Referee John McCarthy Explains Significant MMA Rules and Scoring Criteria Changes

Big John McCarthy

The Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) earlier this year approved several significant, and some minor, changes to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which is the standard set of rules by which most commissions operate.

Some of the more significant changes include what constitutes a grounded fighter, fingers extended toward an opponents eyes being considered a foul, and a revamp of the scoring criteria. 

Despite official wording in the rules, there is often room for further interpretation, which could put many referees and judges at odds. In hopes of further unifying those following the unified rules, the California State Athletic Commission enlisted pioneering referee John McCarthy  to help explain the thought process behind some of the new rules, as well as the new scoring criteria. 

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McCarthy helped write the original Unified Rules nearly two decades ago, and has been an active referee in the sport throughout its development.

It’s certainly no magic bullet that will alleviate everyone’s concerns with how fights are refereed and judged, but for those commissions that agree to abide by MMA’s Unified Rules, McCarthy’s video could go a long way toward more consistent refereeing and judging.

(Courtesy of CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs)

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