The Association of Boxing Commissions met Thursday and made some changes to MMA rules.
The biggest change was with regard to weight classes, recognizing 14 weight classes in men's, and 10 weight classes in women's. This could be the big change that might just be getting women's MMA in the UFC or at least WEC.
They also placed a ban on using the hand to smother an opponent. The days when we see competitors laying on the ground and the only action is covering the mouth and nose will be a thing of the past.
They redefined the illegal hit to the back of the head to where it protects the crown of the head down the spine in a strip with one inch on either side of the spine. That should do away with the head getting hit directly behind the ear and resulting in the loss of a point.
The downward elbow strike was re-admitted, since the rule was originally set to stop someone from elbowing in the back of the head. Now that they have a clear definition as to where the illegal blow would be they reinstated the downward elbow strike.
The individual states can tweak the rules as they see fit to meet state legal requirements, but for the most part these rules now are in.
The only rule made optional is the one restructuring new weight classes. The organizations don't have to follow the weight classes, but if they don't they will no longer be fighting under unified rules.
The article entitled "Revamped Rules Expand Weight Classes" posted on Sherdog.com goes deeper into the weight classes, the new rules, and fouls.