Nevada Holding Public Hearing About Possible Combat Sports Rules Overhaul

The Nevada State Athletic Commission, one of the most influential in combat sports, has published a notice of public workshop for public feedback on proposed overhauled combat sports regulations. The workshop is scheduled Monday, August 15, 10am – 12pm at 3300 W Sahara Ave., Red Rock Room #440, Las Vegas, NV 89102

The Commission has published the proposed regulations here.

I have gone through these. Below are some highlights.

The first thing they do is renumber the rules and rename the rules with the new name being the “Nevada Rules of Unarmed Combat“. (“NRUC”)

Next the rules make it clear that if there is a conflict of rules those in NRUC will govern ” Unless otherwise provided, the
NRUC apply to professional contests and exhibitions of unarmed combat. If a provision of chapter 467 of NAC conflicts with a rule set forth in the NRUC, the rule in the NRUC shall control
.”

Nevada, like a lot of jurisdictions have a “we can waive our own rule rule”. They are keeping this in NRUC with a rule stating “The Commission may, at its sole discretion, waive a requirement set forth in in these rules for any cause deemed sufficient by the Commission.“. Some procedures for requesting a rule alteration/waiver are then provided.

The rules then go on to talk about a ‘competition area’ instead of just a ring or a cage. This is flexibility for new promotions such as Karate Combat with the new rule reading as follows:

“Competition area” means a stage, platform, or other area specifically designated for a display of unarmed
combat other than a ring or fenced area, which has been approved by the Commission pursuant
to NRUC 1.030 or 1.110. Unless otherwise approved by the Commission, all provisions of the
NRUC governing conduct or prohibitions within a ring, as well as provisions regarding the
duties and authorities of a referee within a ring, shall govern within a competition area.

There are some modernizing language changes with Muay Thai being referred to as such instead of Thai Boxing.

The rules then go on to say that unless modified or otherwise differently spelled out in the NRUC the default rules for championship boxing will be the ABC unified rules of Boxing, for MMA the ABC unified rules of MMA, for kickboxing, Muay Thai or other variations of combat sports will “comply with the official rules of the sanctioning organization, or promoter in cases in which there is no sanctioning organization, that sanctions or organizes the contest or exhibition. The official rules submitted pursuant to this subsection must be submitted to the Commission at the time the promoter of the contest or exhibition files an application for the applicable permit pursuant to NAC 467.167

When considering modifed rules the Commission makes it clear they are open to consider changes to the rules addressing the following non exclusive list

(a) Glove, mouthpiece, and other equipment requirements;
(b) Handwrap requirements;
(c) Method of judging and scoring;
(d) Unarmed combatant weight divisions;
(e) Ring, fenced, or other competition area structure and dimensions;
(f) Limitations on the presence of seconds in a ring, fenced, or other competition area;
(g) What constitutes a fair or a foul blow or maneuver; or
(h) Duration of periods of unarmed combat or rest.

The rules then go on to create a maximum weight spread for MMA competitors as follows:

No contest or exhibition may be scheduled, and no unarmed combatants may engage in, a
mixed martial arts contest or exhibition, without the approval of the Commission, the Executive
Director, or a designee of either if the difference in weight between unarmed combatants exceeds
the allowance shown in the following schedule:
Up to 116 lbs…………………………………………………………………………….. not more than 3 lbs.
116.1 lbs.-126 lbs………………………………………………………………………. not more than 5 lbs.
126.1 lbs. 136 lbs………………………………………………………………………. not more than 7 lbs.
136.1 lbs. 146 lbs………………………………………………………………………. not more than 9 lbs.
146.1 lbs. 156 lbs…………………………………………………………………….. not more than 11 lbs.
156.1 lbs. 171 lbs…………………………………………………………………….. not more than 12 lbs.
171.1 lbs.-186 lbs.…………………………………………………….…… not more than 16 lbs.
186.1 lbs. 206 lbs…………………………………………………………………….. not more than 20 lbs.
206.1 lbs. and over…………………………………………………………………………………….. no limit

The rules go on to add Alcohol as a banned substance the day of the fight from the time a fighter arrives at the venye to the time the bout is over (something that does not exist under WADA) with the rule reading as follows:

Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, an unarmed combatant shall not
consume stimulant drinks or drinks which contain alcohol, or caffeine, including, without
limitation, Red BullTM, Rock StarTM, and MonsterTM, during a period beginning at the time of his
or her arrival at the site of his or her contest or exhibition and ending at the time of the
completion of his or her bout. An unarmed combatant may consume electrolyte drinks,
including, without limitation, GatoradeTM, PowerAdeTM, smartWaterTM, and PropelTM,
decaffeinated coffee, decaffeinated tea or decaffeinated soft drinks on the day of or during a
bout. All drinks brought to the site of a contest or exhibition must be in sealed containers and
approved by an inspector who has signed off on the container of the drink. An unarmed
combatant may not bring an unsealed drink onto the site of a contest or exhibition.

I’m going to call this next one the “Joe Rogan” rule after the famous spilled bag of ice incident. A rule addressing what happens with spilled ice spells out as follows “Any ice or water spilled during the period of rest must be picked up and wiped up by an
unarmed combatant’s second as soon as possible
.”

There has been some debate in combat sports about whether a bout ends when the bell rings or whether the bell ringing signifies a moment for the referee to end the bout. The new rules address this ambiguity as follows (a round) “ends when the bell sounds signaling its completion.

Significant changes are introduced about instant replay, having a ‘review official’ and circumstances of if when and how instant replay is to be used.

The rules keep the (often seen in) boxing rule that a bout cannot end by a low blow. This rule does not get extended to MMA but does seem to be extended to all other combat sports where low blows can be more than a punch to the groin such as a kick or knee.

Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, an unarmed combatant may not be
declared the winner of a contest or exhibition on the basis of a claim that his or her opponent
committed a foul by hitting him or her below the belt. If an unarmed combatant falls to the floor
of the ring or otherwise indicates that he or she is unwilling to continue because of a claim of a
low blow, the contest or exhibition must be declared to be a technical knockout in favor of the
unarmed combatant who is willing to continue. The provisions of this subsection do not apply to
a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts.

Interestingly the new rules also adopt language similar to what the ABC introduced as new language for grounded fighters to be voted on at the ABC 2023 annual conference.

“grounded opponent” if at least one of the opponent’s hands is
weight-bearing on the floor, including, but not limited to, the palm, fingertips, or fist, or if one or
more of the opponent’s body parts, other than a hand or sole of a foot, is touching the floor.

There are several other changes with language, delegation of power to fulfill duties and other issues in the draft. The above are those that jumped out at me most on initial read.


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