“Mixed martial arts” means unarmed combat involving the use, subject to any applicable limitations set forth in these Unified Rules and other regulations of the applicable Commission, of a combination of techniques from different disciplines of the martial arts, including, without limitation, grappling, submission holds, kicking and striking.
“Unarmed Combat” means any form of competition in which a blow is usually struck which may reasonably be expected to inflict injury.
“Unarmed Combatant” means any person who engages in unarmed combat.
“Commission” means the applicable athletic commission or regulatory body overseeing the bouts, exhibitions or competitions of mixed martial arts.
2. Weight Divisions
Except with the approval of the Commission, or its executive director, the classes for mixed martial arts contests or exhibitions and the weights for each class shall be:
Flyweight 125 pounds and under
Bantamweight over 125 to 135 pounds
Women's 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
In non-championship fights, there shall be allowed a 1 pound weigh allowance. In championship fights, the participants must weigh no more than that permitted for the relevant weight division.
The Commission may also approve catch weight bouts, subject to their review and discretion. For example, the Commission may still decide to allow the contest the maximum weight allowed is 177 pounds if it feels that the contest would still be fair, safe and competitive.
In addition, if one athlete weighs 264 pounds while the opponent weighs 267 pounds, the Commission may still decide to allow the contest if it determines that the contest would still be fair, safe and competitive in spite of the fact that the two contestants technically weighed in differing weight classes.
3) RING/FIGHTING AREA REQUIREMENTS AND EQUIPMENT:
A) Mixed martial arts contests and exhibitions may be held in a ring or in a fenced area.
B) A ring used for a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts must meet the following
(i) The ring must be no smaller than 20 feet square and no larger than 32 feet square
within the ropes. One corner shall have a blue designation and the corner directly opposite must
have a red designation.
(ii) The ring floor must extend at least 18 inches beyond the ropes. The ring floor
must be padded with ensolite or similar closed-cell foam, with at least a 1-inch layer of foam
padding. Padding must extend beyond the ring ropes and over the edge of the platform, with a top
covering of canvas, duck or similar material tightly stretched and laced to the ring platform. Material
that tends to gather in lumps or ridges must not be used.
(iii) The ring platform must not be more than 4 feet above the floor of the building
and must have suitable steps for the use of the unarmed combatants.
(iv) Ring posts must be made of metal, not more than 3 inches in diameter, extending
from the floor of the building to a minimum height of 58 inches above the ring floor, and must be
properly padded in a manner approved by the Commission. Ring posts must be at least 18 inches
away from the ring ropes.
(v) There must be five ring ropes, not less than 1 inch in diameter and wrapped in soft
material. The lowest ring rope must be 12 inches above the ring floor.
(vi) There must not be any obstruction or object, including, without limitation, a
triangular border, on any part of the ring floor.
C) A fenced area used in a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts must meet the
(i) The fenced area must be circular or have at least six equal sides and must be no
smaller than 20 feet wide and no larger than 32 feet wide.
(ii) The floor of the fenced area must be padded with ensolite or another similar
closed-cell foam, with at least a 1-inch layer of foam padding, with a top covering of canvas, duck or
similar material tightly stretched and laced to the platform of the fenced area. Material that tends to
gather in lumps or ridges must not be used.
(iii) The platform of the fenced area must not be more than 4 feet above the floor of
the building and must have suitable steps for the use of the unarmed combatants.
(iv) Fence posts must be made of metal, not more than 6 inches in diameter,
extending from the floor of the building to a minimum height of 58 inches above the floor of the
fenced area, and must be properly padded in a manner approved by the Commission.
(v) The fencing used to enclose the fenced area must be made of a material that will
prevent an unarmed combatant from falling out of the fenced area or breaking through the fenced
area onto the floor of the building or onto the spectators, including, without limitation, chain link
fence coated with vinyl.
(vi) Any metal portion of the fenced area must be covered and padded in a manner
approved by the Commission and must not be abrasive to the unarmed combatants.
(vii) The fenced area must have two entrances.
(viii) There must not be any obstruction on any part of the fence surrounding the area
in which the unarmed combatants are to be competing.
A) A stool of a type approved by the Commission shall be available for each
B) An appropriate number of stools or chairs, of a type approved by the Commission,
shall be available for each contestant’s seconds. Such stools or chairs shall be located near each
contestant’s corner for use outside of the fighting area.
C) All stools and chairs used must be thoroughly cleaned or replaced after the
conclusion of each bout.
For each bout, the promoter shall provide a clean water bucket, a clean plastic water
bottle, and any other supplies as directed by the Commission, in each corner.
6) SPECIFICATIONS FOR HANDWRAPPING:
A) In all weight classes, the bandages on each contestant’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.
B) 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.
C) The bandages shall be evenly distributed across the hand.
D) Bandages and tape shall be placed on the contestant’s hands in the dressing room
in the presence of the Commission and in the presence of the manager or chief second of his or
E) Under no circumstances are gloves to be placed on the hands of a contestant until
the approval of the Commission is received.
A) All contestants are required to wear a mouthpiece during competition. The
mouthpiece shall be subject to examination and approval by the attending physician.
B) The round cannot begin without the mouthpiece in place.
C) 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.
8) PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT:
A) Male mixed martial artists shall wear a groin protector of their own selection, of a
type approved by the Commissioner.
B) Female mixed martial artists are prohibited from wearing groin protectors.
C) Female mixed martial artists shall wear a chest protector during competition. The
chest protector shall be subject to approval of the Commissioner.
A) All contestants shall wear glove which are at least 4 ounces and are approved by
the Commission. Generally, gloves should not weigh more than 6 ounces without the approval of
the Commission. Certain larger sized gloves, e.g. 2 XL – 4 XL, may be allowed even though
they may slightly exceed 6 ounces.
B) Gloves should be supplied by the promoter and approved by the Commission. No
contestant shall supply their own gloves for participation.
A) Each contestant shall wear mixed martial arts shorts (board shorts), biking shorts
(vale tudo shorts), kick-boxing shorts or other shorts approved by the Commission.
B) Gi’s or shirts are prohibited during competition except that female contestant’s
musts wear shirts approved by the Commission.
C) Shoes and any type of padding on the feet are prohibited during competition.
A) Each unarmed combatant must be clean and present a tidy appearance.
B) The excessive use of grease or any other foreign substance may not be used on the
face or body of an unarmed combatant. The referees or the Commission shall cause any excessive
grease or foreign substance to be removed.
C) The Commission shall determine whether head or facial hair presents any hazard to
the safety of the unarmed combatant or his opponent or will interfere with the supervision and
conduct of the contest or exhibition. If the head or facial hair of an unarmed combatant presents such
a hazard or will interfere with the supervision and conduct of the contest or exhibition, the unarmed
combatant may not compete in the contest or exhibition unless the circumstances creating the hazard
or potential interference are corrected to the satisfaction of the Commission.
D) An unarmed combatant may not wear any jewelry or other piercing accessories while
competing in the contest or exhibition.
12) ROUND LENGTH:
A) Each non-championship mixed martial arts 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.
B) Each championship mixed martial arts 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.
13) STOPPING CONTEST:
A) 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 Commission
with respect to the decision to stop a contest.
B) The referee and the ringside physician are the only individuals authorized to enter
the ring/fighting area at any time during competition other than the rest periods and subsequent to
the contest ending.
A) All bouts will be evaluated and scored by 3 judges who shall evaluate the contest
from different location around the ring/fighting area. The referee may not be one of the 3 judges.
B) 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, except for a rare even round, which is scored (10-10).
C) Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking,
effective grappling, control of the ring/fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense.
D) 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
fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense.
E) Effective striking is judged by determining the total number of legal strikes landed
by a contestant.
F) 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.
G) Fighting area 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
H) Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike.
I) Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while
countering with offensive attacks.
J) The following objective scoring criteria shall be utilized by the judges when
scoring a round;
i) a round is to be scored as a 10-10 round when both contestants appear to be
fighting evenly and neither contestant shows clear dominance in a round;
ii) 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;
iii) a round is to be scored as a 10-8 round when a contestant overwhelmingly
dominates by striking or grappling in a round.
iv) a round is to be scored as a 10-7 round when a contestant totally dominates by
striking or grappling in a round.
K) Judges shall use a sliding scale and recognize the length of time the fighters are
either standing or on the ground, as follows:
i) If the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round on the canvas, then:
a. Effective grappling is weighed first; and
b. Effective striking is then weighed
ii) If the mixed martial artists spent a majority of a round standing, then:
a. Effective striking is weighed first; and
b. Effective grappling is then weighed
iii) If a round ends with a relatively even amount of standing and canvas fighting,
striking and grappling are weighed equally.
A) The following acts constitute fouls in a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts
and may result in penalties, at the discretion of the referee, if committed:
1) Butting with the head
2) Eye gouging of any kind
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 fenced ring/fighting area
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 ring/fighting area
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
B) Disqualification may occur after any combination of fouls or after a flagrant foul
at the discretion of the referee.
C) 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.
D) 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.
E) If a foul is committed:
i) The referee shall call timeout.
ii) The referee shall order the offending contestant to a neutral location.
iii) The referee shall check the fouled contestant’s condition and safety.
iv) 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.
F) If a bottom contestant commits a foul, unless the top contestant is injured, the
contest will continue and:
i) The referee will verbally notify the bottom contestant of the foul.
ii) When the round is over, the referee will assess the foul and notify the
commission, the corners, the judges and the official scorekeeper.
iii) 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
G) Low Blow Foul:
i) 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.
ii) 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.
iii) 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. See Section 16 below.
H) Fighter Fouled by other than low blow:
i) If a contest of mixed martial arts is stopped because of an accidental foul,
the referee shall determine whether the unarmed combatant who has been fouled can continue or
not. If the unarmed combatant'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 unarmed
combatant who has been fouled, the referee may order the contest or exhibition continued after a
recuperative interval of not more than 5 minutes. Immediately after separating the unarmed
combatants, the referee shall inform the Commission's representative of his determination that
the foul was accidental.
ii) 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
iii) 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.
iv) 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.
16) INJURIES SUSTAINED BY FAIR BLOWS AND FOULS:
A) 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.
B) 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.
C) 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.
D) 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.
E) 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.
F) 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.
G) 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.
H) Incomplete rounds should be scored utilizing the same criteria as the scoring of
other rounds up to the point said incomplete round is stopped.
17) TYPES OF CONTEST RESULTS:
A) Submission by:
i) Physical Tap Out
ii) Verbal tap out
B) Knockout by:
i) when Referee stops the contest (TKO)
ii) when an injury as a result of a legal maneuver is sever enough to terminate
a bout (TKO)
iii) when contestant being rendered unconscious due strikes or kicks (KO)
C) Decision via the scorecards, including:
i) Unanimous Decision - When all three judges score the contest for the
ii) Split Decision - When two judges score the contest for one contestant and
one judge scores for the opponent
iii) Majority Decision - When two judges score the contest for the same
contestant and one judge scores a draw
iv) Draws, including:
a) 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
F) Technical Draw
G) Technical Decision
H) No Decision