ONE Fighting Championship held its MMA summit over the past weekend, and one of the major topics on the agenda was its judging and refereeing criteria. Famed trainer and fighter Matt Hume, who also acts as referee and chief official for ONE FC, explained the rules that govern fights in ONE FC.
He calls it a blend between Pride and UFC rules.
Hume lambasted the “ten point must” scoring system that is adopted by most of the United States athletic commissions for judging, where at least one fighter must gain ten points for each round. He went as far as saying that “it is a boxing place that has no place in MMA”. He also had a beef with the rule banning “12 to 6” elbows, saying the contact point and the force is similar to elbows thrown from any other angle.
Hume, together with a panel of experts from ONE FC, devised a set of blended rules, drawing rules from both the unified rules often used in North America, as well as Pride rules that were used by the organization till its demise.
Rules changes for ONE FC’s fights
As the panel was devising the rules for ONE FC’s fights, a couple of the criteria they looked at included if the rule would make sense in a real fight and if the rule keeps the sport safe. Matt Hume emphasized that they did not want to take things away from the fighter that they can use in a fight unless necessary.
The first major rule change is elbow strikes to both standing and grounded opponents are allowed. Pride did not allow elbows, while the unified rules allowed all elbows except when it was from a “12 to 6” angle of a downed opponent. Hume, who was also the rule director during Pride’s heyday, believes that elbows are a viable weapon in a fight.
Is this rule set a better alternative than the unified rules of MMA?
Another rule ONE FC implemented is grounded knee strikes. Grounded knee strikes to the head of a grounded opponent are not allowed under unified rules. Hume felt that this would add excitement to the fight, because the fighter on the bottom cannot just turtle up— he'd have to actively defend himself.
ONE FC also implements an interesting rule called the “open attack”. When a fighter goes to the ground from either a strike or a takedown, the referee would determine if he is conscious and declare it an “open attack” when he has the ability to defend himself. When that happens, kicks to the head of a grounded opponent are allowed.
ONE FC judging criteria
ONE FC adopts a judging criteria that has its roots from Pride, where judging is based on the entirety of the fight. There are five distinct criteria that are ranked from most important to least important.
The most important criteria is if there was a near Knockout or submission, followed by damage done. The third criterion was striking combinations, ground control, generalship and control superior position. Takedowns and takedown defense were fourth, and aggression is the final criteria.
As MMA continues to grow and evolve, so will its rules. Will this be the future for MMA? Only time will tell.