Status: @ MMASpot.net
Join Date: Jun 2006
Techniques and strategies
The techniques and strategies of amateur wrestling, submission wrestling and muay thai are usually not used as in the original arts/sports but instead are modified to fulfill the needs of MMA competition. For example, freestyle wrestlers do not need to deal with striking during a takedown attempt, and Muay Thai bouts are broken by the referee if the fighter falls down after a kick that missed the target. This is very different from the situation in MMA competition, and techniques and strategies for MMA competition have to reflect this. Some fighters may substitute one or more of the basic styles mentioned above with judo, sambo, or their own brand of jujitsu or boxing. According to the "phases of combat" theory all phases should be covered to stay competitive and only techniques proven in actual competition should be used. This is a reason why it is quite difficult to find "exotic" styles in fighter's bios now.
Today, Mixed Martial Artists train in a variety of styles so that they can be effective in all phases of combat. Although MMA fighters will try to play to their particular specialties, they will inevitably encounter all kinds of situations; a stand up fighting specialist will probably get taken down at some point and a wrestler might need to fight standing up for a while before he can setup a takedown.
Fighters learn techniques from stand up oriented fighting styles, they learn at least some grappling and they also learn submission techniques and how to defend against them. Boxing, and Muay Thai are the most popular stand up fighting styles because of their proven effectiveness. These styles have to be adapted slightly for use in the sport. For example, many boxing stances are ineffective because they leave fighters vulnerable to leg kicks or takedowns. Stand up oriented fighters must learn how to defend against takedowns so that they can keep the fight standing. Fighters also learn how to effecitvely fight from their backs and to use sumbissions as well as defend against them. Jiu-Jitsu is popular in this area since it is a submission-oriented fighting style.
Conditioning varies among the fighters depending on their particular fighting styles. For example, brute strength and power are more important to wrestlers than they are to kickboxers. All fighters aim to have plenty of stamina so that they can be effective for the entire duration of their matches.
Today, there are many MMA organizations unlike in the past when there was very little MMA-centered infrastructure in place. Fighters usually train with other Mixed Martial Artists and with coaches who specialize in MMA fighting.
The rules for most Mixed Martial Arts competitions have evolved since the "glory days" of Vale tudo. As the knowledge about fighting techniques spread among the athletes and popularity increased among the viewers, it became clear that the original minimalistic rules systems needed to be amended.
There are two main motivations for new rule changes:
Protection of the health of the fighters: This goal also helps to clean the stigma of "barbaric no rules fighting to the death" that MMA has obtained because of its Vale-Tudo roots. It also helps athletes to avoid injuries and therefore train better to become better fighters.
Providing spectacle for the viewers: The rules promote good fighters involved in action-packed fights rather then no-skill bar brawls.
For example weight classes emerged when knowledge about submissions spread and it became more difficult for small fighters to catch larger ones in submissions. When more fighters became well-versed in submission techniques, the weight of the fighters started to make a difference again.
Head butts were prohibited because whenever the fight hit the ground the head butt was a technique that required little effort and could quickly turn the match into a bloody mess. This strategy was quite common between wrestlers because they are strong, and could bring the fight to the ground but lacked experience with submissions and therefore head butting was an easy path to victory.
Although some fighters may have well conditioned fists,others such as grapplers may not. In an unprotected,unconditioned fist there are plenty of small bones to break when a torso or forehead is hit with power. The motivation for mandatory small open finger gloves was to reduce occurrence of cuts and to encourage a fighters to use his hands more for striking as to please the audience.
Time limits were established because of very long fights occurring on the ground with little action. No-time-limit matches complicated the planning of the events as well. Similar motivations produced the "standup" rule, which is when the referee stops the ground fighting and stands both fighters up in case of no action, and a "warning" that could be issued when the fighters hesitate to engage in standup or ground fighting.
In the U.S., Athletic Commissions have played a crucial role in the introduction of safety rules because they oversee MMA in similar ways as they do for boxing. Small shows usually use more restrictive rules because they have less experienced fighters who are looking to get experience and exposure that could ultimately lead them to getting recruited into one of the larger, better paying promotions, (Pride, UFC, Pancrase, KOTC).
In Japan and Europe there is no regulating authority over MMA competitions, so these organizations have more freedom in rules development and event structure.
In general a balanced set of rules has been established, and future rule changes will probably consist of minor adaptation.
The following describes the least common denominator of the rules commonly found in MMA fighting.
Ways to victory
*Submission (A fighter taps either his opponent or the mat three times.)
*Referee Stoppage (If the referee sees that one fighter is completely dominant to the point of endangering his opponent, the referee will stop the match.)
*Doctor Stoppage (In the event that a fighter is injured and cannot continue the match, his opponent will be declared the winner. The ring doctor will be the one to determine whether the fighter can continue or not. In the event that an injury was caused by illegal methods, the perpetrator will be disqualified.)
*Forfeited Match---A fighter's corner throws in the towel.
*Decision (If the match goes the distance, then the outcome of the bout is determined by the three judges. The judging critera are organization specific.)
*Disqualification (A "warning" will be given when a fighter commits an illegal action or does not follow the referee's instruction. Three warnings will result in a disqualification. Also, if a fighter is injured and unable to continue due to a deliberate illegal technique from his opponent, he will be declared the winner.)
*No Contest (In the event that both sides commit a violation of the rules, or a fighter is unable to continue due to an injury from an accidental illegal technique, the bout will be declared a "No Contest.")
Although each organization divides its fighters into weight classes, the details are very organization-dependent.
*No head-butting, eye gouging, hair pulling, biting or fish hooking (pulling at the cheek with a finger).
*No attacking the groin
*No strikes to the back of the head, spinal area and kidneys.
*No strikes to, or grabs of the trachea
*No small joint manipulation (control of four or more fingers/toes is necessary).
*No intentionally throwing your opponent out of the ring.
*No running out of the ring.
*No purposely holding the ring ropes or octagon fence.
Each organization determines its own rules (in accordance with government regulation). Below are some of the significant differences in the rules of the popular MMA organizations.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
*Allows elbow strikes to the head.
*Prohibits dumping a fighter onto his head during takedown or slam.
*Prohibits stomps, soccer kicks and knees to the head of a grounded opponent.
*Uses 3 five-minute rounds. Championship bouts are 5x5 minutes.
*No longer uses a tournament format.
*Has six weight classes: Super Heavyweight (No limit), Heavyweight (<265 lb), Light Heavyweight (<205 lb), Middleweight (<185 lb), Welterweight (<170 lb), and Lightweight (<155 lb)
Pride Fighting Championships
*Uses 10 minute first round with 5 minutes second and third rounds.
*Prohibits elbow strikes to the head.
*Uses tournament format to award Grand Prix champions.
*Has two weight classes: Heavyweight (No limit), and Middleweight (<92 kg).
*'Bushido' series consists of lightweight (<73 kg) and light-middleweight (<83 kg) fighters.
*Uses 3x5 minute rounds.
*Prohibits elbow strikes to the head.
*No weight classes.
*Do not use tournament format as in K-1.
*Uses 2 5-minute rounds.
*Does not use judges. The fight is declared a draw if there is no KO, TKO, Submission.
*Allows elbow and knee strikes only if they are covered by padding.
*Do not allow attacking head with strikes when one fighter is in downed position.
*Uses A, B and C levels fight. The C level is considered for amateurs only.
*Every level has his own rules and restrictions.
*The C level rules require headgear to be worn and prohibit striking to the head on the ground.