UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner, believes that PRIDE FC fighters — who will soon have to follow the unified rules of the United States athletic commissions — will have no problem adjusting their games to account for the changes, according to a recent interview with MMAWeekly.com.
Under the new guidelines -- as first reported here -- stomps, knees to the head and soccer kicks — major elements of the former PRIDE FC system — will be banned. On the flip side, elbow strikes will be introduced into competition.
There was no mention of keeping the card system, which is used in Japan to warn fighters for stalling and to keep the action moving. However, it seems clear that the only thing that will remain the same since the Fertitta brothers acquisition will be the ring — everything else appears to be headed for change.
Here's a snip from Ratner:
"It's going to be a change for the Pride fighters. They're really going to have to learn, but these guys are all professionals. They've fought a lot of different ways and they'll pick it up with no problem."
Several PRIDE FC fighters have already had a taste of the rules here in the states, whether it has been under the UFC banner or at PRIDE 32/33.
Clearly, the fighters will adjust — there is no other option. How long that process takes and how it affects the outcomes of future fights, however, will be interesting to watch unfold.
In the past, UFC President Dana White has mentioned that he'd like to see knees to the head allowed in U.S. competition. The UFC, however, doesn't make those types of decisions.
And, according to the article and other reports, it doesn't look like much is being done to sway athletic commissions to consider amending the unified rules to include the tactic.
But if it's something UFC executives prefer — as well as the fighters and fans — it seems like now is the perfect time to start lobbying those boards to amend the rules.
Easier said than done, for sure, but it'd be nice.