There will still be no knees the head of fallen opponents.
That’s the major news out of Montreal, where The Association of Boxing Commissions met to make some slight revisions to Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.
It’s unclear what this might mean. The Nevada and California commissions, two of the most powerful MMA regulatory bodies, did not attend the meeting. Forty other commissions, however, did make the trek.
The Unified Rules have been used as regulations across the United States and Canada since their creation in 2001. The rules are often cited as being a major reason for the sudden explosion in the sport’s popularity.
It’s unclear if California and Nevada will adopt the rules. UFC President Dana White, in fact, made it clear that he does not intend to let changes happen anytime soon in a recent Yahoo!Sports.com interview.
Here's a snip from White:
"There’s going to be a fight. And you know I don’t roll over easily."
ABC officials said there was discussion of allowing knees to a downed opponent, but it was determined to be too radical for the dozens of commissions across the country just getting involved in the sport.
The main revision made this week was a clear definition of the "back of a competitor’s head" as the "crown of the head down the centerline of the skill into the spine, with a one inch variance to each side." This means strikes to behind the ear would be legal.
The new definition is not without its critics.
"Behind the ear should be illegal, period," Arizona commissioner John Montano told Sherdog.com in a recent report. "If you want to give one inch and the guy says, ‘I'm sorry. I missed it by an inch.' No, I'm not going to answer to somebody that missed it by an inch. It's very simple. Don't hit behind the ear and you won't miss it by an inch."
Among the creators of the revisions was legendary referee "Big" John McCarthy. He is in favor of the new definition, noting it would prevent strikes after one fighter takes another’s back.
Other highlights out of Montreal include:
Permitting downward elbow strikes.
Making the smothering of the mouth or nose a foul, thus preventing a fighter from using their hand to alter an opponent’s breathing.
Clarifying the recovery period allowed to a fighter on the receiving end of a foul. A fighter who has been struck with a low blow will have up to five minutes to recover. A doctor will determine is a recovery period is granted on all other fouls.
Defining 14 men’s weight classes from 105-pound flyweights to 265-pound super heavyweights. The weight classes would alter the UFC’s current classes.
However, promotions will not be forced to make the changes and it seems unlikely the UFC would be willing to alter its organizational structure.
In fact, White went on the record as saying, "No, we’re not following that," when the new weight divisions were mentioned.
It's hard to say what will happen next, but don't expect anything to change anytime soon ... this appears to be the beginning of a long, protracted battle.