Sidekick Boxing

A Comprehensive Guide to MMA Rules, Regulations & Techniques

In the history of martial arts, there have always been debates about which martial art is the best and in 1993, the UFC had their first ever fighting event with only three rules: no biting, no eye gouging and no groin shots.

The original UFC consisted of a variety of different styles of martial artists coming face-to-face to see who had the best style of martial arts.

Today, MMA has become one of the most popular combat sports around the world with the superstars of the sport fighting in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

So, What is MMA?

MMA is an abbreviation for Mixed Martial Arts which is a combat sport that is fought in a cage. Some refer to this sport as cage fighting, but it takes more than just stepping into a cage to become a MMA fighter. MMA has evolved since the original UFC days, were it was different styles fighting each other and has now become its own style in itself.

This means that most great MMA fighters have a background in other combat sports like boxing, kickboxing or wrestling. From these combat sports, fighters often progress to learn other styles and work to compete in MMA.

To be a great fighter, you need to know more than just to punch and kick. In MMA, the fight can go to the ground, so a competitor will need to cover all aspects of fighting to become great.

Most fighters will use Muay Thai as their main stand up style as it covers all strikes from the arms and legs.

As the fight can go to the ground, as detailed above, learning fundamentals like grappling and takedown martial art is essential.

Muay Thai, Jiu jitsu and wrestling are the most favourite fighting styles to learn when taking up MMA. This is because jiu jitsu is great for submissions and wrestling is great for takedowns and pinning to the ground.

What are the best styles of fighting for MMA?

MMA has formed its own style of fighting as it merges and combines several styles. Most modern clubs or fight schools now incorporate a mixed martial arts class that will include all the techniques and styles used.

As briefly stated above, the best styles for MMA include three different fighting styles. These three are:

  1. Muay Thai. This style of fighting is best learned to be able to gain the techniques for punches, kicks, knees, elbows and clinching.
  2. Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). This type of fighting style works to build fighting techniques for submissions, locks and chokes. These types of techniques are essential to learn as MMA fights can go to the ground.
  3. Wrestling. This style of fighting is again great for ground work (like Jiu Jitsu above) as well as takedown too.

What other styles of fighting are used in MMA?

Although the styles listed above are the three most essential fighting styles to learn when taking up MMA fighting. However, there are other styles of fighting which can give competitors the edge when it comes to MMA. Three of these styles are below:

  1. Kickboxing/K1. Kickboxing is an essential fighting style to learn if competitors need to hone their punches, kicks, knees and fast pace footwork. This type of fighting also works to coordinate your muscle memory in a swift and skillful way too.
  2. Boxing. Much like kickboxing above, boxing can work to develop MMA fighter’s punches and footwork too.
  3. Kung fu. This type of fighting style is perfect to develop a fast moving striker which can give competitors the edge when it comes to the speed and agility of their fighting styles.

What Are the Basic Rules and Regulations of MMA?

Even though MMA has evolved, it still pretty much has the same set of rules from when it originated: no biting, no eye gouging, and no groin shots. However, the sport is more regulated with the referee closley checking on the fighters saftey and judges scoring each of their performances.

A MMA bout is won but either knockout, submission or points victory. There is also no 10 second count knockdown rule as it wouldn’t work for when the fighter is trying to submit their opponent.

The bout is fought in specific cage, which measures approximately 9m (30 feet) across and 1,85m (6 feet) high. The padded posts and metal mesh were created with both safety and fairness in mind.

Each fighter competes in one of the 12 weight divisions, which is most suited to them. Strawweight is the lightest division with a maxium weight of 115lbs up to heavyweight with a maximum weight of 265lbs. 

You can read a more in-depth article about the weight divisions in MMA in our article here.

What Are the best MMA promotions?

Since the start of the UFC in 1993, many other organisations around the world have set up their own promotion of MMA. The UFC is still recognised at the best MMA promotion in the world, however some of the others have still established themselves as global players. In the U.K, there is many professional MMA shows across the nation with the best being Dave O’Donnell’s UCMMA which is screened live on Sky TV.

The other MMA promotions include:

  • Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
  • Bellator MMA
  • One Championship
  • Rizin Fighting Federation
  • M-1 Global
  • Cage Warriors
  • Ultimate Challenge MMA (UCMMA)

To learn more about the UFC read our article ‘UFC: The World’s No1 MMA Promotion’ Here.

How long is a MMA fight?

MMA is slightly different to other combat sports like boxing and kickboxing. A standard MMA fight consists of three five-minute rounds with one minute intervals and title fights are for five five-minute rounds with one minute intervals. A referee will stop a fight if a fighter taps out due to a submission, when a fighter is knocked out, or when a fighter is no longer defending themselves. 

What equipment should be used for MMA fighting?

If you look back at the very first UFC fights, fighters wore their own disciplines apparel. One would wear some type of shorts and the other would have a Karate suit on.

However, that has changed now and the shorts worn in MMA must adhere to certain rules. The shorts must be made of a breathable, lightweight material and must not have any pockets or zips that could potentially cause injury to the fighters.

Also, MMA equipment is different to other combat sports as the gloves have an open palm style MMA gloves.

This open style of glove is necessary for MMA as competitors can still use their hands to grapple and the padding on the knuckles means that punches can still be thrown safely much like when wearing a boxing glove.

Sidekick has supported many fighters and MMA shows in the UK over the last 10 years like FCC, Shock n Awe, BCMMA(now Cage Warriors South East), EFC.

Final Round

MMA is a fantastic sport that combines the skills of multiple disciplines. And even though MMA is still relatively new compared to other combat sports like boxing, which has been around centuries, its popularity is always growing due to the fact that it tests who is the ultimate fighter.

To learn more about the different MMA organisations and title belts read our article here.


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