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The Rules of Mixed Martial Arts


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Mixed Martial Arts is a growing sport that involves two fighters using a wide variety of fighting techniques. The rules for the full contact sport of mixed martial arts have changed drastically since the early days. Most of these rule changes have been to protect the fighters and shed the barbaric image of the sport.


The Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts are the current set of rules that the United States follows. The PRIDE Fighting Championships involve a completely different set of rules. Although the rules can be somewhat different, they do follow the same basic guidelines.


Unlike boxing, which uses relatively large gloves, mixed martial arts uses open-fingered small gloves. Although these gloves don’t look like much, they do greatly reduce the occurrence of cuts to the other fighters face, as well as reduce amount of broken hands. Amateur fighters wear 6 oz gloves, and professional fighters wear 4 oz gloves.


The introduction of weight classes is another significant rule change. There are 9 different weight classes in the mixed martial arts world. These weight classes include (from lightest to heaviest): flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight. Weight classes are very important to help protect a fighter.


Time limits are also a big rule change. Most mixed martial arts fights have 5 minute rounds. If it is a title fight, then there are usually 5 rounds at 5 minutes per round. Non-title fights have 3 rounds at 5 minutes per round. Almost all professional fights follow these guidelines.


Most mixed martial arts organizations, such as the UFC and WEC, have deemed it illegal to knee a downed opponent. A downed opponent is classified as an opponent who has a knee, hand, or arm on the ground. Headbutts are also deemed illegal because it can seriously injure the opposing fighter.


There are several ways to achieve victory in the contact sport of mixed martial arts. A Knockout (KO) occurs when a fighter becomes unconscious from his opponents striking ability. A submission, also known as a tap-out, happens when your opponent endures taps you or the ground because of endurable pain. Technical Knockouts (TKO) happen from two different reasons: referee stoppage and doctor stoppage. A referee can stop the fight when a fighter becomes unconscious or he can not intelligently defend himself. Doctor stoppages occur when a fighter has sustained substantial injuries that requires the doctor to stop the fight. Decisions occur when the fight goes the distance and is decided upon by three different judges. No contests happen when both fighters commit a violation of the rules.


There are many different rules in the hard-hitting sport of mixed martial arts. Almost all of the rule changes have happened in order to make the sport safer for the fighters.