Let’s Talk the Toe Kick Oilcheck and MMA’s Unified Rules

Update: MMA refereeing pioneer and co-writer of the unified rules John McCarthy was kind enough to weigh in with his views on this topic:


The now famous toe kick oilcheck.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about I can do no better job describing the incident than the one and only Robin Black.  View the video then come back.

Now that we’re on the same page here is the question.  Which of MMA’s unified rules, if any, are violated by this violation?

Here are the potential rules in play along with their applicable notations.  The ones that at first glance appear most likely to be triggered apparently are not (fishhooking and orifice attacks) as these are defined to use fingers, not toes.

Assuming none of these rules hit the nail on the head a simple amendment would be to replace the word “finger” with “digit” in the fish Hooking and Orifice sections.

Fish Hooking;
a. Any attempt by a fighter to use their fingers in a manner that attacks their opponent’s mouth, nose or ears, stretching the skin to that area will be considered “Fish hooking”. Fish hooking generally is the placing of fingers into the mouth or your opponent and pulling your hands in opposing directions while holding onto the skin of your opponent.

Strikes to the spine or the back of the head;
a. The back of the head starts at the Crown of the head with a one (1) inch variance to either side, running down the back of the head to the occipital junction.
b. This area stretches out at the occipital junction (nape of the neck) to cover the entire width of the neck. It then travels down the spine with a one (1) inch variance from the spine’s centerline, including the tailbone.

Groin attacks of any kind;
a. Any attack to the groin area including, striking, grabbing, pinching or twisting is illegal. It should be clear that groin attacks are the same for men and women.

Intentionally placing a finger into any orifice, or into any cut or laceration of your
a. A fighter may not place their fingers into an open laceration in an attempt to enlarge the cut. A fighter may not place their fingers into an opponent’s, nose, ears, mouth, or any body cavity.

Unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to opponent;
a. Every athlete competing in the sport of MMA is expected to represent the sport in a positive light emphasizing sportsmanship and humility. Any athlete that disrespects the rules of the sport or attempts to inflict unnecessary harm on a competitor who has been either taken out of the competition by the referee or has tapped out of the competition shall be viewed as being unsportsmanlike.



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