An Overview of UFC MMA Rules for Traditional Martial Artists

What is Mixed Martial Arts?

Mixed martial arts can mean many different things to different people, and it is my belief to learn as much as you can, or if you have a fighting style learn how to apply it against/incorporate other techniques. The official definition for Mixed Martial Arts according to the UFC website is:

“Mixed martial arts means unarmed combat involving the use, subject to any applicable limitations set forth in these Unified Rules and other regulations of the applicable Commission, of a combination of techniques from different disciplines of the martial arts, including, without limitation, grappling, submission holds, kicking and striking.”

I would probably count kicking as striking but ehh.

MMA Weight Classes

These are the basic weight classes:

Class Name Weight
 Flyweight 125 lbs and under
Bantamweight 125 to 135 lbs
 Featherweight 135 to 145 lbs
 Lightweight 145 to 155 lbs
 Welterweight 155 to 170 lbs
 Middleweight 170 to 185 lbs
 Light Heavyweight 185 to 205 lbs
 Heavyweight 205 to 265 lbs
Super Heavyweight 265 pounds

MMA Ring

A UFC MMA ring can be between 20 and 32 feet in diameter.

MMA Attire

Basically board shorts, biker shorts, or anything that wouldn’t get in the way. Gi’s and uniforms are not allowed, mainly due to certain chokes that are performed easier when one opponent has a gi and the other doesn’t

MMA Fouls

This is just a rough overview of the don’ts in the ring. Some of these I think would be common sense for the safety of both fighters, but then again everyone has their own opinion.

There are no….

head butting
Eye gouging or biting
Spitting at an opponent
Hair pulling
Fish hooking
Groin attacks of any kind
Putting a finger into any orifice or any cut or laceration of an opponent
Small joint manipulation
Striking downward using the point of the elbow
Striking to the spine or the back of the head
Kicking to the kidney with a heel
Throat strikes of any kind, including a trachea grab
Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
Grabbing the clavicle
Kicking or kneeing the head of a grounded opponent
Stomping a grounded opponent
Holding the fence
Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
Using foul language (Words hurt sometimes more than punches)
Unsportsmanlike conduct that causes injury to an opponent
Faking injuries
Throwing opponent out of ring
Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck
Applying any foreign substance to the hair or body to gain an advantage

How to Win the Match

Submission can be obtained by physically or verbally tapping out.

Knockout when Referee stops the contest, when an injury as a result of a legal maneuver is sever enough to terminate a bout, when contestant being rendered unconscious due strikes or kicks (aka a knockout)

Decision via the scorecards, including Unanimous Decision, Split Decision(all three judges score differently), Majority Decision (2 out of 3)

Draw includes Unanimous Draw, Split Draw, and Majority Draw

Then a few less common decisions:

Disqualification – for cheaters
Forfeit – Throw in the towel Adrian
Technical Draw – you both are winners
Technical Decision
No Decision – Nobody wins, nobody looses, but we all get to go home and  and kick it.

I think it beneficial to understand how mixed martial arts even if you do not agree with it. I work for and hope that in the future there can be a shared common ground between traditional and mixed martial artist, and that each one uses they other to improve. Personally I believe there needs to be more athletic and stamina training in for the tradition arts, and MMA needs more humility and respect towards all forms of martial arts.

For a complete list of the rules to the UFC MMA fighting you can visit

MMA Training Training for UFC and Mixed Martial ArtsGet The Best MMA Conditioning Available

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Carlo St. Juste Jr., L.Ac

Hi my name is Carlo and I'm a licensed acupuncturist in California with over 10 years experience in exercise and health. My martial arts background consists of eight years training in various martial art styles, and I look forward everyday to helping people discover the healing powers within themselves.

4 comments for “An Overview of UFC MMA Rules for Traditional Martial Artists

  1. December 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm
    I don’t have any problem with MMA even though I don’t watch it. Any sport that requires strength, discipline and the ability to adapt is ok in my book.
  2. January 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm
    I like MMA because it puts aside what is the “best martial art” and focuses more on the individual. I don’t like the cocky attitudes of some of the fighters and there is too much glam. Fighting was a means of life and death for centuries and it should have that respect. Besides that I think there is a lot of room for the sport to grow.
  3. March 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm
    I play boxing but i like MMA as well, I think being in martial arts both games are quite different as mentioned above the rules, MMA involves more techniques and Boxing is just revolves around Punching power and punching accuracy. Cheers for Great post. MMA Stance recently posted..MMA StanceMy Profile
  4. March 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm
    Hi Thanks for stopping by mma stance, both have a uniqueness to them. Alot of MMA fighters incorporate boxing into their fighting styles.
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