MMA Rules Revamp: Confusion to End Soon

Simplifying rules to end confusion" - Andy Foster

Andy Foster, the head of the California State Athletic Commission, is spearheading a much-anticipated change in the mixed martial arts (MMA) rules. The ambiguity surrounding illegal knees has been a contentious issue, leading to confusion and inconsistent enforcement. Knees to the head of a grounded opponent are currently prohibited, yet the existing rules have left much room for interpretation.

Andy Foster: “We’re going to get rid of the hand thing. That’s my proposal. We’re going to eliminate it. To be seen as ‘grounded,’ you have to have something else down. Knees, back, anything. Anything but – you can’t just stand up and put your hand on the ground. It has caused too much confusion.”

Foster plans to propose a simplification to the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), aiming to clarify what constitutes a grounded fighter. His proposal seeks to eliminate the hand placement rule, which has caused significant confusion. Under the new rule, a fighter would need to have a body part other than their hands touching the ground to be considered grounded.


On inconsistent officiating: “Some just put their fingers down hoping they won’t get kneed in the face, and there have been instances where Herb (Dean) just lets it continue, which he thinks is correct. But that’s what I’m talking about. Fighters think they are safe, but they are not, and the knee is on its way.”

This change is expected to make the sport safer and the job of referees more straightforward. There has been inconsistency in how matches are officiated, particularly with fighters attempting to exploit the current rules by minimally touching the ground with their fingers, hoping to avoid knees to the face. The proposal, if accepted, could come into effect by the summer, streamlining the rules and reducing headaches for officials and fighters alike.

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