New MMA rules to be implemented on Jan. 1, 2017

Changes are coming to the unified rules of mixed martial arts.

This week, the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) approved amendments to MMA’s unified rules that bring forth new criteria for judging, a new definition of a “grounded opponent,” changes to female apparel inside of the cage and a stricter emphasis on extended fingers.

While new rules were added, the ABC also adjusted the rules so heel strikes to the kidneys and the grabbing of the clavicle are no longer considered fouls.

Of course, the ABC cannot force athletic commissions to adopt the new rules, but they do control the language of the unified rules.

So what changes are coming?

Marc Raimondi of shared a detailed breakdown of the new rules:

Grounded fighter

A grounded fighter is defined as: 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. At this time, kicks or knees to the head will not be allowed.

Extended fingers

In the standing position, a fighter that moves their arm(s) toward their opponent with an open hand, fingers pointing at the opponent’s face/eyes, will be a foul. Referees are to prevent this dangerous behavior by communicating clearly to fighters. Fighters are directed to close their fists or point their fingers straight in the air when reaching toward their opponent.

Female clothing

Female competitors must wear a short-sleeved (above the elbow) or sleeveless form-fitting rash guard and/or sports bra. No loose-fitting tops are allowed. Female competitors will follow the same requirements for bottom coverings as the male competitors, minus the requirement for groin protection.

Because New Jersey did not vote in favor of the new rules, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) will not be forced to recognize the changes. Missouri and Ohio, meanwhile, did not attend the session and there is no word on whether they will adopt the rules.

Despite not being a member of the ABC, the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA)  is set to also adopt the rules.

What do you think about the new changes being implemented? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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