking an injury
- Use of abusive language in the fighting area
- Flagrant disregard of the referee’s instructions
- Unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to opponent
- Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the period of unarmed combat.
- Attacking an opponent on or during the break
- Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
- Interference from a mixed martial artist’s corner or seconds
- Applying any foreign substance to the head or body in order to gain an advantage
10) FORBIDDEN TECHNIQUES
In addition to the listed fouls above, techniques that shall remain forbidden in Amateur
Mixed Martial Arts contests shall be:
- Elbow and forearm strikes of any kind
- Heel Hook
- Twister, neck crank, can opener, sit through crucifix and/or any submission deemed as applying pressure to the neck or spine
- Knees to the head of an opponent
11) FOUL PROCEEDURE
Disqualification can occur after any combination of fouls or after a single flagrant foul. Fouls resulting in a point[s] being deducted and as signaled by the referee must result in the deduction from the offending contestant’s score and is to be notated by all three judges and official scorekeeper.
Only a referee can assess a foul, if the referee does not call the foul then judges must not make that assessment on their own.
A fouled contestant has up to 5 minutes to recuperate. This is not applicable to all fouls.
If a foul is committed the referee may call time should the fouled contestant show any visible sign of distraction or injury.
- The referee shall call time.
- The referee shall check the fouled contestant’s condition and safety.
- The referee shall then instruct the fouling contestant to a neutral corner, assess the foul to the fouled contestant, deduct points [if required] and notify the judges and official scorekeeper.
If a bottom contestant commits a foul, unless the top contestant is injured, the contest will continue without referee intervention.
- The referee will verbally notify the bottom contestant of the foul.
- When the round is over, the referee will assess the foul and notify both corners, the judges and the official scorekeeper.
12) INJURIES SUSTAINED BY FAIR BLOWS AND FOULS:
If injury is severe enough to terminate a contest, the injured fighter loses by TKO.
1) If an injury is severe enough to cause the immediate termination of a contest, the contestant causing the injury loses by disqualification.
2) If an injury is produced and the contest is allowed to continue, the referee will notify the authorities and automatically deduct 2 points from the contestant who committed the foul. Point deductions for intentional fouls will be mandatory.
3) If an injury as described in (b) above is the cause of the contest being stopped in a later round, the injured boxer will win by TECHNICAL DECISION, if he is ahead on the scorecards.
4) If an injury as described in (b) above is the cause of the contest being stopped in a later round, the contest will result in a TECHNICAL DRAW, if the injured contestant is behind or even on the scorecards.
5) If a contestant injures himself while attempting to foul his opponent, the referee will not take any action in his favor, and the injury will be the same as one produced by a fair blow.
1) Any injury severe enough for the referee to stop the contest immediately, will result in a NO CONTEST if stopped before 2 rounds have been completed in a 3 round contest or if stopped before 3 rounds have been completed in a 5 round contest.
2) Any injury severe enough for the referee to stop the contest immediately after 2 rounds of a 3-round contest, or after 3 rounds of a 5 round contest have occurred, the contest will result in a TECHNICAL DECISION, awarded to the contestant who is ahead on the score cards at the time the contest is stopped.
3) If injury (b) above occurs, there will be no scoring of an incomplete round.
4) If injury (b) above occurs, and the referee penalizes either contestant, then point(s) shall be deducted from the final score.
13) WEIGHT DIVISIONS:
Except with the approval of the commission/host regulatory authority the weight classes for mixed martial arts contests shall be:
- Straw-weight under 115 pounds
- Flyweight over 115 to 125 pounds
- Bantamweight over 125 to 135 pounds
- Featherweight over 135 to 145 pounds
- Lightweight over 145 to 155 pounds
- Welterweight over 155 to 170 pounds
- Middleweight over 170 to 185 pounds
- Light Heavyweight over 185 to 205 pounds
- Heavyweight over 205 to 265 pounds
- Super Heavyweight over 265 pounds
Weigh-ins for amateur contestants shall be on the day of competition, and each subsequent day of competition that an athletes progresses.
14) MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTESTANTS:
All athletes are required to complete all pre-competition medical examinations and tests as set out by the commission/host regulatory authority. This can be found in the competition license and registration handbook or the statutes as defined by the SAFE MMA. The medical requirements set out pre competition shall be mandatory.
The commission/host regulatory authority licensing the contest shall conduct or supervise all pre-contest weigh-ins and supervise a rules meeting for all contestants and their cornermen.
Post-Contest medical examination:
1) Immediately following a contest, each contestant shall be given a medical examination by a physician approved by the commission/host regulatory authority. The medical examination may include any examinations or tests the commission deems necessary to determine the post-contest physical fitness of a contestant.
2) Any contestant who refuses to undergo a post-contest medical examination shall be immediately suspended for an indefinite period for an investigation to take place.
1) The gloves shall be new for all events and in good condition or they must be replaced. Only gloves supplied by the promoter.
2) All contestants shall wear gloves with protective padding weighing a minimum of no less than 6 ounces and no more than 8 ounces. The gloves for amateur competition shall be recognized as visibly different to those used under professional rules and have the aesthetic of such. Contestants are not permitted to supply their own gloves.
3) Gloves are to be open-handed with finger and thumb loops to facilitate grappling. The wrist shall be supported by means of a Velcro strap. No lace-up gloves are permitted.
4) Gloves shall be coloured either Red or Blue.
1) Each contestant must wear mixed martial arts shorts/compression shorts. No pockets, zips, fasteners or any foreign substance other than that of the material that the shorts are made of shall be permitted to present on the shorts. No external lace up waistband on the outside of the shorts are permitted, it must be inside the waist band of the shorts.
2) Contestants may not wear shoes of any kind during competition.
We understand and gives special dispensation to all cultural and religious belief and practice. Any female athlete wishing to wear either/or long sleeve rash guards and tights to cover the skin can do so with prior written notification to the commission/host regulatory authority.
Shin-guards and rash guards:
1) The use of shin guards and rash guards are not required but can be requested by the coaches pre-signing the fight. The type of shin guard used shall be able to facilitate the grappling aspects associated with the competition.
2) As such the preferred type shall be a tight fighting pull-on sock/neoprene type shin guard. The use of shin guards with Velcro-type strap fasteners or utilizing any substance other than which the shin guard is made of shall be forbidden.
3) All rash guards are to be of short sleeve type. No long sleeve rash guards are permitted.
1) All male contestants must provide and wear a groin protector. Females may choose to wear a groin protector should they so wish.
1) All contestants are required to wear a well-fitting mouthpiece, which shall be subject to examination and approval.
2) A round will not begin until both contestants have their respective mouthpieces in place.
3) If a mouthpiece is involuntarily dislodged during competition, the referee will call time and replace the mouthpiece at the first opportune moment, which does not interfere with the immediate action.
Contestant’s Physical Appearance:
1) Each contestant must be clean and present a tidy appearance.
2) The use of Vaseline/grease or any other foreign substance, including, without limitation, grooming creams, lotions or sprays, may not be used on the face, hair or body of a contestant. The referee or the commission’s representative shall cause a any excessive grease or foreign substance to be removed.
3) The commission/host regulatory authority representative shall determine whether head or facial hair presents any hazard to the safety of the contestant or his opponent or will interfere with the supervision and conduct of the contest. If the head or facial hair of a contestant presents such a hazard or will interfere with the supervision and conduct of the contest, the contestant may not compete in the contest unless the circumstances creating the hazard or potential interference are corrected to the satisfaction of the commission’s representation. Without limiting the foregoing standard, head hair must be trimmed or tied back in such a manner that it will not interfere with the vision of either contestant or cover any part of a contestant’s face.
4) Contestants may not wear any jewellery or other piercing accessories while competing.
16) TYPES OF CONTEST RESULTS:
- Physical Tap Out
- Verbal tap out
Technical Knockout (TKO) by:
- Referee stopping contest
- Referee Stopping the contest on the advice of the Ringside Physician/Corner
Decision via the scorecards, including:
- Unanimous Decision – When all three judges score the contest for the same contestant
- Split Decision – When two judges score the contest for one contestant and one judge scores for the opponent
- Majority Decision – When two judges score the contest for the same contestant and one judge scores a draw
- Draw, including:
- Unanimous Draw – When all three judges score the contest a draw
- b) Majority Draw – When two judges score the contest a draw
- c) Split Draw – When all three judges score differently
- Technical Draw
- Technical Decision
- No Contest
19) SCORING TECHNIQUES:
Effective Striking/Grappling shall be considered the first priority of round assessments.
Effective Aggressiveness should not be considered unless the judge does not see ANY advantage in the Effective Striking/Grappling realm. Cage/Ring Control should only be needed when all other criteria are 100% even for both competitors.
1) Effective Striking/Grappling
Legal blows that have immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute towards the end of the match with the IMMEDIATE weighing in more heavily than the cumulative impact.
Successful execution of takedowns, submission attempts, reversals and the achievement of advantageous positions that produce immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to contribute to the end of the match weigh more heavily than the cumulative impact. It shall be noted that a successful takedown is not merely a changing of position, but the establishment of an attack from the use of the takedown. Submission attempts that cause an opponent to tire and weaken, taking considerable effort to escape shall be given greater weight when scoring than those attempt that are easily defended and escaped without effort.
High amplitude and impactful throws and takedowns are weighed more heavily than
athletes who are tripped or bundled to the mat. This will be the deciding factor in a high majority of decisions when scoring a round. The next two criteria must be treated as a backup and used only when Effective Striking/Grappling is 100% equal for the round.
2) Effective Aggressiveness
Aggressively making attempts to finish the fight. The key term is ‘effective’. Chasing after an opponent with no effective result or impact should not render in the judges’ assessments Effective Aggressiveness is only to be assessed if Effective Striking/Grappling is 100% equal for both competitors.
3) Fighting Area Control
Fighting area control is assessed by determining who is dictating the pace, place and
position of the match. Fighting Area Control shall only to be assessed if Effective Striking/Grappling and Effective Aggressiveness is 100% equal for both competitors. This will be assessed very rarely.
The 10 point must system shall be utilized when scoring a fight.
A 10 – 10 round in MMA is when both fighters have competed for whatever duration of
time in the round and there is no difference or advantage between either fighter.”
A 10 – 10 round in MMA should be extremely rare and is not a score to be used as an excuse by a judge that cannot assess the differences in the round.
A 10 – 9 Round in MMA is where one combatant wins the round by a close margin.
A 10 – 9 round in MMA is the most common score a judge assesses during the night. If, during the round, the judge sees a fighter land the better strikes, or utilize effective grappling during the competition, even if by just one technique over their opponent, the judge shall give the winning fighter a score of 10 while assessing the losing fighter a score of 9 or less.
A score of 10 – 9 can reflect an extremely close round or a round of marginal domination and/or impact.
A 10 – 8 Round in MMA is where one fighter wins the round by a large margin.
A score of 10 – 8 does not require a fighter to dominate their opponent for the entire 3 minutes of a round.
The score of 10 – 8 is utilized by the judge when the judge sees verifiable actions on the part of either fighter. Judges shall ALWAYS give a score of 10 – 8 when the judge has established that one fighter has dominated the action of the round, had duration of the domination and also impacted their opponent with either effective strikes or effective grappling maneuvers that have diminished the abilities of their opponent.
A 10 – 7 Round in MMA is when a fighter completely overwhelms their opponent in Effective Striking and/or Grappling and stoppage is warranted.
A 10 – 7 round in MMA is a score that judges will rarely give
Pro MMA Bouts
ASSOCIATION OF BOXING COMMISSIONS AND COMBATIVE SPORTS UNIFIED RULES OF MIXED MARTIAL ARTS AS APPROVED APRIL 2001.
- Each round shall consist of a five (5) minute duration (professional), with a one (1) minute rest
period between rounds.
a. No contests shall exceed five (5) rounds and/or twenty-five (25) minutes.
b. Bouts may consist of one (1), two (2), three (3), four (4), or five (5) rounds, with a five
(5) minute duration.
c. No contestant shall exceed competing more than five (5) rounds and/or twenty-five
(25) minutes of fighting in a twenty-four (24) hour period.
- The referee is the sole arbiter of a bout and is the only individual authorized to stop a contest.
This shall not preclude a video or other review of a decision under the procedure of the
applicable regulatory authority if a protest is filed claiming a clear rule violation.
a. The authority of a referee begins when the inspector(s) exit the cage/ring and does
not end until the inspector(s) re-enter the cage/ring, upon conclusion of the fight.
- Instant replay may be used to review a “Fight Ending Sequence” and shall only be used after a
fight has been officially stopped. Once instant replay has been used to review a fight ending
sequence, the fight shall not be resumed.
- All fighters are required to wear a mouthpiece during competition. The round cannot begin
without the mouthpiece. If the mouthpiece is dislodged during competition, the referee will call
time and have the mouthpiece replaced at the first opportune moment, without interfering with
the immediate action. Points may be deducted by the referee if he/she feels the mouthpiece is
being purposefully spit out.
- If an MMA bout is being conducted in a ring and is a fighter is knocked out of the ring, the fighter
must return to the ring unassisted by spectators or his/her seconds. If assisted by anyone, the
fighter may lose points or be disqualified with such a decision being within the sole discretion of
the referee. Once knocked from the ring, the competitor will have five (5) minutes to return to
fighting surface, similar to an accidental foul, but shall be examined by the ringside physician
before returning to action.
- The reapplication of petroleum jelly or another similar substance, to the face, may be allowed
between rounds and shall only be applied by an approved cutman or licensed cornerman.
- In instances where the fight has to be concluded due to unforeseen, non-combat related issues,
the fight may go to the scorecards if one-half the scheduled rounds, plus one second (1/2 +1)
have been completed.
a. If the non-combat stoppage occurs prior to the ½ +1 mark, the fight is to be scored a “No
- Hand Wraps.
a. A maximum of one roll (no more than 2” wide by 15 yards in length) of white, soft, cloth
gauze is permitted per hand. The gauze may not exceed the wrist of the competitor’s glove.
The exposed thumb is an option to be protected.
b. A maximum of one roll (no more than 1.25” wide by 10’ in length) of white athletic tape is
permitted per hand. The tape may not exceed the wrist of the competitor’s gloves. Tape may
be placed through the fingers but may not cover the knuckles. The exposed thumb is an option
to be protected.
c. A single layer of elastic or flex-type tape is allowed to be applied over the completed wrap.
d. Approved tape/gauze of all brands may be allowed.
- Joint/Body Coverings.
a. Other than the competitor’s hands, there will be no taping, covering, or protective gear, of
any kind, on the upper body. This includes, but is not limited to: joint sleeves, padding, or any
form of brace/body tape.
b. A competitor may use a soft neoprene type sleeve to cover only the knee and/or ankle
joints. Approved sleeves may not have: padding, Velcro, plastic, metal, ties, or any other
material considered to be unsafe or that may create an unfair advantage. Tape, gauze, or any
materials other than the approved sleeves are not permitted.
- Cage/Ring Attire.
a. All mixed martial artists will be required to wear such protective gear as deemed necessary
by the Commission.
b. Male contestants shall not wear any form of clothing on their upper body.
c. Male and female mixed martial artists shall wear the appropriate trunks, mouthpiece, and
gloves. Male mixed martial artists shall also wear the appropriate groin protection.
d. Female mixed martial artists shall wear a short sleeved (above the elbow) or sleeveless
form fitting rash guard and/or sports bra(s). No loose-fitting tops and/or breast protectors shall
be allowed. Female competitors will follow the same requirements for bottom covering as the
male competitors, minus the requirement for groin protection.
e. The hem of the trunks may not extend below the knee.
f. Fighting shorts/trunks shall not have exposed Velcro, pockets, or zippers.
g. Mixed martial artists in the same match, contest, or exhibition may wear different color
trunks or be designated by glove taping and/or glove coloring to the corner they are assigned.
h. Mixed martial artists shall not wear shoes in the cage or ring.
i. When deemed necessary by the referee all mixed martial artists shall have their hair secured
in a manner that does not interfere with the vision and safety of either contestant.
i. No object can be worn to secure the contestant’s hair which may cause injury to either
j. The wearing of jewelry will be strictly prohibited during all contests.
k. Wearing body cosmetics shall be prohibited during all contests. Wearing facial cosmetics
shall be at the discretion of the commission and/or referee.
- Butting with the head;
a. The head may not be used as a striking instrument in any fashion. Any use of the head as a
striking instrument whether head to head, head to body or otherwise is illegal.
- Eye gouging of any kind;
a. Eye gouging by means of fingers, chin, or elbow is illegal. Legal strikes or punches that
contact the fighter’s eye socket are not eye gouging and shall be considered legal attacks.
- Biting or spitting at an opponent;
a. Biting in any form is illegal. A fighter must recognize that a referee may not be able to
physically observe some actions and must make the referee aware if they are being bit during
an exhibition of unarmed combat.
- Fish Hooking;
a. Any attempt by a fighter to use their fingers in a manner that attacks their opponent’s mouth,
nose or ears, stretching the skin to that area will be considered “Fish hooking”. Fish hooking
generally is the placing of fingers into the mouth or your opponent and pulling your hands in
opposing directions while holding onto the skin of your opponent.
- Hair pulling;
a. Pulling of the hair in any fashion is an illegal action. A fighter may not grab a hold of his
opponent’s hair to control their opponent in any way. If a fighter has long hair, they may not
use their hair as a tool for holding or choking in any fashion.
- Spiking the opponent to the canvas onto the head or neck (pile-driving);
a. Any throw with an arc to its motion is to be considered a legal throw. It does not matter if the
opponents head hits the canvas. A pile driver is considered to be any throw where you control
your opponent’s body placing their feet up in the air with their head straight down and then
forcibly drives the opponents head into the canvas or flooring material. It should be noted when
a fighter is placed into a submission hold by their opponent, if that fighter is capable of
elevating their opponent, they may bring that opponent down in any fashion they desire
because they are not in control of their opponent’s body. The fighter who is attempting the
submission can either adjust their position or let go of their hold before being slammed to the
- Strikes to the spine or the back of the head;
a. The back of the head starts at the Crown of the head with a one (1) inch variance to either
side, running down the back of the head to the occipital junction.
b. This area stretches out at the occipital junction (nape of the neck) to cover the entire width
of the neck. It then travels down the spine with a one (1) inch variance from the spine’s
centerline, including the tailbone.
- Throat strikes of any kind and/or grabbing the trachea;
a. No directed throat strikes are allowed. A directed attack would include a fighter pulling his
opponents head in a way to open the neck area for a striking attack. A fighter may not gouge
their fingers or thumb into their opponent’s neck or trachea in an attempt to submit their
opponent. If during stand-up action of a fight a strike is thrown and the strike lands in the throat
area of the fighter, this shall be viewed as a clean and legal blow.
- Fingers outstretched toward an opponent’s face/eyes;
a. 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 up in the air when reaching toward their opponent.
- Downward pointing elbow strike (12 to 6);
a. The use of a linear “straight up straight down” elbow strike is prohibited. Any variation of this
straight up and down linear elbow strike makes the strike legal. Any arc, or any angle change
from straight up to straight down makes the strike legal. Any variation of position does not alter
the legality of the strike.
- Groin attacks of any kind;
a. Any attack to the groin area including, striking, grabbing, pinching or twisting is illegal. It
should be clear that groin attacks are the same for men and women.
- Kneeing and/or Kicking the head of a grounded opponent;
a. A grounded fighter is defined as: Any part of the body, other sole of the feet touching the
fighting area floor. To be grounded, the palm of one hand (a flat palm) must be down, and/or
any other body part must be touching the fighting area floor. A single knee, arm, (not fingers)
makes the fighter grounded without having to have any other body part in touch with the
fighting area floor. At this time, kicks or knees to the head will not be allowed.
- Stomping of a grounded fighter;
a. Stomping is considered any type of striking action with the feet where the fighter lifts their
leg up bending their leg at the knee and initiating a striking action with the bottom of their foot
b. Axe kicks are not stomping. Standing foot stops are NOT a foul. As such, this foul does not
include stomping the feet of a standing fighter.
- Holding opponent’s gloves or shorts;
a. A fighter may not control their opponent’s movement by holding onto their opponent’s shorts
or gloves. A fighter may hold onto or grab their opponent’s hand as long as they are not
controlling the hand only by using the material of the glove, but by actually gripping the hand of
the opponent. It is legal to hold onto your own gloves or shorts.
- Holding or grabbing the fence or ropes with fingers or toes;
a. A fighter may put their hands on the fence and push off of it at any time. A fighter may
place their feet onto the cage and have their toes go through the fencing material at any
time. When a fighter’s fingers or toes go through the cage and grab hold of the fence
and start to control either their body position or their opponent’s body position it now
becomes an illegal action. A fighter may not grab the ropes or wrap their arms over or
under the ring ropes at any time. The fighter may not purposely step through the ropes.
If a fighter is caught holding the fence, cage or ring rope material the referee may issue
a one-point deduction from the offending fighters scorecard if the foul caused a
substantial effect in the fight. If a point deduction for holding the fence occurs, and
because of the infraction, the fouling fighter ends up in a superior position due to the
foul, the fighters should be re-started by the referee, standing in a neutral position.
- Small joint manipulation;
a. Fingers and Toes are small joints. Wrists, Ankles, Knees, Shoulders and Elbows are
all large joints. Grabbing the majority of fingers/toes at once is allowed.
- Throwing an opponent out of the ring or caged area;
a. A fighter shall not throw their opponent out of the ring or cage.
- Intentionally placing a finger into any orifice, or into any cut or laceration of your Opponent;
a. A fighter may not place their fingers into an open laceration in an attempt to enlarge
the cut. A fighter may not place their fingers into an opponent’s, nose, ears, mouth, or
any body cavity.
- Clawing, pinching, twisting the flesh;
a. Any attack that targets the fighter’s skin by clawing at the skin or attempting to pull or
twist the skin to apply pain is illegal.
- Timidity (avoiding contact, or consistently dropping the mouthpiece, or faking an injury;
a. Timidity is defined as any fighter who purposely avoids contact with his opponent or
runs away from the action of the fight. Timidity can also be called by the referee for any
attempt by a fighter to receive time by falsely claiming a foul, injury, or purposely
dropping or spitting out their mouthpiece or other action designed to stall or delay the
action of the fight
- Use of abusive language in the fighting area;
a. The use of abusive language is not allowed during MMA competition. It is the sole
responsibility of the referee to determine when language crosses over the line to
abusive. It should be clear that fighters can talk during a match. The mere use of
auditory language is not a violation of this rule. Examples of abusive language would be
(Racially motivated or Derogatory language).
- Flagrant disregard of the referee’s instructions;
a. A fighter MUST follow the instructions of the referee at all times. Any deviation or
non-compliance may result in the fighter’s disqualification.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to opponent;
a. Every athlete competing in the sport of MMA is expected to represent the sport in a
positive light emphasizing sportsmanship and humility. Any athlete that disrespects the
rules of the sport or attempts to inflict unnecessary harm on a competitor who has been
either taken out of the competition by the referee or has tapped out of the competition
shall be viewed as being unsportsmanlike.
- Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the period of unarmed combat;
a. The end of a round is signified by the sound of the bell and the call of time by the
referee. Once the referee has made the call of time, any offensive actions initiated by
the fighter shall be considered after the bell and illegal.
- Attacking an opponent on or during the break;
a. A fighter shall not engage their opponent in any fashion during a time-out or break of
action in competition.
- Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee;
a. Once the referee has called for a stop of the action to protect a fighter who has been
incapacitated or is unable to continue to compete in the fight, fighters shall cease all
offensive actions against their opponent.
- Interference from a mixed martial artist’s corner or seconds;
a. Interference is defined as any action or activity aimed at disrupting the fight or
causing an unfair advantage to be given to a corner’s combatant. Corners are not
allowed to distract the referee or influence the actions of the referee in any fashion.
A. Intentional Fouls
- If an intentional foul causes an injury, and the injury is severe enough to terminate the bout
immediately, the fighter causing the injury shall lose by disqualification.
- If an intentional foul causes an injury and the bout is allowed to continue, the referee shall
notify the authorities and deduct two (2) points from the fighter who caused the foul. Point
deductions for intentional fouls will be mandatory.
- If an intentional foul causes a laceration and/or swelling and the bout is allowed to continue,
and the injury results in the fight being stopped in any round after ½ of the scheduled rounds,
plus one (1) second of the fight has been completed, by either
another legal or illegal strike, the injured fighter will win by TECHNICAL DECISION if they are
ahead on the score cards; and the bout will result in a TECHNICAL DRAW if the injured fighter
is behind or even on the score cards.
- If the fighter injures himself/herself while attempting to intentionally foul their opponent, the
referee will not act in their favor, and this injury shall be the same as one produced by a fair
- If the referee feels that a fighter has conducted themselves in an unsportsmanlike manner,
they may stop the action of the fight to deduct points or stop the bout to disqualify the fighter.
B. Accidental Fouls
1.If an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout, the bout
will result in either a NO CONTEST or DISQUALIFICATION if stopped before ½ of the
scheduled rounds, plus one (1) second of the fight has been completed.
- If an accidental foul causes an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the bout after ½
of the scheduled rounds, plus one (1) second of the fight has been completed, the bout will
result in a TECHNICAL DECISION awarded to the fighter who is ahead on the score cards at
the time the bout is stopped.
i. Partial or incomplete rounds will be scored. If no action has occurred, the round
should be scored as an even round. This is at the discretion of the judges.
- If a fighter, during the course of a round, visibly loses control of bodily function (vomit, urine,
feces), the fight shall be stopped by the referee and the fighter shall lose the contest by a
Technical Knockout (TKO) due to Medical Stoppage.
i. In the event a loss of bodily function occurs in the rest period between rounds, the
ringside physician shall be called in to evaluate if the combatant can continue. If the
combatant is not cleared by the ringside physician to continue, that combatant shall lose
by a Technical Knockout (TKO) due to Medical Stoppage.
ii. If fecal matter becomes apparent at any time, the contest shall be halted by the referee, and
the offending combatant shall lose by a Technical Knockout (TKO) due to Medical Stoppage
C. Foul Procedures: If a foul is committed, the referee shall:
- Call Time;
- Check the fouled mixed martial artist’s condition and safety; and
- Assess the foul for potential point(s) deductions and/or time considerations.
- During all time out procedures, there shall be no coaching of a contestant permitted.
D. Time Consideration:
- If a foul to the groin occurs and the competitor is able to continue, the fouled contestant may
have up to five (5) minutes to recover.
- Fighters injured severely enough by a foul to require medical consultation may be given up
to five (5) minutes, at the referee’s discretion, for evaluation by the ringside physician before a
decision to continue is rendered.
- At no time may a referee call a timeout to evaluate the impact of a legal strike, other than
when a laceration is present.
A. Judging Criteria
a. All bouts will be evaluated and scored by a minimum of three (3) judges.
b. The 10 Point Must System will be the standard of scoring about.
i. Under the 10-Point Must Scoring System, 10 points must be awarded to the winner of
the round and nine points or less must be awarded to the loser, except for a rare even
round, which is scored (10-10).
c. Judges shall evaluate Mixed Martial Arts techniques, such as effective
striking/grappling(Plan A), effective aggressiveness(Plan B),and control of the fighting
area(Plan C).Plans B and C are not taken into consideration unless Plan A is weighed as
d. Evaluations shall be made in the specific order in which the techniques appear in
(c)above ,giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking/grappling, and effective
aggressiveness, and control of the fighting area.
e. Effective striking is judged by determining the impact/effect of legal strikes landed by a
contestant solely based on the results of such legal strikes. Effective grappling is assessed by
the successful executions and impactful/effective result(s)coming from: takedown(s),
submission attempt(s), achieving an advantageous position(s) and reversal(s).
f. Effective aggressiveness means aggressively making attempts to finish the fight.
g. Fighting area control is assessed by determining who is dictating the pace, place and
position of the bout.
1.Thefollowing objective scoring criteria shall be utilized by the judges when scoring a round:
(i) Around is to be scored as a 10-10 Round when both contestants have competed for
whatever duration of time in the round and there is no difference or advantage between either
(ii)Around is to be scored as a 10-9 Round when a contestant wins by a close margin; where
the winning fighter lands the better strikes or utilizes effective grappling during the round;
(iii)A round is to be scored as a 10-8 Round when a contestant wins the round by a large
margin by impact, dominance, and duration of striking or grappling in a round.
(iv)A round is to be scored as a 10-7 Round when a contestant is completely dominated by
impact, dominance, and duration of striking or grappling in a round.
- Impact: A judge shall assess if a fighter impacts their opponent significantly in the round, even
though they may not have dominated the action. Impact includes visible evidence such as swelling
and lacerations. Impact shall also be assessed when a fighter’s actions, using striking and/or
grappling, lead to a diminishing of their opponent’s energy, confidence, abilities and spirit. All of these
come as a direct result of impact. When a fighter is impacted by strikes, by lack of control and/or
ability, this can create defining moments in the round and shall be assessed with great value.
- Dominance: As MMA is an offensive based sport, dominance of a round can be seen in striking
when the losing fighter is forced to continually defend, with no counters or reaction taken when
openings present themselves. Dominance in the grappling phase can be seen by fighter staking
dominant positions in the fight and utilizing those positions to attempt fight ending submissions or
attacks. Merely holding a dominant position(s) shall not be a primary factor in assessing dominance.
What the fighter does with those positions is what must be assessed.
- Duration: Duration is defined by the time spent by one fighter effectively attacking, controlling, and
impacting their opponent; while the opponent offers little to no offensive output. A judge shall assess
duration by recognizing the relative time in a round when one fighter takes and maintains full control
of the effective offense. This can be assessed both standing and grounded.
- Scoring of Incomplete Rounds: There should be scoring of incomplete rounds. If the referee
penalizes either contestant, then the appropriate points shall be deducted when the scorekeeper
calculates the final score for the partial round
B. Types of Decisions
a. Submission by:
i. Tap Out: When a contestant physically uses of their body to indicate that he or she no longer
wishes to continue; or
ii. Verbal Tap Out: When a contestant verbally announces or voluntarily/involuntarily screams
in pain or distress to the referee that they do not wish to continue;
iii. Technical Submission: When a legal submission act results in unconsciousness or
b. Technical Knockout (TKO) by:
i. Referee Stoppage: the referee stops the contest because the combatant IS NOT
INTELLIGENTLY DEFENDING HIMSELF/HERSELF;
- Corner Stoppage
- Did Not Answer the Bell
ii. TKO due to Medical Stoppage;
- Doctor Stoppage
- Loss of control of bodily function.
c. Knockout (KO) by:
i. Referee Stoppage: the referee stops the contest because the combatant CANNOT
INTELLIGENTLY DEFEND HIMSELF/HERSELF.
- Due to Strikes
i. When an injury sustained during competition as a result of an intentional foul is severe
enough to terminate the contest, multiple fouls have been assessed, and/or there is flagrant
disregard for the rules and/or referee’s commands.
e. No Contest:
i. When a contestant is prematurely stopped due to accidental injury and a sufficient amount of
time has not been completed to render a decision via the score cards.
i. Unanimous Decision: When all three judges score the bout for the same contestant;
ii. Split Decision: When two judges score the bout for one contestant and one judge scores for
the opponent; or
iii. Majority Decision: When two judges score the bout for the same contestant and one judge
scores a draw;
iv. Technical Decision: When a bout is prematurely stopped due to injury from an accidental
foul and a contestant is leading on the score cards;
i. Unanimous Draw – When all three judges score the bout a draw;
ii. Majority Draw – When two judges score the bout a draw; or
iii. Split Draw – When all three judges score differently and the score total results in a draw;
iv. Technical Draw – When an injury is sustained during competition as a result of an intentional
foul and the bout is allowed to continue, then later the injury requires stoppage from either a
legal or illegal strike to the affected area after ½ of the scheduled rounds, plus one (1) second
has been completed, if the injured contestant is even or behind on the score cards at the time
of stoppage, the decision is a Technical Draw.
Weight Class Weight
Atomweight up to and including 105 lbs.
Straw Weight over 105 to 115 lbs.
Flyweight over 115 to 125 lbs.
Bantamweight over 125 to 135 lbs.
Featherweight over 135 to 145 lbs.
Lightweight over 145 to 155 lbs.
Super Lightweight over 155 to 165 lbs.
Welterweight over 165 to 170 lbs.
Super Welterweight over 170 to 175 lbs.
Middleweight over 175 to 185 lbs.
Super Middleweight over 185 to 195 lbs.
Light Heavyweight over 195 to 205 lbs.
Cruiserweight over 205 to 225 lbs.
Heavyweight over 225 to 265 lbs.
Super Heavyweight over 265 lbs.
a. Allowances within Division: there are no allowance restrictions if both combatants weigh-in
within the same contracted division.
b. Weight Miss Catch Weight: If a person misses the contracted weight and the two competitors are
in different weight classes, the heavier opponent shall not exceed five (5) lbs. of the lower weighing
c. Contracted Catch Weight(s): there is no weight spread allowance between contracted catch
weight fighters, so long as both competitors are below the contracted weight. Commissions may deny
Catch Weight fights if they see the weight differential as a large enough disparity to the safety of
either of the fighters.
*Items that are displayed as Italicized and Underlined are Procedural Recommendations from the
ABC MMA Rules and Regulations Committee, rather than Unified Rules of MMA.
*Items that are underlined and in blue were voted on and approved at the July 2019 ABC Conference
Amateur K1 Bouts
- Amateur K-1 Rules is from 7-8yrs upwards.
- Gala bouts are three or five rounds in duration, with each round lasting Two minutes.
- Head shots are only allowed for 15yrs+
- The match can end by Knockout, Technical Knockout, Decision, Disqualification, Draw or No Contest.
- In bouts consisting of children a level of control is expected and NO child where can be avoided shall be inflicted with blows to the head, which result in KO or potential KO.
- Both the referee and the ring doctor have full authority to stop the fight.
- The fight is scored by three judges on a ten-point must system (The winner of each round receives ten points, and the loser receives nine or less. If the round is even, both competitors receive ten points).
- If there is a draw after three rounds, the judges’ scores are thrown out and one or two rounds are contested. The judges’ decision will then come from the scoring of each extra round only. If, after the extra round(s), there is still a draw, the judges will decide a winner based on the flow of the entire match, considering even the slightest difference. A fight can only end in a draw if both fighters go down at the same time and cannot get up, or in the case of accidental injury in the late stages of the contest.
- The three-knockdown rule is in effect (three knockdowns in a round results in a technical knockout).
- The mandatory eight count is in effect (the referee must count to at least “eight” on all knockdowns).
- The standing eight count is in effect (the referee has the right to declare a knockdown on a fighter who appears to be in a dangerous condition to continue in the match).
- A fighter can be saved by the bell only in the last round.
In K-1 single elimination tournament matches:
- Each match is three rounds in duration.
- The three-knockdown rule becomes a two-knockdown rule for all matches except the final.
- One or two reserve fights are held prior to the single elimination matches. If for any reason a fighter who wins and advances through the brackets is unable to continue, a reserve match competitor, or the fighter’s opponent from the most recent match, takes his place. There are certain exceptions to this rule (i.e. a fighter who lost a match by knockout might not be eligible to replace another fighter).
The following equipment is mandatory:
HEAD-GEAR Head-guards aren’t mandatory for our adult bouts. If both parties agree to wear then this is to be decided at the negotiation stage.
GUM-SHIELDS are required at all levels.
BREAST PROTECTORS are optional but recommended for all ladies.
GLOVES: 10oz Gloves are required
WRAPS Hands may only be wrapped with bandage or cotton handwraps. And only taped with Zinc Oxide tape and must not cover the knuckles. Use of GAFFA style tapes is NOT ALLOWED.
SHORTS Thai shorts or MMA style shorts are allowed.
GROIN-GUARD for males is mandatory. Females is optional
SHIN-INSTEP protectors are also required but must not be ones with metal inserts within them.
ANKLE-SUPPORTS are optional
AUTHORISED FIGHTING TECHNIQUES
The following techniques are authorised:
Punches: Straight punches, hooks, uppercuts.
Kicks: Front kicks, low kicks, middle kicks, high kicks, side kicks, back kicks, inner thigh kicks, jumping kicks, and knee kicks.
The following restrictions apply to the usage of the backspin blow.
When it is evident that the attack was made by an elbow, forearm or glove, the attack is considered a foul In case the referee cannot determine whether the backspin blow was made by any none authorized area or not, the match shall be stopped, and the rules director, supervisor, supervisory staff, and the referee and the judges shall discuss, if necessary. When it is determined that the attack was made by the unauthorized blow, the backspin blow is considered a foul, and the fighter shall be penalised or disqualified at the referee’s discretion.
1. A fighter who executes a foul technique shall be penalized with a “caution”, “warning”, or a “point deduction”. The referee announces a “caution” and “warning” verbally. (2) cautions shall lead to one (1) warning; any warning then on shall be given instead of cautions thereafter. Two (2) warnings shall lead to a one (1) point deduction, and three (3) point deductions in one (1) round shall be grounds for disqualification.
However, this clause shall not apply in cases where the referee rules that the foul technique is unintentional. If the referee judges that the foul technique is malicious or causes significant damage to the opponent, the fighter might be given a point reduction immediately, skipping the order of foul calls.
The following behaviour is considered a foul technique.
1. Using the head to deliver a blow.
2. Using the elbow to deliver a blow.
3. Attacking the opponent in the groin (knee kicking or punching the opponent in the area under the navel shall be considered as low-blows and will be ruled as fouls).
4. Delivering wrestling or judo throwing or submission techniques.
5. Thumbing the opponent
6. Choking and punching the throat of the opponent.
7. Biting the opponent.
8. Attacking the opponent while he is down or in the process of getting up.
9. Attacking the opponent after the referee calls a break.
10. Holding the ropes whether offensively or defensively.
11. Using offensive or insulting language to the referee.
12. Attacking the back of the head with a punch (the side of the head and the area around the ears are not considered as the back of the head and are valid target areas).
13. Attempting to cause the opponent to fall out of the ring.
14. Voluntarily exiting the ring during the course of a match.
15. Attacking the opponent who turned around and showed his back. However, the referee may give a caution, warning or point reduction to the fighter who showed his back as losing his will to fight.
16. Delivering a backspin blow with elbows, forearms or gloves.
A point reduction may be given immediately to a fighter if the referee finds that the foul technique was inflicted with malicious intent.
A caution shall be given to a fighter who repeatedly charges inside the opponent’s arms, with his head held low (i.e. to avoid attack). This shall be considered as inducing a head-butt. In case either of the fighters gets a cut from a head-butt and is bleeding, the fighter who has caused the cut shall receive a one (1) point deduction. However, if the referee finds the head-butt to have been obviously intentional or malicious, a deduction of two (2) points shall be given. If the referee judges the head-butt as accidental, there may not be any point reduction.
A caution, warning, and a point reduction shall be given to a fighter who repeatedly uses holding and clinches that are not accompanied by attacks and are judged as being defensive/passive in nature (ie. to avoid attack). Two (2) cautions will sum up to one (1) warning, and the next caution shall be a deduction of one (1) point. Furthermore, the same applies when grasping and holding the opponent immediately after launching an attack (ie. to avoid a counter-attack.), or falling on the mat intentionally.
A caution, warning, and a reduction of points may be given to the fighter when a fighter is only waiting for a counter blow and is delivering a few attacks and is considered to be passive.
Holding the kicking leg of an opponent is not a foul, but only a single attack, whether a punch or a kick while holding the leg is authorized. Continuous attack while holding a leg is a foul. If a fighter does not take any action while holding the kicking leg, the referee shall call a break. Holding the kicking leg and using a throwing technique is also a foul.
When a fighter is holding the neck of his opponent with both hands, the fighter is limited to kicking or knee kick his opponent to only one time. Therefore, the continuous attack is judged as a foul. Attacking the opponent continuously while holding the neck with one hand is authorized. However, the referee may call a break if the judge the attack does not give any damage to the opponent.
Passive holding or clinching is prohibited. However, the referee can permit it only when it is accompanied by an authorized attack. A fighter can be penalized if he resorts to holding or clinching after an authorized attack or in order to avoid attacks.