ByAmy Kaplan, writer at
Senior Staff Writer // Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @PhotoAmy33
Amy Kaplan

This week the Association of Boxing Commissions met to discuss and approve several new rules to be added to or modified on the Unified Rules of MMA. This includes a rule to amend MMA judging criteria, as well as redefining some existing policies. has broken down each new rule or amendment to help explain how each of these will affect the future of MMA.

1. Uniform Amendment for Women

The committee voted to change what women can/cannot wear in the octagon. They have done away with "loose fitting clothing" which is currently found in some of the UFC uniforms. This means shorts for women, no skirts.

2. New Definition of a Grounded Fighter

Previously a fighter only needed one hand on the mat to be considered a "grounded fighter." Now, under the new definition, "any part of the body other than a single hand and feet touching the fighting area floor. To be grounded, both hands and feet, palm/fist down, and/or any other body part must be touching the fighting area floor."

Essentially this means that a fighter needs to have both hands on the mat to be protected under the grounded fighter rule.

This means we may see an increase in knees to the face where previously athletes may have been protected.

3. Heel Strikes to the Kidney

Under the new rule, fighters may now land heel strikes to the kidney.

4. Grabbing the Clavicle

Under the new rule, grabbing the clavicle of an opponent is no longer considered a foul.

5. Update to Rule About Eye Pokes

The committee updated a rule about eye pokes, or rather the punishment surrounding them. It now allows referees to declare a foul if, “a fighter that moves their arm(s) toward their opponent with an open hand, fingers pointing at the opponent’s face/eyes.”

This change was made in hopes of decreasing the amount of eye pokes seen in the sport currently.

6. Verbiage in Judging Criteria

Previously judges were meant to consider "damage" to an opponent when scoring a bout. Now, they are changing the verbiage to "impact and effect" which will protect potential legal ramifications in the future. The committee cited legal issues the NFL is handling at the moment.

7. Hierarchy in Judging Criteria

The new rules state that a judge should score based on the following criteria, with the first level being the highest/most important score.

1. Effective Striking/Grappling

2. Effect Aggressiveness

3. Fight Area Control


Although these changes have taken affect in the Unified Rules of MMA, not every commission is required to follow them. For example, the State of New Jersey has voiced their opposition to the new rules and their intent to, "aside from those eye pokes and the clavicle rule, the state of New Jersey does not support any of the rule changes."

For a more in depth report on what was discussed at the meeting, read here.

Photo by Amy Kaplan


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