ABC Voting on MMA “Eye Poke Foul” Change And More

Update July 27, 2022 – Today both the below rules were adopted and now form part of the ABC’s unified rules. There were some minor adjustments to the neoprene sleeve rule confirming a competitor cannot grab their own sleeve advantageously. I will further update this article once I receive a copy of the final text of that rule that was amended.


At this years annual conference for the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports two formal potential changes to MMA’s unified rules will be voted on by member commissions.

The first deals with eye poke recovery time. Presently when a fighter receives a low blow foul they have up to 5 minutes to recover. It is the only foul that brings this luxury. The ABC’s Rules and Regulations Committee has unanimously approved a proposed rule bringing this procedure to also apply to fighters who receive an eye poke. The proposed new rule reads as follows:

Eye Poke Foul:

A fighter who has received an eye poke as called by the referee is allowed up to five minutes to recover from the foul as long as the ringside doctor confirms the fighter may possibly continue in the contest once recovered. If the fighter states they can see and wish to continue, and confirmed by doctor, the referee shall as soon as practical restart the fight. If the fighter goes over the five minute time allotment the fight cannot be restarted and the contest must come to an end with the outcome determined by the round and time in which the fight was stopped.

The second rule approved by the ABC’s rules committee relates to Neoprene Sleeves confirming these can only be used on ankles and knees but not upper body joints.

The proposed rule changes will be both voted on by the full ABC membership this week. I will update this article with the results once known.


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