Mixed Martial Arts, also referred to as MMA, cage fighting, or ultimate fighting, is a combat sport that involves grappling, ground fighting, and striking. The full-contact sport incorporates fighting methods from boxing, kickboxing, and other martial arts. The sport attracts fans and combatants from all over the world.
It also attracts commercial advertisers, lucrative sponsorship deals, and now betting firms have joined the lucrative sport. Casinos owners have also tapped into this sport by hiring MMA celebrities to promote their online and land-based casinos. Casinos such as the Nitro Casino contribute to the sporting community as they offer a wide range of gaming opportunities such as poker, baccarat, gold hunter, among others.
Just like any other full-contact sport, injuries are inevitable. Despite being a no-holds-barred sport, MMA has a set of rules which players must adhere to when fighting. However, the rules help to:
• Protect the health of players against severe or life-threatening injuries
• Adhere with legal regulations that require protection of life
• Respond to moral concerns
• Provide a controlled yet thrilling spectacle to spectators
The MMA rules are popularly known as Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Most of these rules are applied in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. These rules cover the following areas:
—All fighters are required to wear approved shorts. They should not wear shoes or any other foot padding.
—Competitors must use approved gloves weighing 4-6 ounces and approximately one inch of padding. The open-fingered light gloves allow the players to grab each other during the match.
—Competitors are also required to put on a mouth guard to prevent damaging their teeth.
—Men must don a groin protective cup while women wear a chest protector.
—At least one State Athletic Committee official must check and approve the attire before the match starts.
—Non-title matches last three rounds, while title matches run five rounds. Each round lasts five minutes. There is a rest period lasting one minute in between the rounds.
—The referee may end the match before the end of any round if:
1. One of the fighters taps out to indicate submission
2. A fighter knocks out the opponent
3. A competitor is not able to competently or intelligently defend themself
There are many fouls which a fighter knows is a no-no. However, we will cover the major ones, which include but are not limited to:
1. Grabbing the fence during a fight
2. Butting with the head, attacking the groin area, striking the back of the head
3. Fish-hooking, hair pulling, pinching, clawing, or poking fingers into the opponent’s eyes or nose.
4. Spitting or biting
5. Attacking an opponent when the match is on a break or after the bell has rang
6. Throwing an opponent out of the cage
The above are examples of the fouls that a referee may spot and penalize a fighter by deducting a point or more than one. The referee may disqualify a competitor who commits an intentional foul which incapacitates the opponent. A “no contest” is declared where the foul is unintentional.
USE OF SUBSTANCES
MMA prohibits using illegal substances such as narcotics, stimulants, alcoholics, drugs, and analgesics. It also prohibits fighters from using any unallowed substances immediately before or during a match.
—The governing commission can require all fighters to present samples needed to conduct a laboratory test for the use of any illegal substance.
—The commission can order a test before or after a contest. Failure to submit to laboratory tests can lead to match disqualification or suspension from MMA.
—An official selected and approved by the commission supervises all laboratory tests.
DECIDING A WINNER
A minimum of three judges decides the winner using a ten-point must system.
—A round can end with a winner or result in a draw.
—Where a referee penalizes a fighter, the judges deduct a point from the specific competitor for that round
—The ten-point must system has a weighted scoring system with some actions by a fighter resulting in more points than others. Some of the primary scoring criteria include:
1. Effective legal striking, takedowns, and submission attempts
2. Effective aggression – refers to who made the most effort to push the action and controlled the fight
3. Impactful strikes that stagger, destabilize, or knock out an opponent.
—At the end of all the rounds, judges can decide a winner by making a unanimous, majority, or split decision.
—Judges may also declare a draw based on a unanimous draw, majority draw, or a split draw.
MMA is a thrilling sport which attracts many fighters, spectators, and commercial sponsors, especially in Europe, Russia, and Asia. The full-contact sport isn’t anything goes, but that doesn’t reduce potential brutality to zero, which can lead to injuries.
The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts seeks to ensure the competitors can fight safely without endangering each other’s lives while entertaining spectators. Please note that the above rules are not an exhaustive list, and the rules may change over time.