July 15, 2008

After a tumultuous week of reactions from numerous commissions and public figures concerning the new rulings passed by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), the state of California has released a statement concerning changes they will or won't be adopting when concerning the new rules.

The statement did clearly define how California will deal with the new rules, but they also pointed out the importance of their Rule 533 which states:

"Recognizing that different forms of martial arts exist, notwithstanding any rule in this division to the contrary, the commission may, in its discretion, authorize alternate rules or provisions from time to time for full contact martial arts championships and exhibitions so long as the safety and welfare of the contestants and the public are not jeopardized."

Essentially, the state can authorize alternate rules as long as health and safety concerns are not compromised.

Regarding the ruling for what defines the "back of the head" when dealing with illegal strikes, the California State Athletic Commission has released a diagram of what they will use when defining and illegal strike.

"The back of the head is from one ear to the back of the other ear and as outlined in the diagram above. Only the referee can determine if a blow was legal or a foul and if a foul, if it was accidental or intentional. Intentional fouls that cause injury require a mandatory two-point deduction. Intentional fouls that do not cause injury require a mandatory one-point deduction. In determining point deductions for intentional fouls the referee may consult with the ringside physician."

The state of California has also stricken the ABC's ruling to allow elbow strikes defined as "12 to 6'oclock" or elbows that are thrown in a straight downward motion from a fighter above his head down onto his opponent. This move will still be considered illegal in California.

The "smothering" rule, which was outlined by the ABC in their most recent meeting to disallow a fighter from covering the mouth of an opponent with hands, forearms or by other means, will also be enacted in California and is considered "an unsportsmanlike trick or action and is therefore prohibited under the rule."

One major change the state of California is not on board with is the ruling of newly created weight classes. The commission defines the weight classes in MMA as the following and also said it strongly recommend the ABC seek out the guidance of medical professionals to best determine weight differential guidelines.

Rule 510. Weights and Classes.


Flyweight: through 125 lbs. - No more than 3 pound difference

Bantamweight: 125.1-135 lbs. - No more than 5 pound difference

Featherweight: 135.1-145 lbs. - No more than 6 pound difference

Lightweight: 145.1-155 lbs. - No more than 7 pound difference

Welterweight: 155.1-170 lbs. - No more than 8 pound difference

Middleweight: 170.1-185 lbs. - No more than 8 pound difference

Light Heavyweight: 185.1-205 lbs. - No more than 12 pound difference

Heavyweight: 205.1-265 lbs. - No more than 20 pound difference

Super Heavyweight: 265.1 lbs. and over - No limit


Lightweight: through 125 lbs. - No more than 3 pound difference

Middleweight: 125.1-135 lbs. - No more than 5 pound difference

Light-Heavyweight: 135.1-150 lbs. - No more than 6 pound difference

Heavyweight: 150.1-175 lbs. - No more than 12 pound difference

Super Heavyweight: 175.1 lbs. and over - No more than 15 pound difference

It was also stated that the weight differences listed are a guideline and not a rule as to who will be allowed to fight by the commission.

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