What is MMA? – MMA Rules and Regulations

What is MMA? – MMA Rules and Regulations

Mixed Martial Arts, also known as MMA, is a full-combat sport. This sport is based on grappling, ground fighting, and striking. It involves techniques from martial arts and various combat sports around the world. Here is an article with MMA rules to help you better understand this sport. 

Although MMA has emerged in the 1990s, it has attained remarkable popularity and is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. When it comes to growing participation, MMA has recorded an increase of 19.5% since 2013, which is the second-highest after adventure racing (Source).

MMA is also referred to as “cage fighting” or “ultimate fighting.” It is a combination of Western combat sports and bare-handed martial arts. The sport can include techniques of kickboxing, submission wrestling, muay Thai, and Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. Moreover, the sport also draws on various martial arts, including sambo, savate, and judo. 

Fans are highly attracted to the incredible mix of risk and athleticism in this sport. Moreover, people are big fans of the best MMA fighters who are considered to be the most interesting and deadliest fighters. Let’s have a sneak peek into the world of MMA.

What is MMA?

Now the question is, what is MMA meaning? Or what is MMA fighting? MMA is one of the most exciting and dynamic full combat sports on earth. It is a sport in which fighters of any martial art like karate, judo, wrestling, boxing, and jiu-jitsu compete under the rules in which grappling techniques, kicking, and punching are allowed. 

MMA is usually fought in a cage. It is the fighting area, which is enclosed by metal fencing. In amateur competitions, a simple mated area is also used. 

The rules of MMA slightly differ from one promotion to the other as each fighting organization creates unique fighting rules. For instance, UFC rules may differ from that of Strikeforce. 

At the present time, UFC is the largest promotion of MMA. It organizes fight nights across the globe, and it is of several million dollars worth. 

There is no particular governing body for MMA, and there is no proper set of rules that is used across the globe. The rules of different promotions, associations, and federations across the globe may differ. 

Object of MMA

Now that you know what is MMA? Let’s explore the object of this sport.

The object of Mixed Martial Arts is to defeat the opponent utilizing throwing, striking and grappling techniques. In the early years of MMA, the UFC fighters tended to focus on one martial art. Moreover, they tended to be solely grapplers and strikers. However, at the present time, the fighters need to be experts and cross-train to be successful in the sport. 

It clearly means the fighters need to have a base style like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and they also need to incorporate Thai boxing, western boxing, and wrestling to be a part of an all round fight game. Fighters need to perform using a mix of styles to be successful in modern MMA. 

Player and Equipment

MMA is a popular spot that is contested by two people in a ring or a cage. It is usually thought of as an adult sport, but there are junior training sessions also in MMA. Moreover, juniors also compete in competitions. However, in junior competitions, matches are usually not full contact. Any type of dangerous joint locks and strikes to the face are not allowed as they could be dangerous for the players and their growing bones. 

In the adult MMA competition, below mentioned are the weight classes. 

  • Strawweight – Up to 115 pounds
  • Flyweight – Over 115 to 125 pounds
  • Bantamweight – Over 125 to 135 pounds
  • Featherweight – Over 135 to 145 pounds
  • Lightweight – Over 145 to 155 pounds
  • Welterweight – Over 155 to 170 pounds
  • Middleweight – Over 170 to 185 pounds
  • Light Heavyweight – Over 185 to 205 pounds
  • Heavyweight – Over 205 to 265 pounds
  • Super Heavyweight – Over 265 pounds

The cage or ring that is used in MMA matches should be between 20 to 32 square feet. 

MMA is an ultimate one-on-one combat sport, so no other equipment is used in this sport. The only equipment that is allowed is MMA gloves, which are lightweight padded gloves. They allow movement of fingers and also protect the hands while punching. 

MMA Scoring

In the matches of MMA, the scoring is done like other combat sports such as boxing. During the match, three judges sit around the cage, and they score each round. The judges give 10 points to the winner of the round and 9 to the loser. In the rounds with a clear winner, the loser gets only 8 points. 

If the match continues and lasts the complete duration, then the scorecards of judges are added, and the winner is announced. If the scorecards of both the players are equal, then the match is a draw. 

Winning the Match

Below mentioned are some of the ways to win MMA matches.


In case the fight lasts all the rounds, then the result is decided by the scorecards of the judges. The player with the highest points is the winner. 


In this case, one fighter leads the opponent to lose consciousness as a result of striking.

Technical Knockout

In this, the fight is ended by the referee, a doctor, or the fighter’s corner. The reasons for this include continuing a fight that could put the health of the fighter at risk or any fighter unable to defend themselves. 


This is the case in which one fighter puts the opponent into a holding position, and the opponent ‘taps out.’ It also happens in the case when the hold continues, and the fighter refuses to tap out. In such cases, the fighter may lose consciousness, so the referee ends the fight immediately.


The fighters are allowed to forfeit the match before the fight if they cannot fight or are injured.  

No Contest

When both the fighters continuously break the rules, and one fighter is injured unintentionally through illegal action, then no contest can be called.  

MMA Rules

Below mentioned are Mixed Martial Arts rules and regulations. 

  • Fights are organized in a cage or ring that is between 20 to 32 square feet.
  • Each match consists of three rounds. Each round should not last more than five minutes. 
  • During the match, the contestants should use legal throwing and strikes grappling techniques in order to defeat the opponent.
  • In order to ensure a fair fight, the fighters fight with the competitors in the category of the same weight.

Forbidden Attacks in MMA

  • Eye gouging
  • Strike to the groin
  • Biting
  • Head butts
  • Hair pulling
  • Striking or grabbing the throat
  • Manipulating the fingers
  • Attacking orifices
  • Striking the backside of the head
  • Throwing the opponent out of the case (intentionally)
  • Fighters need to listen to the referees and comply immediately with the referee’s instructions

Final Words

MMA is one of the most popular sports at the present time. There is no uniform set of MMA rules. The rules slightly vary according to different promotions, federations, and associations across the globe. Now that you know what is MMA, enjoy watching the game and do share your experience with us by dropping a comment. 

rashmi saini

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