TKO MMA RULES AND OTHER IMPORTANT REGULATIONS OF MIXED MARTIAL ARTS

WEIGHT DIVISIONS:

  • STRAWEIGHT: 115 lbs
  • FLYWEIGHT: 125 lbs
  • BANTAMWEIGHT: 135 lbs
  • FEATHERWEIGHT: 145 lbs
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: 155 lbs
  • WELTERWEIGHT: 170 lbs
  • MIDDLEWEIGHT: 185 lbs
  • LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT: 205 lbs
  • HEAVYWEIGHTS: 265 lbs

In non-championship fights, there shall be allowed a 1 pound weigh allowance. In championship fights, the athletes must weigh no more than that permitted for the relevant weight division.

The organization may approve catchweight bouts, subject to review and discretion from the athletic commission. Except in the heavyweight division there can’t be a weight difference of more than 15 lbs between competitors.

ROUNDS:

  1. Each non-championship MMA contest is to be for 3 rounds, each round no more than 5 minutes duration, with a rest period of 1 minute between each round.
  2. Each championship MMA contest is to be for 5 rounds, each round no more than 5 minutes duration, with a rest period of 1 minute between each round.

STOPPING CONTEST:

  1. The referee is the sole arbiter of a contest and is the only individual authorized to stop a contest. The referee may take advice from the ringside physician and/or the athletic commission with respect to the decision to stop a contest.
  2. The referee and the ringside physician are the only individuals authorized to enter the cage at any time during competition other than the rest periods and subsequent to the contest ending.

FOULS

  1. The following acts constitute fouls in MMA and may result in penalties, at the discretion of the referee, if committed:
    1. Butting with the head
    2. Eye gouging of any kind
    3. Biting
    4. Spitting at an opponent
    5. Hair pulling
    6. Fish hooking
    7. Groin attacks of any kind
    8. Putting a finger into any orifice or any cut or laceration of an opponent
    9. Small joint manipulation
    10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow
    11. Striking to the spine or the back of the head
    12. Kicking to the kidney with a heel
    13. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea
    14. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
    15. Grabbing the clavicle
    16. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
    17. Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent
    18. Stomping a grounded opponent
    19. Holding the fence
    20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
    21. Using abusive language in the cage
    22. Engaging in any unsportsmanlike conduct that causes injury to an opponent
    23. Attacking an opponent on or during the break
    24. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
    25. Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the round
    26. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury
    27. Throwing opponent out of the cage
    28. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee
    29. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck
    30. Interference by the corner
    31. Applying any foreign substance to the hair or body to gain an advantage
  2. Disqualification may occur after any combination of fouls or after a flagrant foul at the discretion of the referee.
  3. Fouls may result in a point being deducted by the official scorekeeper from the offending contestant’s score. The scorekeeper, not the judges, will be responsible for calculating the true score after factoring in the point deduction.
  4. Only a referee can assess a foul. If the referee does not call the foul, judges must not make that assessment on their own and should not factor such into their scoring calculations.
  5. If a foul is committed:
    1. The referee shall call timeout.
    2. The referee shall order the offending contestant to a neutral location.
    3. The referee shall check the fouled contestant’s condition and safety.
    4. The referee shall then assess the foul to the offending contestant and deduct points if the referee deems it appropriate, and notify the commission, the corners, the official  scorekeeper of his decision on whether the foul was accidental or intentional and whether a point is to be taken away.
  6. If a bottom contestant commits a foul, unless the top contestant is injured, the contest will continue and:
    1. The referee will verbally notify the bottom contestant of the foul.
    2. When the round is over, the referee will assess the foul and notify the athletic commission, the corners, the judges and the official scorekeeper.
    3. The referee may terminate a contest based on the severity of a foul. For such a flagrant foul, the contestant committing the foul shall lose by disqualification.
  7. Low Blow Foul:
    1. A fighter who has been struck with a low blow is allowed up to 5 minutes to recover from the foul as long as in the ringside doctor’s opinion the fighter may possibly continue on in  the contest.
    2. If the fighter states that they can continue on before the five minutes of time have expired, the referee shall, as soon as practical, restart the fight.
    3. If the fighter goes over the 5 minute time allotment, and the fight cannot be restarted, the contest must come to an end with the outcome determined by the round and time in which  the fight was stopped.
  8. Fighter Fouled by other than low blow:
    1. If a MMA contest is stopped because of an accidental foul, the referee shall determine whether the contestant who has been fouled can continue or not. If the contestant’s chance of  winning has not been seriously jeopardized as a result of the foul and if the foul did not involve a concussive impact to the head of the contestant who has been fouled, the referee  may order the contest continued after a recuperative interval of not more than 5 minutes. Immediately after separating the contestants, the referee shall inform the athletic  commission’s representative of his determination that the foul was accidental.
    2. If a fighter is fouled by blow that the referee deems illegal, the referee should stop the action and call for time. The referee may take the injured fighter to the ringside doctor and  have the ringside doctor examine the fighter as to their ability to continue on in the contest. The ringside doctor has up to 5 minutes to make their determination. If the ringside doctor  determines that the fighter can continue in the contest, the referee shall as soon as practical restart the fight. Unlike the low blow foul rule, the fighter does not have up to 5 minutes of  time to use, at their discretion, and must continue the fight when instructed to by the referee.
    3. For a foul other than a low blow, if the injured fighter is deemed not fit to continue, by the referee, the referee must immediately call a halt to the bout. If the fighter is deemed not fit  to continue, by the referee, even though some of the 5 minute foul time is still remaining, the fighter cannot avail himself of the remaining time and the fight must be stopped.
    4. If the referee stops the contest and employs the use of the ringside doctor, the ringside physician’s examinations shall not exceed 5 minutes. If 5 minutes is exceeded, the fight  cannot be re-started and the contest must end.

INJURIES SUSTAINED BY FAIR BLOWS AND FOULS

  1. If an injury sustained during competition as a result of a legal maneuver is severe enough to terminate a bout, the injured contestant loses by technical knockout.
  2. If an injury sustained during competition as a result of an intentional foul, as determined by the referee, is severe enough to terminate a bout, the contestant causing the injury loses by disqualification.
  3. If an injury is sustained during competition as a result of an intentional foul, as determined by the referee, and the bout is allowed to continue, the referee shall notify the scorekeeper to automatically deduct two points from the contestant who committed the foul.
  4. If an injury sustained during competition as a result of an intentional foul, as determined by the referee, causes the injured contestant to be unable to continue at a subsequent point in the contest, the injured contestant shall win by technical decision, if he or she is ahead on the score cards. If the injured contestant is even or behind on the score cards at the time of stoppage, the outcome of the bout shall be declared a technical draw.
  5. If a contestant injures himself or herself while attempting to foul his or her opponent, the referee shall not take any action in his or her favor, and the injury shall be treated in the same manner as an injury produced by a fair blow.
  6. If an injury sustained during competition as a result of an accidental foul, as determined by the referee, is severe enough for the referee to stop the bout immediately, the bout shall result in a no contest if stopped before two rounds have been completed in a three round bout or if stopped before three rounds have been completed in a five round bout.
  7. If an injury sustained during competition as a result of an accidental foul, as determined by the referee, is severe enough for the referee to stop the bout immediately, the bout shall result in a technical decision awarded to the contestant who is ahead on the score cards at the time the bout is stopped only when the bout is stopped after two rounds of a three round bout, or three rounds of a five round bout have been completed.
  8. Incomplete rounds should be scored utilizing the same criteria as the scoring of other rounds up to the point said incomplete round is stopped.

TYPES OF CONTEST RESULTS

  1. Submission by:
    1. Physical Tap Out
    2. Verbal tap out
  2. Knockout by:
    1. when Referee stops the contest (Technical Knockout – TKO)
    2. when an injury as a result of a legal maneuver is sever enough to terminate a bout (Technical Knockout – TKO)
    3. when contestant being rendered unconscious due strikes or kicks (KO)
  3. Decision via the scorecards, including:
    1. Unanimous Decision – When all three judges score the contest for the same contestant
    2. Split Decision – When two judges score the contest for one contestant and one judge scores for the opponent
    3. Majority Decision – When two judges score the contest for the same contestant and one judge scores a draw
    4. Draws, including:
      1. Unanimous Draw – When all three judges score the contest a draw
      2. Majority Draw – When two judges score the contest a draw
      3. Split Draw – When all three judges score differently
      4. Disqualification
      5. Forfeit

JUDGING:

  1. All bouts will be evaluated and scored by 3 judges who shall evaluate the contest from different location around the cage. The referee may not be one of the 3 judges.
  2. The “10-Point Must System” will be the standard system of scoring a bout. Under the 10-Point Must Scoring System, 10 points must be awarded to the winner of the round and 9 points or less must be awarded to the loser.
  3. Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the cage, effective aggressiveness and defense.
  4. Evaluations shall be made in the order in which the techniques appear in (c) above, giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the cage and effective aggressiveness and defense.
  5. Effective striking is judged by determining the total number of legal strikes landed by a contestant.
  6. Effective grappling is judged by considering the amount of successful executions of a legal takedown and reversals. Examples of factors to consider are take downs from standing position to mount position, passing the guard to mount position, and bottom position fighters using an active threatening guard.
  7. Cage control is judged by determining who is dictating the pace, location and position of the bout. Examples of factors to consider are countering a grappler’s attempt at takedown by remaining standing and legally striking, taking down an opponent to force a ground fight, creating threatening submission attempts, passing the guard to achieve mount, and creating striking opportunities.
  8. Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike.
  9. Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks.
  10. The following objective scoring criteria shall be utilized by the judges when scoring a round;
    1. a round is to be scored as a 10-9 round when a contestant wins by a close margin, landing the greater number of effective legal strikes, grappling and other maneuvers;
    2. a round is to be scored as a 10-8 round when a contestant overwhelmingly dominates by striking or grappling in a round;
    3. a round is to be scored as a 10-7 round when a contestant totally dominates by striking or grappling in a round.
  11. Judges shall use a sliding scale and recognize the length of time the athletes are either standing or on the ground, as follows:
    1. If the athlete spent a majority of a round on the canvas, then:
      1. Effective grappling is weighed first; and
      2. Effective striking is then weighed
    2. If the athlete spent a majority of a round standing, then:
      1. Effective striking is weighed first; and
      2. Effective grappling is then weighed
    3. If a round ends with a relatively even amount of standing and canvas fighting, striking and grappling are weighed equally.

GLOVES:

The gloves used in TKO MMA competition are official professional MMA gloves that can weight anywhere between 4.5 ounces and 6.0 ounces depending on the size of the gloves (medium, large or extra-large).

All athletes shall wear gloves which are at least 4.5 oz. and are approved by the Commission. Generally, gloves should not weigh more than 6 ounces. Certain larger sized gloves, e.g. 2 XL – 4 XL, may be allowed even though they may slightly exceed 6 ounces.

HANDWRAPPING:

  1. In all weight classes, the bandages on each athlete’s hand shall be restricted to soft gauze cloth of not more than 15 yards in length and two inches in width, held in place by not more than 10 feet of surgeon’s tape, one inch in width, for each hand.
  2. Surgeon’s adhesive tape shall be placed directly on each hand for protection near the wrist. The tape may cross the back of the hand twice and extend to cover and protect the knuckles when the hand is clenched to make a fist.
  3. The bandages shall be evenly distributed across the hand.
  4. Bandages and tape shall be placed on the athlete’s hands in the dressing room in the presence of the athletic commission and in the presence of the manager or chief second of his or her opponent.
  5. Under no circumstances are gloves to be placed on the hands of a contestant until the approval of the athletic commission is received.

MOUTHPIECES:

  1. All athletes are required to wear a mouthpiece during competition. The mouthpiece shall be subject to examination and approval by the attending physician.
  2. The round cannot begin without the mouthpiece in place.
  3. If the mouthpiece is involuntarily dislodged during competition, the referee shall call time, clean the mouthpiece, and reinsert the mouthpiece at the first opportune moment without interfering with the immediate action.

PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT:

  1. Male athletes shall wear a groin protector of their own selection, of a type approved by the athletic commission.
  2. Female athletes are prohibited from wearing groin protectors.
  3. Female athletes shall wear a chest protector during competition. The chest protector shall be subject to approval of the athletic commission.

APPAREL:

  1. Each athlete shall wear MMA shorts (board shorts), biking shorts (vale tudo shorts), kick-boxing shorts or other shorts approved by the organization and the athletic commission.
  2. Gi’s or shirts are prohibited during competition except that female athlete’s must wear shirts approved by the organization and the athletic commission.
  3. Shoes and any type of padding on the feet are prohibited during competition.
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