alan-belcher-eye-injury.jpgFrom the rubble of weirdness that we saw in New Jersey this past weekend, the UFC is looking to build something useful.

Maybe build isn’t the right word. More like reshape, refine, refocus. It’s about time, too. Because no matter how official and infallible it sounds when we talk about the most holy Unified Rules (peace be upon them), we sometimes make the mistake of assuming that they can’t or shouldn’t be changed, neither of which is at all true.

We didn’t find these rules on a stone tablet atop a mountain, after all. These are just rules that people made up, and not always for the best of reasons. Even the U.S. Constitution has been amended and then re-amended to un-amend some of the earlier amendments. If an entire nation can decide to stop drinking and then take it up again, the MMA world can figure out what to do about eye pokes and grounded fighters.

Fortunately, the UFC now seems committed to pressing the issue with the Association of Boxing Commissions, and not a moment too soon. In fact, it might even be several moments past due, especially for fighters such as Gian Villante, who went home from UFC 159 with a pain in his eyeball and a loss on his record.

But changing rules in a sport like MMA is no small thing. For years UFC President Dana White has publicly complained about commissions and refs and rules and judges, but the UFC has mostly declined to try to do anything about it. That’s because it’s a strange situation to begin with.

Here we have one organization that dominates the landscape of the sport, and yet is not in charge of determining its own rules and regulations. Most other major sports don’t have that problem. If the NFL decides it wants to crack down on late hits or even change the definition of a forward pass, it doesn’t have to petition members of various government bureaucracies who have no real stake in the matter. It decides those matters internally, puts them to a vote, and that’s that. The UFC, as White likes to remind us, is regulated by “the government.” Kind of. In some places. And while the UFC doesn’t always like what those government agencies do (looking at you, Swedish MMA Federation), it’s generally pretty good about abiding by their decisions, even if it grumbles and complains every step of the way.

But by now it ought to be clear to anyone who’s paying attention that MMA has some issues with the existing rules. Some make no sense (Joe Rogan would be happy to explain why the 12-to-6 elbow ban is ridiculous), others are poorly understood/enforced (get poked in the eye in an MMA fight, and it’s anybody’s guess what will happen next), and others have proven to be less satisfying in practice than in theory (let your fingertips graze the mat, and you are magically transformed into a grounded opponent).

The UFC is where the majority of fight fans see these issues played out, and it’s the UFC that usually ends up dealing with the headaches when it’s all over. And yet the UFC has no explicit power to fix the problems that it encounters on an almost weekly basis, which is crazy.

What the UFC does have is influence. It has the largest megaphone in the sport, which means it can (subtly or otherwise) up the pressure on the commissions to fix what’s broken. According to UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, that’s exactly what the UFC is going to do via a formal request to the ABC, which means that maybe the UFC has come around to the idea that, like it or not, it is the closest thing this sport has to a full-time guardian.

I can understand why the UFC might have been reluctant to embrace that role. Especially when you don’t get to make or change the rules, it seems unfair that you should be held accountable, whether implicitly or explicitly, when those same rules lead to frustrating and avoidable screw-ups. But if recent events have taught us anything, it’s that the UFC has the most to lose by doing nothing.

It might fight for rules changes and get nowhere. As referee John McCarthy once predicted, it’s easier to convince athletic commissions to add new rules than strip rules away. That’s because creating more restrictions on the violence two people can inflict on one another just feels safer. Sometimes that safety is illusory – an elbow to the head hurts no matter where on the clock it comes from – but it allows the commission members to go home feeling like they did their jobs. Asking those people to do away with the rules that aren’t helping the sport may be a tough sell, but it’s worth it to try.

And, just as with the slow, reluctant march toward increased drug testing, the UFC deserves credit for taking the lead. We can criticize the organization for being overbearing or nowhere near transparent in other areas, but you don’t see any other promotion taking these necessary steps toward better regulation.

Whether it wanted the job or not, the UFC is the organization out in front, which also makes it the organization with an obligation to make the sport better for both fans and fighters. With its request to improve some of MMA’s murkier rules, the UFC seems to be coming around to the notion. Now let’s hope the commissions know a good idea when they hear one.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Eddie Ng Unfazed by Having to Face Renzo Gracie Black Belt Ariel Sexton

  • 21 days ago
  • 3 views

Eddie Ng is unfazed by the change of opponent as he heads into ONE Champion: Warrior's Quest, where he'll now face Ariel Sexton. read news >>

Offical Reebok sponsorship numbers lower than initial estimates

  • 28 days ago
  • 42 views

The official UFC Reebok sponsorship numbers are out and it looks like they're a bit lower than many were expecting. The UFC's deal with Reebok has been a wait and see experience for many fighters. Th read news >>

Preview: UFC 187 'Johnson vs. Cormier' title fight provides welcome change of pace from Game of Bones

  • 12 days ago
  • 2 views

Losing a dominant athlete in his or her prime is not a unique situation in sports. One of the best to ever shoot hoops, Michael Jordan, skipped town at the height of his success to go play baseball w read news >>

Six thoughts on UFC Fight Night 67, an event that (thankfully) broke the mold

  • 3 days ago
  • 18 views

UFC Fight Night 67 broke the rules of what we’ve come to expect from a FOX Sports 1 event from Brazil that’s sandwiched between two pay-per-view events. That’s a good thing.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fight Night 67 Results: 4 Fights for Thiago Alves to Take Next

  • 3 days ago
  • 8 views

Everything can change in the blink of an eye. It's a tired cliche, but for Thiago Alves Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 67, it was the brutal truth. After he probably won a competitive—if relativel read news >>

Video: UFC 187 weigh in results for 'Johnson vs. Cormier' with live updates

  • 12 days ago
  • 9 views

The official UFC 187 weigh in event for "Johnson vs. Cormier" is set to pop off a little later this evening (Fri., May 22, 2015), streaming LIVE in the embedded video player above from inside the MGM read news >>

Patrick Holohan vs. Vaughan Lee official for UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow

  • 8 days ago
  • 0 views

Patrick Holohan will return to European UFC cards in July. The Irish talent is set to collide with Vaughan Lee, who cuts down from bantamweight to 125 pounds, at the UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow, Sc read news >>

Video: Anderson Silva tells Jon Jones to change 'everything' in his life, not return to UFC anytime soon

  • 15 days ago
  • 194 views

Jon Jones is in the midst of "soul-searching" after being arrested last month on felony hit-and-run charges in Albuquerque, N.M., and stripped of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) world title read news >>

The official 'UFC 189: Aldo vs. McGregor' promo will give you goosebumps

  • 9 days ago
  • 2221 views

If the official UFC 189 trailer doesn’t get you excited for this summer’s Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor UFC title fight, it’s likely nothing will.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Watch the UFC 187 Official Weigh-In Streaming Live on Friday at 7 PM ET

  • 12 days ago
  • 3 views

The 24 fighters competing on the UFC 187: Johnson vs. Cormier pay-per-view fight card on Saturday will officially weigh in on Friday at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT. read news >>