2017 will see two new rule changes made to the Unified Rules of MMA following a decision made by the Association of Boxing Commissions & Combative Sports.
The first rule change allows referees access to instant replays in the event that it is needed. One example of this would be if a fighter is complaining about being hit in the groin or poked in the eye. The second rule is the ‘bowel control TKO’ under which fight officials could potentially call a fight for a TKO if a fighter vomits, urinates, or loses bowl control in a fight, or between rounds.
Committee chair Sean Wheelock released a statement on the rule changes and how they will play out in the Octagon, to MMAFighting, saying:
“(Officials) may only use Instant Replay when he/she feels that a “Fight Ending Sequence” was possibly caused by an illegal action (foul) whether intentional or unintentional.”
“Once reviewing the replay the referee can either confirm or dispel whether a foul was committed that brought about the fight ending sequence and take the appropriate actions from there,” the rule states.
“We wanted to do it where it had very strict, narrow criteria,” Wheelock said. “I think for this to work, you have to have parameters.”
“It was more of a matter of us looking at ways to improve the sport and looking at other sports,” Wheelock said. … “If this technology is there, why not use it?”
In addition to potential illegal low blows and eye pokes, instant replay of course could help make decisions on whether or not a fighter is declared a ‘grounded opponent’ and is unable to be kicked or kneed in the head.
How do you think the rule changes will play out inside the Octagon throughout the rest of the year? Give us your thoughts below PENN Nation.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/8/2017.