Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Two Major Changes Made To MMA’s Unified Rules

MMA’s unified rules are getting a pair of changes that will go into effect immediately following a recent commission conference.

The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) held its annual conference in Niagara Falls, NY this week. During the conference, the association passed two significant rule changes that will impact some fights going forward.

The conference also featured judging and refereeing courses led by instructors Kevin MacDonald, Blake Grice, and Sal D’Amato. Other issues such as open scoring and fighter safety were also discussed.

Here are the two rule changes that will be implemented immediately.

Fighters Will Be Allowed Five Minutes For Eye Poke Recovery

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MMA fighters will now have time on their side in the event of an eye poke during a fight. Fighters will now get up to five minutes to recover from their injury before the referee and doctor decide whether the fight will continue.

The new eye poke rule will mirror the current groin-strike rule, which also allows fighters up to five minutes to recover. The five-minute allocation is not required to be used fully and it would be up to the discretion of the fighter.

Eye pokes have become more prominent in recent years, specifically in the Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier trilogy fight at UFC 252 and most recently with Pedro Munhoz vs. Sean O’Malley at UFC 276.

Neoprene-Type Sleeves To Cover Knee, Ankle Joints Are Now Allowed

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Neoprene sleeves will be allowed for MMA fighters to use after the second rule change was passed unanimously. This comes after UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou wore a knee sleeve during his fight with Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 following a camp injury.

Neoprene is among the first synthetic rubber products ever made and is stronger and harder than regular rubber. It is also more resistant to water and oils.

The exact language of the rule is as follows; as reported by MMA Junkie.

“‘A competitor may use soft neoprene-type sleeves to cover only the knee or ankle joints. Approved sleeves may not have padding, velcro, plastic, metal, ties, or any materials considered to be unsafe or that may create an unfair advantage. Neoprene sleeves are not considered equipment or clothing and may not be grabbed advantageously inside or as clothing can be grabbed by self. Tape and gauze or any materials other than the approved sleeves are not permitted on the lower body. The sleeves must be black in color with the exception of matching the athlete’s commission-assigned corners with the sleeves being blue or red or colored as appropriate.”

Both rule changes were passed in a unanimous vote by ABC.

Do you agree with the two MMA rules changes?

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