If you are a die-hard MMA fan – keeping up with all the fighters, with who they are fighting, and with how they are doing – there is a very good chance you already understand the rules of MMA; if, however, you are just starting to learn about mixed martial arts, are just becoming a fan, and are just starting to figure things out, it can be a bit confusing at first to understand how things are regulated, and what the rules are. With this as the case, here is an overview of some of the important aspects of the Unified Rules of MMA.
First off, it was not until 2001 that the popularity of MMA grew to such a point that it basically forced a unification of the rules to occur, at which point a meeting occurred in which different mixed martial arts organizations proposed uniform rules that would govern this sport – thereby bringing it under a more cohesive, single structure. The rules agreed upon were passed unanimously, bringing them into effect.
There can be up to five rounds in an MMA fight, but most non-title fights consist of only three rounds (a dispensation can, however, be granted for a five-round fight in a non-title fight), with each round of the fight being five minutes long, and with there being a one minute rest period in between each round.
A panel of judges operates on a ten-point system, awarding points by round; the winner of each given round automatically receives ten points, and the fighter who loses each round must be awarded some number of points equal to or less than nine – while a tie between fighters results in each receiving 10 points for that particular round.
There is also an extensive list of banned substances for MMA fighters, ranging from simple stimulants and depressants to illegal drugs and narcotics to even alcoholic substances; these regulations are enforced by subjecting all fighters to pre-contest or post-contest urinalyses, and should a fighter refuse to submit to this form of testing, they are immediately disqualified and suspended.
At their discretion, the committee may also opt to test any fighter for the presence of performance enhancing drugs – all of which are also disallowed in MMA fighting – and may order an additional urinalysis in order to collect this information.
And lastly, fighters must be deemed to be in good health – subjecting themselves to medical examinations before and after fights, in order to ensure their safety.
With this information in mind, you now have a clearer understanding of exactly how MMA is governed, and of exactly the rules that keep the sport clean, safe, and thoroughly entertaining!