MMA Rules

At the inaugural UFC event, there were three rules: no biting, eye gouging or groin strikes. Ironically, these were the same rules employed for the ancient Greek sport of Pankration, a precursor to modern mixed martial arts.

Since the early days of UFC the rules of MMA have changed quite a lot. The audience came to know more about the fighting styles and saw the danger and wanted more reasonable rules. This perception barbarism and lawlessness was to be changed and MMA had to be recognized as a legitimate sport.

New rules were established and included the introduction of weight classes. In MMA, there are nine different weight classes according to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts (URMMA).

The ancient Greek sport of Pankration, a precursor to modern mixed martial arts.

 These include; 

  • Flyweight – Up to 56.7 kg
  • Bantam weight – Up to 61.2 kg
  • Featherweight – Up to 65.8 kg
  • Lightweight – Up to 70.3 kg
  • Welterweight – Up to 77.1 kg
  • Middleweight – Up to 83.9 kg
  • Light Heavyweight – Up to 93.0 kg
  • Heavyweight – Up to 120.2 kg
  • Super Heavyweight – No upper limit

The Fighting Area

According to the rules and regulations of UFC, all MMA competitions are held in a ring or a fenced area. If fenced, it should be round or have a minimum of six sides. If caged, it should be an octagon shaped cage (8 sides).

Protecting the Fists

Small open-fingered gloves were introduced to protect the fists. This helped reduce the possibilities of cuts on fists, increased the confidence of the fighter to strike better, and helped achieve a more exhilarating match. In professional fights, players wear 4 oz gloves and amateurs wear 6 oz gloves for better protection of fists and wrists.

Avoiding Lengthy Fights

Time limits were established to ensure that no long fights with little action went out live. In most of the professional fights, there are three rounds of 5 minutes each. In championships, the fights are normally five rounds of 5 minutes each.

Pride Fighting Championships, a Japan based organized event, held an opening 10-minutes round followed by two shorter 5-minutes rounds. Fighters can’t strike with the elbow to the head but they can stomp, kick, and use knee strikes to the head.

The rules may differ from championships to championships. The One Championship, a Singapore based organization, prohibits head stomps but allows kicks, knees and elbow strikes to the head.


A winning fighter is declared, either by the judges or a stoppage by the referee in the following cases −

  • If a fighter isn’t able to defend himself
  • By the fight doctor if there is some injury
  • If someone submits himself
  • By a competitor’s corner man throwing in the towel
  • By knockout