Now, don’t get too excited here, this isn’t exactly what we’d all want it to be, which would be PRIDE-like knees to a grounded opponent, but it’s a start. MMA fighters are known to be crafty, at least in ways that it comes to skirting around the rules to help defend themselves. Stuff like putting a hand or finger down on the mat to avoid getting kneed by their opponent is a big one. It looks like the ABC, Association of Boxing Commissions, is looking to make an amendment to the Unified Rules of MMA that would leave it up to the referee’s discretion to call a foul on that or not.
“Referees should instruct the fighters that they may still be considered a standing fighter even if they have a finger or portion of the hand (or entire hand) on the canvas. In the discretion of the referee, a fighter who has a finger or hand on the canvas may still be legally struck in the head with knees and kicks. The referee may decide that the downed fighter is placing his or her finger or hand down without doing so for an offensive or countering maneuver in an attempt to advance or improve their position. The referee may decide that the downed fighter is instead simply trying to draw a foul. If the referee decides that the fighter is “touching down” simply to benefit from a foul, the referee may consider that fighter a standing fighter and decide that no foul has occurred.”
I don’t know, maybe it is just me, but does it sound like a good idea to give Steve Mazzagatti, Kim Winslow or any of the other refs a grey area like this?