With athletic commissions adopting the new rule set across the country, there’s going to be some confusion amongst fighters and referees as everyone adjusts to the new rules.
However, when a commission uses two different rule sets in the same night, that’s bound to cause some issues. And at UFC 220 in Boston, those issues were on full display.
Sources told MMA Fighting that the early prelims used the new rule set while the later prelims used the older rule set.
UFC fighter Kyle Bochniak found that out the hard way during his preliminary bout against Brandon Davis:
“The ref comes in and says the athletic commission has changed it back to the old rules. And I’m like, ‘Whoa whoa whoa, what’s the old rules again?’”
“I was gonna throw a kick [during the fight], but I held it. I pulled back, because it looked like he was in transition of getting back up and I didn’t want a foul. Just because these rules, you don’t know anymore. I couldn’t remember what rules were in.”
Massachusetts, where UFC 220 took place, has been using the new modified rules since January 2017, but since this was the first UFC event in Boston since the new rules, apparently there was some confusion as to what rules to enforce.
Referees backstage allegedly overheard Joe Rogan saying that Massachusetts hadn’t adopted the new rules, they asked Marc Ratner about it, who said in an email that the old rule set would be used.
Some fighters were told the old rules would be in place, while others were told the new rules would according to Gian Villante and Alexander Pendoja, two fighters who fought on the UFC 220 card.
What does the UFC need to do to avoid this confusion in the future?