ABC Updates Rules For Knee/Ankle Sleeves In MMA and Highlights Eye Pokes

3 min read
Read the updated Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) new rules sets on Knee/Ankle sleeves In MMA and eye pokes

Two MMA guys fighting in the UCF

ABC Updates Rules For Knee/Ankle Sleeves In MMA and Highlights Eye Pokes

Read the updated Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) new rules sets on Knee/Ankle sleeves In MMA and eye pokes

Location: Orlando, FL

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Photo by: espnmma

The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) just conducted their annual 5-day conference in Niagara Falls, New York, this past Wednesday. The association decided to create two rule changes to the unified rules of MMA.

Ankle and knee Neoprene sleeves

The first rule change allows for ankle and knee Neoprene sleeves to be worn by fighters. This decision previously was left to the discretion of local athletic commissions, but now ankle and knee Neoprene sleeves are accepted across the board, with ABC making way for a couple opportunities both in and out of the competition scene.

Does this help grapplers?

This rule update particularly affects grapplers, as the sleeves, wherever they are, often add a tremendous amount of grip compared to bare, sweat-drenched skin. A fighter could technically wear both knee and ankle sleeves on each of their legs and have a meaningful grappling advantage over his or her opponent… Plus, athletics aside for a moment… new sponsorship opportunities could be on the horizon too for grapplers with new ankle and knee compression “billboards” available.  

The complete rule change explains the following:

“A competitor may use soft neoprene-type sleeves to cover only the knee or ankle joints. Approved sleeves may not have padding, velcro, plastic, metal, ties, or any materials considered to be unsafe or that may create an unfair advantage. Neoprene sleeves are not considered equipment or clothing and may not be grabbed advantageously inside or as clothing can be grabbed by self. Tape and gauze or any materials other than the approved sleeves are not permitted on the lower body. The sleeves must be black in color with the exception of matching the athlete’s commission-assigned corners with the sleeves being blue or red or colored as appropriate.”

Eye Poking

The next update focuses on eye pokes and now offers fighters an automatic 5-minute allotment to recover from the foul. This rule was previously left to the local commission’s discretion or the referee. Now the adjustment will be effective across the ABC.

“A fighter who has received an eye poke as called by the referee is allowed up to five minutes to recover from the foul as long as the ringside doctor confirms the fighter may possibly continue in the contest once recovered… If the fighter states they can see and wish to continue and is confirmed by doctor, the referee shall as soon as practical, restart the fight. If the fighter goes over the five-minute time allotment, the fight cannot be restarted, and the contest must come to an end with the outcome determined by the round and time in which the fight was stopped.”

Unfortunately, this updated rule change won’t limit the number of eye pokes in a given match. Fighters, mostly in the UFC, have often complained about the construction/structure of the Official UFC gloves, stating that they force their fingers straight and thus unintentionally cause more eye pokes.

The above said, these new rule unifying changes encourage fighter’s safety and offer a more enjoyable/easy-to-follow sport where we can expect unified rules from state to state and country to country.

For more of the latest Grappling news, check back here at Rolling Times Media.

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