MMA is one of the most complex and physically demanding sports in the world.

While fighters compete in different weight classes with unique physical abilities, there are some basic ground rules that govern how matches play out.

Here are 10 important rules that every MMA fan should know.

1. Rounds

Each round is five minutes long with a one-minute break in between. There are no rounds longer than five rounds or 25 minutes and fighters are only allowed to compete for up to 25 minutes within 24 hours.

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2. Role of referee

The referee is the only individual authorised to stop a contest, and their authority begins when the inspector(s) exit the cage/ring and does not end until they re-enter upon the conclusion of the fight.

3. Instant replay

In order to evaluate a “Fight Ending Sequence,” instant replay is permitted only after a fight has been declared over.

This means that if there is a questionable stoppage, the referee can take a look at it again to make sure it was the right decision. However, once instant replay has been used, the fight cannot be resumed.

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4. Mouthpieces are mandatory for all fighters.

During the match, all fighters must wear a mouthpiece. Without a mouthpiece, the match cannot begin.

If it falls out during a fight, the referee will call time and have it replaced at the earliest possible opportunity. If the referee believes the mouthpiece is being intentionally spit out, points may be deducted.

5. During the knockout

MMA bouts are conducted in a ring and if a fighter is knocked out of the ring, they must return to the ring unassisted. If assisted, they may lose points or be disqualified. Fighters have 5 minutes to return once knocked from the ring but will need to be examined by a ringside physician before returning to action.

6. Application of Petroleum Jelly

In the event that the fighter’s face needs a reapplication of petroleum jelly or a similar substance, it may be done between rounds by an approved cutman or a licensed cornerman.

7. Unforeseen, non-combat related issues

In MMA, if a fight is stopped for any reason other than fighting, it goes to the scorecards if 1/2 plus one second (1/2 + 1 sec) of the rounds have been completed. If it’s before 1/2 of the rounds have been completed, then it’s called a “No Contest.”

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8. Hand Wraps

There are a few specific rules when it comes to wrapping your hands.

  • Fighters are allowed a maximum of one roll of white cloth gauze (no more than 2” wide by 15 yards in length) and one roll of white athletic tape (no more than 1.25” wide by 10’ in length) per hand.
  • Tape can be placed through the fingers, but may not cover the knuckles.
  • The exposed thumb is an option to be protected.
  • You are also allowed a single layer of elastic or flex-type tape over the completed wrap.

There are a few different approved brands of tape/gauze that are allowed in MMA. So, if you’re not sure which brand to use, ask your coach or the person wrapping your hands.

9. Joint/Body Coverings

There are no protective gear or taping allowed on the upper body besides gloves. Knee and ankle sleeves are permitted but must be soft and not provide any padding or unfair advantage.

10. Cage/Ring Attire

Mixed martial arts competitions have a variety of rules in order to maintain the safety and fairness of the athletes.

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All competitors must wear appropriate gear, which generally includes gloves, mouthpieces, and appropriate groin protection for men, and a sleeved or sleeveless rash guard and sports bra for women.

No clothing on the upper body for men and shorts that do not extend below the knee. Female competitors must also cover their bottoms in a similar way to the males.

Hair must be secured safely so it doesn’t interfere with the fight and no objects like jewelry can be worn that could cause injury.

Cosmetics are also not allowed during competition. These rules are in place to ensure that the athletes can compete safely and fairly.

Final Thoughts

Mixed martial arts is a full-contact sport that allows a wide range of fighting techniques, from a variety of other combat sports, to be used in competition.

The rules of mixed martial arts competitions have been designed to protect the athletes and promote the sport.

These 10 rules are some of the most important ones that every MMA fan should know, especially MMA fighters.

By understanding and following these rules, fighters can help to ensure that their matches are fair and safe.

What other rules do you think are important in MMA? Let us know in the comments!