Discussion and Review of

On July 30, 2009, A motion was made by Bill Colbert, (UT) at the annual meeting of the Association of Boxing Commissions to adopt these rule as the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts with the understanding that any commission can require them more stringent. Motion was seconded by Joel Campuzano, (IL) Motion Pass Unanimously.


Presented to the Association of Boxing Commissions
July 30, 2009, New Orleans, LA
Submitted By:
Committee Chair Nick Lembo, New Jersey
Jim Erickson, Mille Lacs
Andy Foster, Georgia
Dale Kliparchuk, River Cree
Keith Kizer, Nevada
Josef Mason , Colorado
Mike Mazzulli, Mohegan Sun
Bernie Profato, Ohio
On behalf of ABC President Tim Lueckenhoff, Missouri


ABC Montreal 2008

At this convention, a document proposing amendments to the Unified Rules was

released to the membership. This document included controversial topics such as drastic weight class changes and liberalizing permissible elbow strikes, among other changes. After the conclusion of the convention, the ABC’s President, Tim Lueckenhoff, formed this Committee to review the original unified rules and the amendments proposed in Montreal.

This Committee shared information and held several phone conferences since last year. The Committee obtained over one hundred pages of comments from various officials, promoters, match makers, managers, trainers, fighters, sanctioning groups, media, fans and others. Notice of the ability to comment was directed to over 30 mixed martial arts related media outlets and direct invitations to comment were sent to over 350 individuals in the industry. A list of those who commented can be found near the conclusion of this document. Sincere thanks to all who commented and assisted us in this review.




Weight Classes

The Committee recommends that the weight classes should remain unchanged.
The Committee found no reason, at this time, to add more weight classes.
The generally accepted weight classes in mixed martial arts are:

Flyweight up to 125 lbs.
Bantamweight over 125 to 135 lbs.
Featherweight over 135 to 145 lbs.
Lightweight over 145 to 155 lbs.
Welterweight over 155 to 170 lbs.
Middleweight over 170 to 185 lbs.
Light Heavyweight over 185 to 205 lbs.
Heavyweight over 205 to 265 lbs.
Super Heavyweight over 265 lbs.

It is recommended that the unwritten custom of the one pound allowance for non-title bouts be continued, but only if provided for in the written bout contract or by regulation.

Commissions may also approve catch weight bouts, subject to their review and discretion. For example, the Commission may still decide to allow the contest if it feels that the contest would still be fair, safe and competitive if a set catch weight is set in advance at 163 pounds, for example.

In addition, if one athlete weighs in at 264 pounds while the opponent weighs in at 267, the Commission may still decide to allow the contest if it feels that the contest would still be fair and competitive. This would be despite the fact that the two athletes weighed in at differing weight classes.

Commissions should establish and make known to promoters the maximum allowable weight differences for contestants for each weight class.


Training for Referees and Judges

The Committee suggests that parties who hold training courses to educate current or prospective mixed martial arts judges and/or referees, submit their full course training materials to this specific ABC Committee for our review and comment. Upon approval of a submitted course curriculum, this Committee will notify the ABC President as to which courses have been reviewed and approved. The ABC President can then list on its website or issue a press release noting that a course has been reviewed and endorsed by the ABC.

The Committee strongly suggests that each Commission utilize properly trained mixed martial arts judges and referees and continually evaluate their performances and competency. In addition, post-event performance reviews should be conducted and training and review courses should be regularly held for all officials, including inspectors.

Training should include comprehensive discussions surrounding what constitutes a 10-8 round while also noting that 10-10 rounds are available under the current scoring criteria.



All mixed martial arts contestants shall be required to gauze and tape their hands prior to all contests. In all weight classes, the bandages on each contestant’s hand shall be restricted to soft gauze cloth 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. Surgeon’s adhesive tape shall be placed directly on each hand for protection near the wrist. However, as opposed to boxing wraps, 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. The bandages shall be evenly distributed across the hand. Bandages and tape shall be placed on the contestant’s hands in the dressing room in the presence of the inspector and, if warranted, in the presence of the manager or chief second of his or her opponent.

Under no circumstances are gloves to be placed on the hands of a contestant until the approval of the inspector is received. Substances other than tape and gauze shall not be utilized. For example, prewraps should not be used.



Females competitors should be allowed to compete in five minute rounds, three rounds for non-title bouts and five rounds for title bouts.



All contestants shall wear glove which are at least 4 ounces and are approved by the Commission. The language should not place a limit on 6 ounce gloves. The discussion by the group was prompted by the introduction of triple XL or five XL gloves which, due to the additional material, may weigh over 6 ounces.

Gloves should be supplied by the promoter and approved by the commission. No contestant shall supply their own gloves for participation.


Use of Vaseline and other similar substances

Due to the Penn-St. Pierre matter, the group discussed the application of any substance to the hair or body which could result in an advantage. Absolutely “no” body grease, gels, balms, lotions oils, or other substances may be applied to the hair, face or body. This includes the use of excessive amounts of water “dumped” on a contestant to make him/her slippery. However, Vaseline may be applied solely to the facial area at cage side or ringside in the presence of an inspector, referee, or a person designated by the commission. Any contestant applying anything other than Vaseline in an approved fashion at the appropriate time could be penalized a point or subject to loss by disqualification.


Linear Knee Strikes

After a discussion prompted by the Silva-Leites bout, the Committee reviewed the issue of linear strikes to the knee joint and agreed that this technique should remain a legal technique.


Standing Foot Stomps-

This should remain a legal technique.


Downward Pointed Elbow Strikes

The Committee agrees that ceiling to floor or 12 to 6 elbow strikes should continue to be prohibited maneuvers.


Illegal Strikes to the Back of the Head

The Committee has found a compromise between the Mohawk definition and the headphones definition. The Committee recommends a nape of the neck definition. Basically, the group concluded that a strike that touches the ear is generally acceptable. Strikes are not permissible in the nape of the neck area up until the top of the ears. Above the ears, permissible strikes do not include the Mohawk area from the top of the ears up until the crown of the head. The crown of the head is found where the head begins to curve. In other words, strikes behind the crown of the head and above the ears are not permissible within the Mohawk area. Strikes below the top of the ear are not permissible within the nape of the neck area.


Knees to the head of a grounded fighter

The entire Committee believes that this maneuver should continue to remain as a foul.


Double Knockout Situations

The referee shall stop a contest or exhibition of unarmed combat at any stage if the referee determines that both unarmed combatants are in such a condition that to continue might subject the unarmed combatants to serious injury. If a contest or exhibition is stopped pursuant to this subsection, the decision shall be deemed to be a technical draw.


Fighter Appearance

It is recommended that a Commission inspector or referee bring a clipper and a file to each event and check the fingernail length of all contestants.



   *Note – please see ABC Documents – Unified Rules for MMA Judging Criteria For updated MMA scoring criteria

The Committee maintains that the 10 point must system is still the preferred scoring method at this time. The 10 point must system is defined as follows:

All bouts will be evaluated and scored by three judges. 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 nine points or less must be awarded to the loser, except for an even round, which is scored (10-10).

Judges shall evaluate mixed martial arts techniques, such as effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area, effective aggressiveness and defense. Evaluations shall be made in the order in which the techniques appear, giving the most weight in scoring to effective striking, effective grappling, control of the fighting area and effective aggressiveness and defense. Effective striking is judged by determining the number of legal strikes landed by a contestant and the significance of such legal strikes.

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.

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 striking opportunities.

Effective aggressiveness means moving forward and landing a legal strike or takedown.

Effective defense means avoiding being struck, taken down or reversed while countering with offensive attacks.

The following objective scoring criteria shall be utilized by the judges when scoring a round;

1. A round is to be scored as a 10-10 Round when both contestants appear to be fighting evenly and neither contestant shows dominance in a round;

2. 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;

3. A round is to be scored as a 10-8 Round when a contestant overwhelmingly dominates by striking or grappling in a round.

4. A round is to be scored as a 10-7 Round when a contestant totally dominates by striking or grappling in a round.


Fouls- (with explanations where warranted)

The following are fouls and will result in penalties if committed:

1. Holding or grabbing the fence;

A fighter may put their hands on the fence and push off of it at anytime. 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 the ring ropes at any time. If a fighter is caught holding the fence, cage or ring rope material the referee shall issue a one-point deduction from the offending fighters scorecard if the foul caused a substantial change in position such as the avoidance of a takedown 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

2. Holding opponent’s shorts or gloves;

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

3. Butting with the head;

Any use of the head as a striking instrument whether head to head, head to body or otherwise is illegal.

4. Eye gouging of any kind;

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.

5. Biting or Spitting at an opponent;

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.

6. Hair pulling;

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.

7. Fish Hooking.

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.

8. Groin attacks of any kind.

Any attack to the groin area including, striking, grabbing, pinching or twisting is illegal

9. Intentionally placing a finger into any orifice, or into any cut or laceration of your opponent.

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.

10. Downward pointing of elbow strikes;

The Committee agrees that ceiling to floor or 12 to 6 elbow strikes should continue to be prohibited maneuvers.

11. Small joint manipulation.

Fingers and Toes are small joints. Wrists, Ankles, Knees, Shoulders and Elbows are all large joints.

12. Strikes to the spine or the back of the head

Strikes behind the crown of the head and above the ears are not permissible within the Mohawk area. Strikes below the top of the ear are not permissible within the nape of the neck area.

13. Heel kicks to the kidney

14. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea.

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.

15. Clawing, pinching, twisting the flesh or grabbing the clavicle

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. Any manipulation of the clavicle is a foul.

16. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.

A grounded opponent is any fighter who has more than just the soles of their feet on the ground. (i.e. could have one shin or one finger down to be considered a downed fighter) If the referee determines that a fighter would be a grounded fighter but is not solely because the ring ropes or cage fence has held fighter from the ground, the referee can instruct the combatants that he is treating the fighter held up solely by the cage or ropes as a grounded fighter

17. Kneeing the Head of a grounded opponent

A grounded opponent is any fighter who has more than just the soles of their feet on the ground. If the referee determines that a fighter would be a grounded fighter but is not solely because the ring ropes or cage fence has held fighter from the ground, the referee can instruct the combatants that he is treating the fighter held up solely by the cage or ropes as a grounded fighter.

18. Stomping of a grounded fighter

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 or heel . (Note) Axe kicks are not stomps. Standing foot stops are NOT a foul. As such, this foul does not include stomping the feet of a standing fighter.

19. The use of abusive language in the fighting area

20. Any unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to opponent

21. Attacking an opponent on or during the break.

A fighter shall not engage their opponent in any fashion during a time-out or break of action in competition

22. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.

23. Timidity (avoiding contact, or consistently dropping the mouthpiece, or faking an injury

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 the fight

24. Interference from a mixed martial artists seconds

Interference is defined as any action or activity aimed at disrupting the fight or causing an unfair advantage to be given to one combatant. Corners are not allowed to distract the referee or influence the actions of the referee in any fashion.

25. Throwing an opponent out of the ring or caged area.

A fighter shall not throw their opponent out of the ring or cage.

26. Flagrant disregard of the referee’s instructions

A fighter MUST follow the instructions of the referee at all times. Any deviation or non-compliance may result in the fighter’s disqualification

27.. Spiking the opponent to the canvas onto the head or neck (pile-driving)

A pile driver is considered to be any throw where you control your opponent’s body placing his feet straight up in the air with his head straight down and then forcibly drive your 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 opponents body. The fighter who is attempting the submission can either adjust their position, or let go of their hold before being slammed to the canvas.

*** This is crucial that referees are properly advised and trained and that the fighters fully understand this at the rules meeting ***

28. Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the period of unarmed combat


REMOVED AS A FOUL- Throwing in the towel during competition

A fighter’s corner, at the Commission’s discretion, should have the option to retire his fighter in the quickest and most efficient manner possible, during competition. A corner person having worked alongside a fighter may recognize and accept what their fighter’s capabilities are from past experience. It makes sense from a safety perspective to allow a corner to retire the fighter. If there is consideration that debris in the form of a towel entering the ring or cage may contribute to a disruption or confusion in the contest, then colored towels or special towels might be a consideration to be used.

Scoring the foul to be performed by the Scorekeeper

Fouls may result in a point being deducted by the official scorekeeper from the offending mixed martial artist’s score. The scorekeeper, not the judges, will be responsible for calculating the true score after factoring in the point deduction.

Only a referee can assess a foul. If the referee does not call the foul, judges shall not make that assessment on their own and cannot factor such into their scoring calculations.


Foul Procedures

If a foul is committed, the referee shall:

1. call time;

2. check the fouled mixed martial artist’s condition and safety; and

3. assess the foul to the offending contestant, deduct points, and notify each corner’s seconds, judges and the official scorekeeper.


If a bottom contestant commits a foul, unless the top contestant is injured, the fight shall continue, so as not to jeopardize the top contestant’s superior positioning at the time.

1. The referee shall verbally notify the bottom contestant of the foul.

2. When the round is over, the referee shall assess the foul and notify both corners’ seconds, the judges and the official scorekeeper.

3. The referee may terminate a bout based on the severity of a foul. For such a flagrant foul, a contestant shall lose by disqualification.


Time Considerations for Fouls

Low Blow Foul

A fighter who has been struck with a low blow is allowed up to five minutes to recover from the foul as long as in the ringside doctor’s opinion the fighter may possibly continue on in the contest. 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. If the fighter goes over the five minute time allotment the fight cannot be restarted and the contest must come to an end with the outcome determined by the round and time in which the fight was stopped.


Fighter who is not fouled by low blow but another foul

If a contest or exhibition 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.

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. However, unlike the low blow foul rule, the fighter does not have up to 5 minutes of time to use at their discretion.

For a foul other than a low blow, the fouled fighter is not guaranteed 5 minutes of recovery time. If deemed not fit to continue by the referee or ringside physician, the referee must immediately call a halt to the bout. If the fighter is deemed not fit to continue by the referee or ringside physician but some of the five minute foul time is still remaining, the fighter cannot avail himself of the remaining time.

If the referee stops the contest and employs the use of the ringside doctor, the ringside physician’s examinations shall not exceed five minutes. If five minutes is exceeded, the fight cannot be re-started and the contest must end.


Scoring of incomplete rounds

There should be scoring of an incomplete round. If the referee penalizes either contestant, then the appropriate points shall be deducted when the scorekeeper calculates the final score for the partial round.


Verbal tap out

1.Submission by Tap Out:

When a contestant physically uses his hand to indicate that he or she no longer wishes to continue; or

ii. Verbal tap out: When a contestant verbally announces to the referee that he or she does not wish to continue or makes audible sounds such as screams indicating pain or discomfort


COMBAT AREA ( Ring / Cage )

All MMA contests will take place in either a Cage or a Ring that has been approved by the Commission. The Cage or Ring will meet the requirements set forth by each Commission and also be subject to inspection prior to each event by a Commission representative such as a referee.



The ring specifications for mixed martial arts must meet the following requirements:(1) The ring may be no smaller than twenty feet square and no larger than thirty-two feet square within the ropes;(2) One of the corners must have a blue designation, the corner directly across must have a red designation;(3) The ring floor must extend at least eighteen inches beyond the ropes. The ring floor must be padded with ensolite or a similar closed-cell foam, with at least one inch layer of foam padding. Padding must extend beyond the ring ropes and over the edge 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 and ridges may not be used;(4) The ring platform must no be more than four feet above the floor of the building and must have suitable steps for the use of the contestants;(5) Ring posts must be made of metal, not more than three inches in diameter, extending from the floor of the building to a minimum height of fifty-eight inches above the ring floor, and must be properly padded in a manner approved by the commission. Ring posts must be eighteen inches away from the ring ropes;(6) There must be five ring ropes, not less than one inch in diameter and wrapped in soft material. The lowest rope must be no higher than twelve inches from the ring floor;(7) There must not be any obstruction or object, on any part of the ring floor.



The fighting area canvas shall be no smaller than 18 feet by 18 feet and no larger than 32 feet by 32 feet. The fighting area canvas shall be padded in a manner as approved by the Commission, with at least one inch layer of foam padding.

Padding shall extend beyond the fighting area and over the edge of the platform. No vinyl or other plastic rubberized covering shall be permitted.

The fighting area canvas shall not be more than four feet above the floor of the building and shall have suitable steps or ramp for use by the participants. Posts shall be made of metal not more than six inches in diameter, extending from the floor of the building to a minimum height of 58 inches above the fighting area canvas and shall be properly padded in a manner approved by the Commission. The fighting area canvas area shall be enclosed by a fence made of such material as will not allow a fighter to fall out or break through it onto the floor or spectators, including, but not limited to, vinyl coated chain link fencing. All metal parts shall be covered and padded in a manner approved by the Commission and shall not be abrasive to the contestants. The fence shall provide two separate entries onto the fighting area canvas.


RULE MEETINGS ( General Guidelines )

In many jurisdictions, group rule meetings have been commonplace in the reviewing of rules, fouls and other considerations. It is recommended that individual meetings between the bout supervising referee and each competitor in the contest be conducted backstage in the locker room or another appropriate location. Many times contestants will ask questions of the official when the rules are covered individually in private, when they would have been hesitant to ask the same question in front of their competitor. This also provides the referee to observe any peculiar idiosyncrasies of the fighter, such as an odd speech pattern, nervous ticks, or different eye colors. This does not supersede the ability of the Commission to have a general rules meeting about the requirements and also discuss items such as a fighter’s time to report, the location, interaction with the inspectors, available liquids and foods, taping requirements and so on, with all the fighters gathered en masse.



The Unified Rules of Professional Mixed Martial Arts, became the de facto set of rules for professional MMA competition. There currently are no formal national unified rules governing amateur MMA that have been endorsed and adopted by the Association of Boxing Commissions. There is not a national amateur mixed martial arts sanctioning organization with a federal charter, akin to USA Boxing. As a result, this document is being presented to the ABC, with some guidelines designed specifically for amateur MMA events.

The focus of every Athletic Commission is to ensure the safety and protection of all athletes who engage in combative sports. With that fundamental goal in mind, the primary focus of developing these amateur rules is also to ensure the safety of the athlete.

The Committee also recommends that Commissions define what constitutes an amateur mixed martial arts contestant. It was noted that some current amateur mixed martial artists are competing at various levels in muay thai, kick boxing and boxing.


Why The Need for the Amateur Rules?

Within many jurisdictions, MMA is growing at a phenomenal rate. While many Athletic Commissions govern and administer professional MMA , some Commissions do not do the same with amateur MMA . There are some jurisdictions that do not recognize amateur MMA , due to the sport not having any recognized rules or a recognized amateur body. There are jurisdictions that have amateur MMA shows taking place without any knowledge or support from an Athletic Commission. These show function within a Commission’s jurisdiction, yet free from a Commission’s involvement. Some Athletic Commissions have allowed third party sanctioning groups to step in and administer amateur MMA , allowing the responsibility to shift away from their Commissions entirely. Some Commissions have taken the approach of shared governance with these third party sanctioning organizations. A recent ABC survey was conducted, which consisted of a questionnaire being given to ABC member Commissions. There were some questions that dealt specifically with amateur MMA . Most respondents supported the idea of establishing national unified rules for amateur MMA .


Athletic Commissions

As previously stated, the mandate of every Commission is to ensure that athletes are protected and that athlete safety is of utmost importance. These rules are an attempt to provide governance and clarity to amateur MMA competition, and give all athletes that protection. It also makes sense that should a Commission decide to relinquish authority to a third party sanctioning organization, then there is the knowledge that the organization is using rules and regulations and meeting requirements that have been approved by the Commission. It is however, strongly recommended that all Athletic Commissions take an active role in the regulation and administration of MMA , both professional and amateur within their jurisdictions.

Besides providing structured safety guidelines, these rules also provide additional benefits. One of the goals of amateur MMA is to provide an educational opportunity for athletes to develop skill sets and attributes that will allow them to participate and compete, should they choose to turn professional. Some athletes, who enter the professional ranks too early, without developing proper skills, can have problems very early on in competition. The absence of technical skills, coupled with nerves, can often result in a fighter displaying poor skills and tactics, and having a fight end too quickly. The athlete can accumulate a poor record before ever developing the skills and attributes required to successfully compete inside the cage. It is beneficial to most athletes to have the opportunity to hone techniques, tactics, and work at controlling stress unique to competition. Amateur MMA enables an athlete to achieve these results. Ensuring that athletes have the opportunity to learn and develop skills, techniques and tactics specific to MMA competition.

1. Provide a fair and safe venue for amateur athletes to engage in MMA competition

2. Preparing athletes both mentally and physically for MMA competition

3. Promoting the general welfare of amateur MMA sports competition

4. Providing clear rules that are easy to interpret for all parties associated in MMA such as the Athletic Commission, judges, referees, doctors, athletes, coaches, and the fan base.

5. Providing behavior codes so that athletes are self governed and represent the sport and themselves accordingly.



Athletes shall be examined at the pre-fight examination to screen for in excessive or extreme weight loss practices leading to dehydration.



-Only water or an approved electrolyte drink by the Commission may be consumed during the bout. The use of banned substances is grounds for DISQUALIFICATION and administrative disciplinary action. Particular attention should be given to amateurs consuming energy drinks prior to the contest.

Additional Suggested Amateur Fouls


The following actions are recommended additional fouls for amateur Mixed Martial Arts competition.

1. Elbow or forearm strikes

No elbows or forearm strikes are allowed during amateur competition. You may not strike with the elbow, forearm or triceps area.

2. Neck Cranks

Any hold that places the fighter’s neck in jeopardy from a crank is illegal. Neck cranks such as the “Can Opener” or “Bulldog” are examples of an illegal neck attack

3. All leg submissions except (Kneebar and Straight Ankle Lock)

Heel hooks and toe holds are prohibited. Straight Kneebars and the Straight Ankle lock are allowed

4. Knee strikes to the head (standing and grounded fighter)

5. Hand chokes

6. All spine attacks (strikes PLUS locks).

7. All strikes to, or around the knee joint.

8. Dropping your opponent on his or her head or neck at any time.



-Before allowing a fight to continue the Referee should consult with the Ringside Physician in all cases involving concussive head fouls. The Referee in conjunction with the Ringside Physician will determine the length of time needed to evaluate the affected athlete and his or her suitability to continue.

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