Rules

International Professional MMA Rules (English)


Swedish MMA Federation

Rules for International Professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

(Note: Approved techniques and Unauthorized Techniques ARE the same as in the Unified Rules)

RULES APPROVED BY: The Martial Arts Delegation (governmental licensing authority) decision number: 216-05801-2010)

Version 2011-05-09

§ 1 Event promoter
1.1 The event promoter shall ensure that all laws and regulations are met during the course of the competition.
1.2 The event promoter shall appoint the officials and personnel required for the competition, ensuring that they have appropriate education and experience.
1.3 The event promoter shall apply for sanctions no later than three (3) months in advance of the competition date.
1.4 After the conclusion of a competition the event promoter shall provide the SMMAF with documentation on results and, when applicable, injuries and suspension periods.

§ 2 Event coordinator
2.1 An event coordinator shall be appointed for each competition.
2.2 During the course of the competition the event coordinator shall be the contact person for official authorities such as the police, the fire department and the governmental licensing authority.
2.3 The event coordinator shall manage all officials and personnel during the competition.
2.4 The event coordinator shall ensure that all officials and personnel perform their tasks as required.

§ 3 Contestants
3.1 The contestant shall be at least 18 years of age.
3.2 The contestant shall be in very good physical and mental form.
3.3 The contestant shall be well prepared to compete in mixed martial arts.
3.4 The contestant shall have documented experience of competing in professional full contact martial arts.
3.5 When entering a competition the contestant is responsible for ensuring that all relevant martial art experience is communicated to the matchmaker.
3.6 The contestant is limited to participating in one match per day.

§ 4 Database
4.1 All information regarding a competition shall be stored in a database.
4.2 The contestants shall be registered in the database along with information about them, entailing the database to be used as a digital match book. It is the responsibility of the matchmaker to enter the contestants in to the database.
4.3 Planned matches shall be entered into the database. This is the responsibility of the matchmaker.
4.4 Results from matches shall be entered into the database. This is the responsibility of the secretary.
4.5 When applicable, information on knockouts and suspensions shall be entered into the database as documented by the contest physician. This is the responsibility of the contest physician.

§ 5 Matchmaking
5.1 A matchmaker with extensive experience of mixed martial arts and matchmaking on a high professional level shall be responsible for matching contestants.
5.2 The matchmaker is charged with the responsibility of matching contestants based on all relevant facts regarding the contestants (weight, height, previous matches, other martial arts experience, previous knock-outs and so forth). When possible, the matchmaker shall audit video accounts of the contestants’ previous matches.
5.3 All matches shall be evenly matched, taking the physical shape and competitive experience of the contestants into account to ensure that only evenly matched contestants compete with each other. The previous experience of a contestant in other martial arts shall be taken into consideration.
5.4 The matchmaker shall ensure that all contestants as well as all planned matches are entered into the database.

§ 6 Weight classes
6.1 Opposing contestants shall be closely matched in terms of weight. In heavyweight however a larger difference in weight can be accepted. The matchmaker shall determine a weight which both contestants of a planned match shall be able to match on the day of the weigh-in. The weight shall be approved in good time by both contestants and event promoter.
6.2 At the event of a title match set weight classes apply.
6.3 Weight classes:
Flyweight: -56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Bantamweight: -61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Featherweight: -65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Lightweight: -70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Welterweight: -77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Middleweight: -83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Light Heavyweight: -93.0 kg (205 lbs)
Heavyweight: -120.2 kg (265 lbs)
Super Heavyweight: +120.2 kg (over 265 lbs)

§ 7 Weigh-in
7.1 The contestant shall meet a set weight within a prescribed time at the official weigh-in of the competition, as supervised by officials appointed by the event promoter.
7.2 At the weigh-in the contestant shall produce photo identification and hand in a certificate for negative hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV tests. The tests shall be no older than one year.
7.3 The contestant shall be weighed without clothes no later than 3 hours and no earlier than 32 hours before the match starts.
7.4 If the contestant weighs more than the set weight at the first weigh-in he/she is allowed to weigh in again later. Weight loss is however limited to 3% of the body weight on the first weigh-in. If the first weigh-in takes place one day before the match a weight-loss of 5% is allowed.

§ 8 Contest physician & Medical exam
8.1 Two licensed physicians shall be appointed contest physicians.
8.2 The event promoter shall hand over documentation on the contestants before the medical exam that takes place before the match. This documentation shall contain certificates for negative hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV tests.
8.3 The contest physician shall examine all contestants before the match. If a contestant is deemed by the contest physician to be out of shape, suffering from injury or illness, affected by drugs or narcotics, mentally unbalanced or in any other way not fit to participate in the match, the contestant shall not be permitted to compete. Check-list: heart, blood pressure, pulse, lungs, hearing, teeth, evidence of a hernia, musculature, skin, negative hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV tests.
8.4 A contest physician shall be present during each match. The contest physician shall interrupt the match if he/she deems a contestant unfit to continue. In such an event the contest physician shall immediately call for the attention of the referee by throwing a towel into the ring or sounding a signal.
8.5 If a contestant needs assistance in getting back to the corner for the round break, he/she shall be examined by the contest physician who among other things shall examine balance and responsivity when standing without support.
8.6 After a match is concluded the contest physician shall examine the contestants. When applicable, injuries and suspected injuries shall be documented.
8.7 The contest physician shall always consider a ”worst case-scenario”. This means that he/she shall be risk averse when making judgment calls.
8.8 If the contest physician finds it necessary for the contestant to have further examinations he/she shall send the contestant to the hospital.
8.9 In the event of a suspected injury (for example a light concussion), the contest physician is allowed to detain the contestant for further observation. The contestant shall in such an event stay on site (or, if applicable, the competition hotel) so that the contest physician can conduct a follow-up exam within a couple of hours. At such a follow-up exam the contest physician shall determine whether the contestant needs to be sent to a hospital for further examination and care, or recommend follow-up treatment, or if the contestant is in no need of any further care. At the follow-up exam all such decisions and conclusions shall be documented and added to the overall documentation required to be handed in to the MMA Association by the contest physician.
8.10 The contest physician shall document, when applicable, knockouts and the exams that followed in hospitals or elsewhere, periods of suspension and the like.

§ 9 Referee
9.1 Every match shall be overseen by a licensed referee with extensive experience of mixed martial arts.
9.2 The referee shall be dressed in a shirt and dress pants and shall wear soft shoes so that no damage or discomfort is inflicted on the contestants.
9.3 The referee shall be physically fit in order to stay alert, close to the contestants and able to intervene when necessary so that the contestants’ safety is kept on as high a level as possible.
9.4 The referee shall ensure that both contestants are wearing appropriate protection.
9.5 The referee shall ensure that all parties involved in the match abide by the rules.
9.6 The referee shall put the contestants’ safety first and immediately stop a match if and when it is apparent that one part is so superior that the other stands the risk of being injured, if one of the contestants is in a questionable position of disadvantage, or if one of the contestants is not defending him/herself properly.
9.7 The referee has three commands during the match: ”FIGHT” tells the contestants that the match has started; initially, after a time-out or after a round break. “STOP” tell the contestants to cease fighting and stay in the current position. “BREAK” tell the contestants to cease fighting, separate and assume a neutral position.
9.8 The referee shall stop the match if and when a contestant uses unauthorized techniques or breaks the rules.
9.9 The referee shall ensure that unauthorized techniques are not used to the advantage of one contestant.
9.10 The referee shall disqualify a contestant if he/she or his/her coaches deliberately, severely or repeatedly breaks the rules.
9.11 The referee shall stop the match if anything is thrown onto the fighting area. If a coach or a contest physician throws in a towel or something equivalent the match is to be stopped.
9.12 At the event of an accident or foul the referee can issue a time-out in the match, allowing for one of the contestants to recuperate in up to five (5) minutes.
9.13 At the event of a foul that consists of a blow or kick to the groin area (so called low blow) the referee shall, upon request from the injured contestant, issue a time-out in up to five (5) minutes, allowing him/her to recuperate.
9.14 The referee shall stop the match at the sound of the signal that marks the end of a round.
9.15 The referee shall raise the arm of the winner when the results of the match have been made public by the speaker.

§ 10 Judge
10.1 Every match shall be judged and the score is to be kept by three SMMAF licensed judges with extensive experience of professional mixed martial arts.
10.2 The judges shall sit separated from the audience as well as each other.
10.3 The judges shall remain neutral during the course of the match other than when identifying a break of the rules. In such a case the judges shall notify the referee during the round break.
10.4 The judges shall keep score and award points to the contestants for each round independent of each other. They shall also independently fill out the scorecard for each round.
10.5 The winner of a round is awarded 10 points while his/her contestant is awarded 9 points for dominance, 8 points for substantial dominance and 7 points for total dominance. If the round is very even then both contestants are awarded 10 points.
10.6 At the end of a match the judges shall summarize the points for all rounds.
10.7 The judges shall hand over the scorecard with the results of the match clearly marked.
10.8 The judges are not allowed to leave their place until the match is over and the results have been relayed.
10.9 A person who functions as a manager, whether a written agreement exists or not, is not allowed to stand as neither referee nor judge in a match where he/she represents one of the contestants.

§ 11 Supervisor
11.1 For each MMA competition the SMMAF must appoint a supervisor.
11.2 The supervisor shall ensure that all functions and areas of responsibility are handled in an appropriate manner.
11.3 The supervisor shall be available to staff from the governmental licensing authority.
11.4 The supervisor shall take note of the result and type of bout result for each match.
11.5 The supervisor shall ensure that the results are entered into the database upon completion of the competition.
11.6 When applicable, the supervisor shall assist the contest physician with entering knock-outs and suspension periods into the database upon completion of the competition.
11.7 The supervisor shall document and report all possible deviations to the SMMAF.

§ 12 Timekeeper
12.1 A timekeeper shall be appointed to ensure correct timing of rounds as well as round breaks and time-outs in the match.
12.2 The timekeeper signals the start of each round.
12.3 The timekeeper shall indicate when fifteen (15) seconds remain of a round break.
12.4 When the referee signals a time-out it shall not count as part of the round. The clock may not be stopped by anything other than a time-out signaled by the referee.
12.5 The timekeeper is responsible for keeping the time from the point where the referee stops the match. The timekeeper shall notify the referee when the time-out reaches 4.5 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.

§ 13 Speaker
13.1 A speaker shall be appointed with the task of keeping officials, personnel and audience informed of the competition over loudspeaker.
13.2 The speaker shall announce the names of the contestants, ring corner and weight before they enter the ring.
13.3 The speaker shall call on the coaches to leave the fighting area before the match starts as well as when the timekeeper indicates that 15 seconds remains of the round break.
13.4 The speaker shall announce the number of the round before each round starts.
13.5 The speaker shall announce the name and ring corner of the winner.

§ 14 Coaches (Seconds)
14.1 The contestant shall have no less than one (1) and no more than three (3) coaches.
14.2 The coaches are only allowed to enter the fighting area in close proximity to his/her contestant’s ring corner during round break.
14.3 During the round break no more than two (2) coaches are allowed on the fighting area. All equipment must be removed from the ring at the end of the round break and the coaches must also ensure that the fighting area is kept dry and clean to prevent slipping.
14.4 During the round break the coaches are required to inform the referee of any injuries or other impediments acquired by the contestants.
14.5 The coaches shall bring towels to the ring so that if they find their contestant unable to continue they may throw in the towel, thus forfeiting the match.
14.6 The coaches can give advice, assistance and encouragement in a contained manner during the course of the match.
14.7 The contestants can be told off, warned or disqualified for an offense against the rules made by his/her coaches.

§ 15 Fighting area
15.1 The fighting area shall be well enclosed so that the contestants don’t stand the risk of falling out. It can be a standard boxing ring or a ring with a safety fence.
15.2 Boxing ring: Sizes can vary; the basic requirement is a shock absorbing floor that is fenced with 3-4 padded ring ropes expanded between 4 poles (ring corners). These corners are covered in padding. Measures must also be taken to ensure that the contestants are not injured if falling out of the ring (for example with shock absorbing floor outside of the ring area)
15.3 Ring with a safety fence: The purpose of the walled ring is to avoid the risk of contestants falling out of the ring during the fight and thus suffer injuries. Sizes vary, the basic requirements is a shock absorbing floor that is fenced with a plastic covered net (wall) expanded between 8 poles. These poles as well as the lower and upper rim around the net are covered in padding.

§ 16 Length of the match
16.1 A match shall contain three (3) rounds.
16.2 One round shall last five (5) minutes.
16.3 The round break shall last 60 seconds.

§ 17 Compulsory equipment
17.1 Approved competition gloves provided by the event promoter.
17.2 Approved competition shorts made in a durable material and designed in such a way that they can’t inflict injury on any of the contestants.
17.3 Protective groin cup.
17.4 Mouthpiece.

§ 18 Gauze & tape
18.1 Hands and knuckles may be wrapped in gauze.
18.2 Tape may be used for fastening as well as strengthening the gauze. The tape may however not cover the knuckles.
18.3 The velcro fastening on the match gloves shall be taped so that they don’t come undone and injure any of the contestants.
18.4 Taping and wrapping shall be controlled before the velcro fastening on the glove is taped.
18.5 The official controlling taping and wrapping of hands shall clearly state that such an inspection has been made, for instance by signing the tape on the outside of the glove.

§ 19 Approved techniques
19.1 Strikes, elbows, kicks and knees against head, body and legs in stand-up position.
19.2 Strikes and elbows against head, body and legs when the opponent is in an active ground position.
19.3 Kicks and knees against body and legs when the opponent is in an active ground position.
19.4 Kicks and knees against the head of a standing opponent from an active ground position.
19.5 Stomping the opponent’s feet.
19.6 Throws and takedowns.
19.7 Submission techniques (locks and chokes etc.).

§ 20 Unauthorized techniques
20.1 Strikes, kicks or knees against the spine or the back of the head.
20.2 Strikes against the larynx or gripping of the same.
20.3 Downward attacks using the back of the elbow.
20.4 Throws where the opponent is intended to land solely on his/her head and/or neck (so called spiking).
20.5 Locks on fingers and toes (so called small joint manipulation).
20.7 Stomps against body and head when the opponent is in an active ground position.
20.8 Kicks and knees against the head when the opponent is in an active ground position.
20.9 Heel kicks against the kidneys.

§ 21 Fouls
21.1 Attacking a lying down or in other ways defenseless opponent.
21.2 Rubbing the body (other than the face) with vaseline, liniment or the like.
21.3 Excessive use of vaseline.
21.4 Head-butting, eye-poking, biting, scratching, pinching, hair-pulling, groin attacks and poking the mouth or cuts.
21.5 Throwing the opponent out of the fighting area.
21.6 Grabbing on to the rope or the safety fence.
21.7 Grabbing the opponent’s shorts or gloves.
21.8 Attacking the opponent before the match has commenced, during a time-out, during the round break or after the match is over.
21.9 Attacking an opponent who is being examined by a judge or contest physician.
21.10 Attacking the opponent’s groin area.
21.11 Competing in an unsportsmanship like conduct that causes injury to the opponent.
21.12 Strikes aimed specifically against the throat, including gripping the opponent’s larynx.
21.13 Cursing or using abusive language.
21.14 Making abusive gestures.
21.15 Ignoring the instructions of the referee.
21.16 Displaying an aggressive behavior against the referee or other officials.
21.17 Interference by coaches.
21.18 Purposely dropping/spitting out the mouthpiece.
21.19 Inactivity and passivity.
21.20 Simulating being hit in the groin area.
21.21 Contestants are not allowed to wear any objects of metal nor any jewelry during a match.

§ 22 Falling
22.1 If a contestant falls to the ground due to a takedown, throw, hit, surprise or loss of balance the match continues as long as the contestant can put up a proper defense and takes an active ground position.

§ 23 Strike down
23.1 If a contestant is struck down and can’t put up a proper defense and/or stays down the referee shall interrupt the match immediately (referee stops contest RSC).

§ 24 Warning
24.1 In the event of a lesser inadvertent offense (using an unauthorized technique or committing a foul) the referee shall interrupt the match, examine the condition of the contestant and issue a warning.
24.2 The referee can issue a deduction in points in conjunction with the warning.

§ 25 Disqualification
25.1 In the event of an intentional, serious or repeated offense the referee as well as the supervisor may disqualify the contestant.

§ 26 Restart in the same position
26.1 After a warning has been issued and an examination has been conducted by the contest physician or the like, the match shall be restarted in the same position as before it was interrupted.

§ 27 Restart after inactivity
27.1 The referee can restart the match in a neutral position (standing) if the contestants are in a stalemate or aren’t actively seeking to better their position or aren’t actively working on finding advantages and dominance.

§ 28 Types of bout results
28.1 Submission – The contestant surrenders by tapping the opponent three times or verbally informing the referee.
28.2 Towel – The contestant’s coaches stops the match by throwing in the towel.
28.3 The referee stops the match (Referee Stops Contest, RSC). The referee is required to do so if he deems the match as too uneven, if one of the contestants isn’t putting up a proper defense, if one of the contestants has been hit hard (encompasses but is not limited to so called Technical Knock Out/TKO and Knock Out/KO), or if the recuperation time or a medical examination of a contestant has lasted for more than five (5) minutes.
28.4 Judges decision – Three judges name the winner.
28.5 Disqualification – If a contestant is disqualified the opponent is awarded the win.
28.6 Walkover – If an announced contestant is ready on site in the fighting area and gets stood up by the opponent he/she is awarded the win.

§ 29 Criteria’s for judging
29.1 The contestant awarded the win of the round is the one who controls and dominates the match and who is most effective in the areas of: striking (blows and kicks), fighting in standing position, clinch (wrestling in standing position), throws/takedowns, position control, striking during ground fights and attempted submissions. The techniques should be well carried out, being solely aggressive is not rewarded.
29.2 Lying on top in a guard position (meaning ground fight with the opponent’s legs around the upper body), shall only be considered a dominant position if the contestant attempts to finish the match (effective striking or attempted submissions) or improve his/her position (such as passing the guard). A contestant who solely pins the opponent down without active attempts to win shall not be considered dominant.
29.3 If the contestants are equal in their offense the defensive techniques shall be considered: blocking strikes and kicks, defense against takedowns, turning a bottom position into a top position or a standing position.
29.4 If the contestants are evenly matched both offensively and defensively the contestant who was most active and attempted to win the most should be awarded the win.

§ 30 Draw
30.1 If the score at the end of the match is even the match is ruled a draw.
30.2 In the event of a title match the judges must rule a winner (i.e. state a winner on the scorecard).

§ 31 No contest & scorekeeping at the event of an unintended foul
31.1 A match can be judged to be “no contest” (i.e. nullified). This can be done during or after a match.
31.2 Reasons for ”no contest” is for example if the match is disrupted or stopped as a result of outside interference, at which it no longer can be continued.
31.3 If a contestant by accident gets injured as a result of an unauthorized technique (such as head-butting) and if the match consequently has to be stopped, then the match shall be judged “no contest” provided that the injury in question occurs during round one or two.
31.4 If a contestant is unable to continue fighting due to an unintended foul after the conclusion of round two, the points shall be added up and a winner announced.
31.5 If an injury caused by an unintended foul during round one or two is made worse by authorized techniques and this injury causes the match to be disrupted during round three, then the points awarded until the match was stopped shall be added up.

§ 32 Protest
32.1 If a contestant or his/her coaches finds the result of a match to be incorrect then a protest can be handed in to the event coordinator within 48 hours upon conclusion of the match.
32.2 A protest must be submitted from the contestant’s association (Swedish athletes) or from the contestant’s club/team or manager (foreign athletes), not from the contestant personally.
32.3 The protest shall contain information regarding which match it concerns, what the protest is in regards to, reasons for protesting, how one finds that the match should be judged as well as complete contact information.
32.4 The results of a match shall only be changed if an obvious mistake has been uncovered, one that had an effect on the outcome of the match and was made by the referee, judges or another official.

§ 33 Knockout
33.1 A contestant who was knocked out as a result of a blow to the head, or whose match was stopped by the referee because of several tough blows to the head, shall immediately be examined by the contest physician.
33.2 The contest physician is required to make an assessment on whether or not the contestant needs further examination in a hospital and/or an x-ray of the brain.
33.3 The contest physician shall document, when applicable, knockouts and the exams that followed in hospitals or elsewhere, periods of suspension and the like.

§ 34 Suspension – Quarantine
34.1 A contestant who was knocked out as a result of a blow to the head, or whose match was stopped by the judge because of several tough blows to the head which made him/her defenseless and unable to continue, shall not be permitted to participate in a competition or sparring match during a period as specified in paragraph 34.3
34.2 The contest physician has the right to decide on a suspension even if a match was not stopped if he/she deems it necessary due to the contestant having received many tough blows to the head.
34.3 One knockout – No earlier than four weeks after the match.
Two knockouts during a period of three months – Three months after the match.
Two knockouts during a period of 12 months – One year after the match

§ 35 Doping
35.1 A positive test for doping as according to WADAs (World Anti-Doping Agency) and/or IOCs (International Olympic Committee) doping list leads to immediate disqualification.
35.2 The contest coordinator is required to facilitate and aid in the implementation of doping tests run on the contestants.
35.3 If a contestant refuses to participate in a doping test he/she immediately disqualified.

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