MMA Rules & Regulations


In 2001, the New Jersey State Athletic Commission Board (NJSACB) met with other agencies to discuss regulating mixed martial arts. What came out of it was a uniform set of MMA rules and regulations agreed upon and adopted. These rules became the standard for conducting professional MMA events in North America, and for drawing up state and local rules. On July 30, 2009, they became the official "Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts". The following information is based on the adopted rules. View the complete MMA Rules and Regulations for details.

Definition of MMA

The uniform rules defines mixed martial arts as: "unarmed combat" (competition in which a blow may be expected to cause injury) involving ... a combination of techniques from different disciplines of the martial arts, including, without limitation, grappling, submission holds, kicking and striking." (Rules and Regulations; Unified Rules and Other MMA Regulations, 2009)

MMA Weight Classes

*There are some exceptions to these weight rules. See official regulations for details.

The Fighting Ring

MMA competitions are held in a ring or fenced area.

Requirements for the Ring





Protective equipment



Standard MMA apparel consists of:


Round Length

Stopping the Contest


Technical Elements

The following elements are what judges consider most when evaluating an event:


Effective Grappling

Control of Fighting Area

Effective Aggressiveness



A round is scored as a:


Fouls in a competition or exhibition may result in penalties and include:

Head-butting, eye gouging, biting, spitting at the opponent, hair pulling, fish hooking, groin attacks, putting a finger into the opponent's orifice or wound, small joint manipulation, striking downward with the point of the elbow, hitting the spine or back of the head, kicking the kidney with the heel, throat strikes, clawing pinching or twisting the flesh, stomping on an opponent, holding an opponent's article of clothing, using abusive language, engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct, throwing the opponent out of the ring, applying a foreign substance to the hair or body to gain an advantage, and more.


Types of Results


Discover UFC, Rules and Regulations; Unified Rules and other MMA Regulations. Retrieved on August 30, 2012, from

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