ABC Adopts Overhaul to MMA’s Unified Rules

Further Update August 3, 2016 – Today the ABC unanimously agreed to aim for January 1, 2017 as the target date for each commission to get these new rules in force


Update – The rules voted on were revised at the last minute and replaced the word “damage” to “impact” in the revised judging criteria.

The full rule-set went to vote and passed unanimously with the exception of New Jersey objecting and Tennessee abstaining.  For those interested I have obtained a copy of an e-mail from Nick Lembo detailing New Jersey’s opposition to the rules

Nick Lembo New Jersey Objections to Unified Rule Changes

It is worth noting that this near unanimous vote in and of itself does nothing to how MMA is regulated.  The ABC’s position is little more than a political statement.  It is up to each individual Athletic Commission to overhaul their regulations to adopt these changes.

Given New Jersey’s strong opposition it is unlikely they will be adopting these.  Of note, my home Province, British Columbia, by Regulation automatically follows New Jersey’s lead so BC will need to expressly overhaul their regulations, just as every other State and Province, should they choose to adopt these changes.


Today the Association of Boxing Commissions is voting on several changes to the Unified Rules of MMA.

The changes include an overhaul of judging criteria (detailed here) along with the below changes.  I apologize for the sideways photo.

I will update this article once the votes are in.

rule changes one

rule changes 2



7 thoughts on “ABC Adopts Overhaul to MMA’s Unified Rules

  1. I have three questions regarding the ABC’s unified rules of MMA.

    1) How do these changes to the ABC’s unified rules affect UFC’s own rules? On the UFC’s website, they have a “rules and regulations” section. My understanding is that the UFC adopts the ABC’s Unified Rules, but I could be wrong here.

    2) Suppose there is a UFC event held in New Jersey and the New Jersey’s State Athletic Commission doesn’t adopt the new definition of a “grounded opponent”. If the UFC decides to hold an event in New Jersey, does the New Jersey State Athletic Commission’s rules trump the UFC’s own rules? My understanding is that each individual state athletic commission’s rules dictate the judging and scoring of MMA bouts in their home state regardless of what the UFC’s own rules are.

    2a) If I’m correct that each state athletic commission can dictate its own rules and trump UFC’s own rules, then what’s the point of the UFC having its own rules?

    I apologize if any of my questions are confusing.

    1. Thank you for your question.

      You are correct that the UFC’s own rules are not binding in any way. Whatever jurisdiction they are competing in they need to follow the rules of that governing athletic commission.

      When the UFC is hosting an event in a jurisdiction with no athletic commission then they, by default, adopt the rules of the Nevada State athletic commission.

      I hope this answers your questions. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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