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3 New Unified MMA Rule Revisions (August 2023)

Originally reported by Erik Magraken (MMA/KB Judge and Regulatory Lawyer) via Twitter.

3 areas of MMA have been revised with rules being either adjusted or added depending on how you look at it. The rules were added by ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) to the Unified MMA rules which are used by default for many but not all jurisdictions. The UFC card on August 5, 2023 in Tennessee was one of those jurisdictions with these new rules being in effect during the fights.

The rules are as follows:

  1. When a fighter is cut as a result of a foul the cut man can tend to the wound for those 5 minutes. This will be an interesting rule to watch now as to how will it be decided whether or not the cut was possibly starting and the foul amplified it, and many other scenarios because having a cutman and 5 minutes to work on the wound is a game changer. Hopefully this will also help with more caution in regard to fouls such as headbutts that can do damage to both fighters.

  2. Refers to referee positioning fighters after a foul. When a foul takes place, for example, an eye poke or groin strike, the ref now has discretion as to how he places the fighters upon returning to combat. The idea and summarization of the rule is that a fighter should not be disadvantaged if a foul is committed against them. And, a fighter should not be put into an advantage if they commit a foul.

  3. Eye Poke Fouls. This rule is designed to prevent doctors from asking fighters right after an eye poke "can you see?" because the answer would make sense to be "no, I just got poked in the eye." But with time the vision often clears up and so this rule will help the doctor work with the ref so that the ref can allow the fighter proper time to let the vision return. If this rule works effectively it will make it so that fighters are spending more time recovering from the eye poke and less time with a doctor in their eyeballs asking about the eye poke.

Another exciting part of this rule revision is that for the first time in MMA history, athletes played an active role in writing them. The Athletes Voice Committee which launched earlier in 2023 had an official organized seat and was also consulted during the process.

For more cool MMA, Jiu Jitsu, and content around leveling up life follow me @humanderek and check out @NXXTcoffee too.

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