Rules Change: Kicking/Kneeing a Downed Opponent

Rules Change: Kicking/Kneeing a Downed Opponent


Hi sports fans.  On July 31, during the 2013 annual meeting of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), members of the Association are expected to discuss changing the rule that you cannot kick or knee an opponent in the head when that opponent has intentionally downed him or herself.

The rule change as it is written was co-authored by Nevada’s Keith Kizer, Ohio’s Bernie Profato, and New Jersey’s Nick Lembo, and attempts to address such instances when a fighter is attempting to benefit from drawing out a foul from his or her opponent.

The rule reads as follows:

Referees should instruct the fighters that they may still be considered a standing fighter even if they have a finger or portion of the hand (or entire hand) on the canvas. In the discretion of the referee, a fighter who has a finger or hand on the canvas may still be legally struck in the head with knees and kicks. The referee may decide that the downed fighter is placing his or her finger or hand down without doing so for an offensive or countering maneuver in an attempt to advance or improve their position. The referee may decide that the downed fighter is instead simply trying to draw a foul. If the referee decides that the fighter is “touching down” simply to benefit from a foul, the referee may consider that fighter a standing fighter and decide that no foul has occurred.

If a referee decides that a fighter is “touching down” to avoid getting hit in the head, then that ref, at his or her discretion, may choose to penalize said fighter with a warning or point deduction for timidity.

A recent example that comes to mind of the “3 points” rule is Mighty Mouse Johnson vs. John Dodson at UFC on Fox 6 earlier this year, where Johnson had standing side control against the fence of Dodson, and Dodson, bent over, continually placed his fingers on the canvas so as to not be kneed in the head.  A knee did occur, however, and ref Big John McCarthy allowed Dodson time to recover.  Under the proposed new rule, such a strike could be ruled legal, allowing action to continue.

What are your thoughts on this?  I am particularly concerned that this is all up to the discretion of the referee, and not a stead fast rule, like “you cannot kick someone in the groin.”  Leave your comments below!

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