One of the men who spearheaded the early UFC rulebook isn’t happy with the current fragmentation of the unified rules across various states. Speaking to MMA Junkie Radio recently, referee “Big” John McCarthy said that the differentiation in rules depending on what state a fight is taking place in is unfair for everybody involved.
“The problem with MMA is, we have all of these athletic commissions, and each athletic commission is an entity unto itself,” McCarthy said. “The athletic commission can do what it wants, and that’s the problem we have with MMA. It’s not fair to the fighters, it’s not fair to the officials, it’s not fair to the fans.”
McCarthy also went on to say how the confusion will hurt fans the most as they try and keep up with all of the changes. “They care that they’re seeing the sport that they like and they know exactly what is allowed in that sport and what is not,” he said. “But when it changes from state to state, that causes a problem for the fans because fans don’t know what can be done. They don’t know what’s right.”
This is very problematic as there is so much MMA available on TV these days, the sport is difficult enough to keep up with, and add in the rule changes and it’s a whole new ball game, so to speak, every time you turn on your TV. Fans certainly can’t be expected to keep up, when it seems like the fighters don’t even know what rules they need to be following, and McCarthy recognizes this.
“It’s a problem for fighters because fighters travel,” McCarthy said. “The low-level fighters are fighting in their state, and they’ll fight multiple times in their state, so they get used to that rule set. But if you’re a top-level fighter and you do one show in California and it’s under the Unified Rules of MMA, and then you go to Missouri and they say, ‘Oh, we have a different set of rules,’ you just affected that fighter in a bad way. You should care about that, but that’s not what’s happening.”
For the benefit of fighters and fans alike. MMA rules should be unified across all states.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: This is a situation where UFC can use its clout as the industry leader to affect change. UFC should be urging all commissions that they operate under to adopt the new set of rules, or at least one set of rules, new or old. Change can be slow when it comes to these athletic commissions, but it doesn’t always have to be. When California instituted early morning weigh-ins last year, UFC was happy with the change, and lo and behold, pretty much every town they ran from then on, including commissions in Nevada, Canada, and newly regulated New York instituted the early weigh-ins right away. I think UFC should not run title fights or top-level contender fights in states that haven’t adopted the new rules as fighters deserve to compete under the same rules for the same prize and casual fans are growing confused by the inconsistency in rules. Last month’s “hands down” debacle at UFC 210 is case in point.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-The fan who promised UFC Middleweight Elias Theodorou that he would get Thedorou’s face tattooed on himself if Theodorou gave him a shout out on-air during UFC Fight Night Halifax will be flying to Canada this weekend to follow through on his commitment.
Off to Canada on Friday to get the face of @EliasTheodorou tattooed on me. My word is bond after all!
— Dean Pascoe (@HaroldBishopsLC) May 1, 2017
-Valerie Letourneau announced today that she will be fighting Emily Ducote at Bellator 181 on July 14 from Thackerville, Oklahoma.
-Vitor Belfort confirmed in an Instagram post that he will retire following his fight with Nate Marquardt at UFC 212 on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)