The Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) has voted to change multiple rules on issues such as what constitutes a grounded fighter, penalties against having an open hand with extended fingers, and redefining what clothes female fighters can wear during fights. There is a real threat the the MMA unified rules could splinter into an alphabet soup of state regulations.
Below are all the new rule changes:
The state with the most fundamental disputes on the new rule changes is the state of New Jersey. The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) was concerned that fighters would take on more unnecessary and dangerous strikes. The NJSACB also disagreed with having the amount of damage a fighter produces be a factor in scoring fights.
The NJSACB has stated that it will not adopt the new rules if the board believes that they create a more dangerous fighting environment.
There is a growing concern in the MMA community that if one state dissents from the unified rules that every state will soon have unique regulations when hosting a MMA fight. States like California, Nevada, Kansas, and some Indian Reservations already permit early weigh-ins.
The Association of Combative Sports (ACSC) has been founded as an alternative to the ABC and is headed by reps from the states of Ohio and Missouri.
A real risk that can impact everyone, fighters, trainers, promoters, and fans alike, is the confusion that will come from such a wide variety of rules. When every state has unique rules then some viewers might find the rules too confusing to really enjoy the event. Also, if the UFC has rules and requirements in place that differ from what a state’s athletic board allows does that mean the UFC won’t host an event in said state?
The splintering is still fresh and it’s not too late for the states to come together again and agree on a new set of unified rules.