The rules of MMA have changed dramatically since the dark ages where there were no rules and you could use groin strikes and bite people. For the most part, all of us agree that the rules are a welcome change and have helped the sport to evolve from the fell of backyard fights to the mainstream sport we all watch today. While the rules have all been good in general, there are still some stupid ones. Here are my Top Five.
(5) The 12-6 elbow.
The famous Jonny “Bones” Jones rule. Jon Jones was on his way to a dominant victory over Matt Hamill and was trying to finish the fight when he had full mount and was raining down elbows onto Matt Hamill’s head. Referee Steve Mazzagatti disqualified Jones which therefore meant Hamill got the win. To this day it is the only blot on the mixed martial arts record of Jones who would otherwise be undefeated.
The move was outlawed after someone on the athletic commission saw a demonstration of a man breaking ice blocks using this technique. He therefore decided it was to dangerous a move to use in the sport and it was outlawed. I have seen demonstrations of men punching and kicking concrete blocks and yet these are allowed. A stupid rule, made by a stupid man in a stupid time when the sport was run by people who didn’t understand the sport.
(4) Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
Holding your shorts or gloves can give you an advantage if your opponent is trying to take you down. However, there is nothing wrong with holding your own shorts. Josh Koscheck famously defended a submission attempt from George St-Pierre at UFC 74. If you can’t grab your opponents shorts to gain an advantage, then surely you should not be able to grab your own?
(3) Using abusive language in fenced ring or fighting area
This rule is largely ignored, thankfully. It is, though, still a rule. Foul number 21 in the unified rules to be precise. Luckily it is ignored; otherwise we may never even have heard of the Diaz brothers who famously flip the bird and use foul language to get inside the head of their respective opponents. If you have trained for months, sometimes years, to be able to knock an opponent out, or submit them, and they are doing likewise to hurt you, then it does not make a damn bit of difference if you tell them to f— themselves in the process.
(2) Kicking or kneeing the head of an opponent when they are on the ground.
If your opponent has one finger or more on the canvas, you are not allowed to kick or knee them in the head. This is my personally hated rule. If you can kick or knee your opponent while they are standing, what is the difference if they are on the ground? Pride famously allowed kicks to grounded opponents and there was no controversy. Many fighters use this and try to gain an unfair advantage or get their opponents in trouble.
(1) The 10 point must system
This rule has come from boxing and is made for their sport. The judging in MMA is often suspect at the best of times, and occasionally it is downright laughable. The rules for MMA should be their own and designed specifically for it. This should have been changed years ago and it still blows my mind that it has not been done away with by now. In Pride they used to judge the fight as a whole rather than round by round. Judging it the way it is can often mean a lot of fighters playing it safe and “coasting to victory.” This is something that Dana White has said again and again that he does not like. You may get the win, but you will not please the fans or the Boss if you do this. The rules should be changed so fighters try their best to stop the opponent at all times. With the stakes so high in professional fighting, it is hardly surprising that it does happen more often than we would like.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S TOP FIVE: FRIDAY TOP FIVE: Top 5 Seasons of The Ultimate Fighter – Does season one top the list?
(Jared Dodds of Mississauga, Ontario has been a passionate MMA fan since he was 13 years old after he stumbled upon his dad watching Mintauro Nogueira vs. Frank Mir at UFC 92. He follows UFC, Bellator, Invicta, and even non-MMA productions such as Glory kickboxing. He wrestled in high school and has spent time outside of school learning specific techniques that are important parts of MMA. He hopes to fill the shoes of Jamie Penick, who once helmed the Daily Top Five List, and credits Jamie with helping him acquire more knowledge and passion for the sport of MMA.)