Yesterday, North American organisation, the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), approved new changes to the professional Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.
Among recommendations that mark the most significant development to the rules since their formation, the ABC redefined its judging criteria clarifying hierarchy of competitor actions for scoring purposes.
The ABC annual convention saw the rules changes voted in by 42 states to 1, with two abstaining (Tennessee and Mississippi). New Jersey was the sole state to oppose the recommendations.
The updated United Rules can be expected to be phased in across the different states, with some commissions empowered to implement the changes with immediate effect, and others needing to work through local legislation first.
Alterations to the American Unified Rules will have reaching impact worldwide, since the rule set has become a blueprint globally through general consensus. While MMA is not regulated in most countries, promoters from the grassroots upwards have traditionally looked to US legislation for recognised guidelines during the sport’s evolution. In recent years, national MMA federations under the IMMAF umbrella, have sought to lead on local rules, regulations and sanctioning requirements, and have worked to achieve recognition and regulation of the sport as broadly defined by the Unified Rules. The Sweden Mixed Martial Arts Federation provides one such success story, as it saw its rules and regulations introduced into Swedish law in 2009 – with some variations to its US counterparts’.
IMMAF’s President, Kerrith Brown (pictured), commented:
“The IMMAF board and expert Technical Committees will be reviewing ABC’s recommendations, and issuing advice to our members shortly. IMMAF will need to examine the potential impact of the recommended changes at both Professional and Amateur levels, and make decisions lead by considerations to fairness and safety in the sport.”