Commission Clarifies "Back of the Head" Rules for MMA

Picture_13_medium From MMA Junkie:

The Association of Boxing Commissions recently held its annual conference in New Orleans, and a number of revisions and clarifications to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts were approved by the attending members.
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Among the topics addressed were the addition of weight classes first discussed on 2008, a clearer definition of "the back of the head," and the place of downward striking elbows in the sport.

In short, the ABC elected to keep the weight classes as they are, discarding a previous recommendation to greatly expand the number of weight classes. This is probably a good thing as the expansion was pretty radical, but it's still a disappointment to those of us who would like to see a 206-230lb cruiserweight class open up.

More important was the clarification on which areas of the back of the head are illegal to strike. The debate had been between refs who followed a "headphones" line that prohibited strikes anywhere between the ears on the back half of the head, and those who protected only the narrower "mohawk" zone -- a thin stripe down the back of the head. The ruling was a Solomonic compromise:

"Strikes are not permissible in the nape of the neck area up until the top of the ears. Above the ears, permissible strikes do not include the Mohawk area from the top of the ears up until the crown of the head. The crown of the head is found where the head begins to curve.

In other words, strikes behind the crown of the head and above the ears are not permissible within the Mohawk area. Strikes below the top of the ear are not permissible within the nape of the neck area."

They also ruled that only downward elbow strikes -- "12 to 6" or "ceiling to floor" -- are illegal and strikes to the top of the head from guard are allowed.

Image via MMA Junkie.

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