While Mixed Martial Arts are not legal everywhere and the rules do vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in the last 20 plus years a refining of rules have occurred and the so-called “unified rules” of MMA are common throughout most US, Canadian and other jurisdictions.
France has gone against the grain, however, and announced regulations which prohibit many techniques allowed under the unified rules.
A French sports ministry press release on Wednesday titled: “Decree relating to technical regulations and security for public combat sport events” outlawed both the octagonal cage used by the UFC and several integral techniques.
“Fights will take place on a carpet or in a ring with three or four ropes. The corners of the ring will be protected,’ the report read.
“The following techniques are strictly outlawed and will lead to immediate disqualification:
“Punches, kicks or strikes with the knees against a fighter on the ground; any strike with the elbow; headbutts; blows to the genitals, the spine, the back of the head or the throat; putting the fingers in the eyes, mouth or nose;
“Pulling the hair; biting; throwing (the opponent) intentionally onto the head or neck; throwing the opponent out of the ring.”
It should be noted that many of the referenced techniques, such as “headbutts, blows to the genitals, the spine, the back of the head or the throat” and eye gouging are indeed banned under the unified rules. The restrictions on any ground striking, however, gives rise to a very different version of MMA.
While the restricted ground fighting can be justified under the guise of safety concerns, one questions why the cage is prohibited as legitimate safety issues can arise when wrestling take-downs are attempted in an elevated ring secured with porous ropes.