- LONDON CALLING: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

May 17, 2007
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Editorial Column by Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com


content="Expanding a little on the subject of rules and the need for a unified set of regulations for shows, arguably one of the UK's leading referees Grant Waterman, has been doing the legwork trying to instigate a common guideline for fighter safety">




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Expanding a little on the subject of rules and the need for a unified<br /> set of regulations for shows, arguably one of the UK’s leading referees Grant<br /> Waterman, has been doing the legwork trying to instigate a common guideline for<br /> fighter safety

 

Expanding
a little on the subject of rules and the need for a unified set of regulations
for shows, arguably one of the UK’s leading referees Grant Waterman, has been
doing the legwork trying to instigate a common guideline for fighter safety.

 

Waterman
is one of 3 founding members of the National Fighting Arts Commission (NFAC), a
committee that is aiming to position itself as the sole point of regulation for
U.K. based MMA events – not in the capacity of a bully governing body,
but more of a recommended advisory body. He is joined in his quest by Paul
Griffin from the British National Martial Arts Association and Greg Steene from
the World Boxing Federation. As a cohesive unit they have all the credentials
in place to be taken seriously. The question is, will everyone agree to their
view and adopt their system?

 

Changes
are already being made at present with the Cage Rage promotion dropping the
Open Guard rule, effective immediate; due to fighter safety as well as the
potential uphill struggle they would face trying to get other organisations to
include the move. And so it begins…

 

Several
promotions have agreed that the proposed NFAC rules are acceptable to them, but
are not yet full members of the NFAC body. Agreed promotions include: Cage
Rage,
Ultimate Force,
Cage Rage Contenders (including franchise shows), Angrrr Management, ZT
Fightnight, FX3 and finally the Pride and Glory promotion.

 

With new
promotions springing up every fortnight, it will be essential to cover the
groundwork early and to sign up all the major players. In turn, this will put
pressure on smaller shows to fall in line for the protection of themselves and
the fighters. Cage Fight Series are a new Essex based upstart promotion and
they made a big deal on their advertising about having Waterman onboard –
they too are a promotion striving for respect and recognition.

 

Now,
Waterman cannot cover all of the U.K. MMA shows, and that isn’t his intent
either. So he has proposed the regulations to the other U.K. MMA referees and
has received support from the key players in Leon Roberts, Marc Goddard and
Mark Woodard

 

And what of
the UFC? It is well documented that the UFC values the rules in place as
dictated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). So much so that when
they ran UFC 70 in the unregulated MEN Arena, they chose to adopt the NSAC
rules by default, a move they have openly stated they will duplicate when they
run the new PRIDE shows in Japan (also unregulated). It appears that the UFC
will not be endorsing the NFAC rules and are looking to form their own
committee over here in the U.K.

 

In any
case, the NFAC will be approaching them with a view to the adoption of the
rules, if they choose to bypass them, then they will be a stand-alone against
the rest of the U.K. if the NFAC achieves it’s aim.

 

Timing is
critical at the moment and the NFAC would like to see the U.K. MMA scene
conform to one set of recognized rules within the next 6 months in order for
Sport England to take the sport seriously and for the NFAC committee to attain
Quango status. From there they can look to source additional financial support
as well as lottery funding* to funnel resources back into the sport, resources
such as a members database for fighters, timekeepers, judges, referees and
runners. These resources are currently unavailable from a sole point and new
promotions have to hunt around, sometimes cutting corners due to cost and other
times due to lack of awareness.

 

In summary,
the NFAC proposal is a welcome one that will benefit all involved with the sport
on this soil. How the UFC behaves will be interesting, but I would like to see
them be supportive of the move as they could also offer valuable experience
from the U.S. and NSAC that we are currently lacking. For the gain of the sport
as a whole, and let’s face it, the UFC will be looking at British fighters for
the foreseeable future, so it will have a vested interest in their wellbeing
too.

 

href="http://www.nfac.co.uk/index.htm">CLICK
HERE for more information on the NFAC and the proposed rules.

 

*
The UK runs a twice weekly lottery that generates revenue for charitable
donations, investments into sport, drama and the arts – grants can be
applied for and serve to promote development of talent back into the UK.

 

 

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