UFC 182's main event between Jon Jones & Daniel Cormier is a perfect example of why the Unified Rules for MMA need to be updated.
I believe that this fight shows why some rules need to be more clearly defined, and why some rules need to be added.
I am specifically talking about what is considered an illegal action, and what should be done when a fighter engages in illegal action.
Several times during the fight Jon Jones was breaking clearly the rules. Some of these incidents were seen by referee Herb Dean, some weren't. Many were seen & commented on by Joe Rogan - much of the time Rogan was speaking of illegal actions by Jones in a positive way, as if he was doing something right when the rules clearly say he wasn't.
Fort he purposes of this article I will reference two webpages on the rules. One is the Wikipedia page on the unified rules (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_martial_arts_rules) and the other specifically references the California rules. (http://www.dca.ca.gov/csac/stats_regs/calregs_ch2.shtml#ch2art1) I realize the event took place in Nevada & not California... but the rules generally cross over among states once implemented.
Violating one or two of these rules might not matter, but when you repeated violate the rules it has a cumulative effect that can negate the legitimate actions of a fighter. At the very least, engaging in illegal activity (or "dirty tactics" not technically against the rules) can alter the overall outcome of a fight.
Some of the infractions I witnessed by Jones for this fight were:
Grabbing the opponent's glove
Strike to the throat/neck
Strikes to the knee
Reaching inside an opponent's glove
Grabbing the fence
Flagrant disregard of the referee's instructions
The main tactic that I feel drastically effected the outcome of this fight is the way Jones repeatedly used the "oblique kick". I stopped counting after 25, but I can say that only 3 (or less) actually landed on the thigh... the rest were clearly attacking the knee, which is illegal.
Another major offense was how Jones repeatedly grabbed Cormier's gloves. Sometimes he was inserting his fingers inside Cormier's gloves, sometimes he was grabbing the gloves (not the wrist) and more than once it either prevented Cormier from doing anything, or it helped Jones engage in other illegal actions and/or "dirty tactics".
A third major offense was the way Jones repeatedly extended his arms with open palms, with the fingers aimed at Cormier's face. More than once Herb Dean warned Jones about not doing this, as seen when Jones eye poked Cormier & the action had to be stopped.
Sometimes Jones used a combination of these illegal/dirty tactics, like when he held on to Cormier's glove and kicked his knee area. Another example is when Jones went from a strike to the knee into an eye poke.
An illegal action that had an effect on the outcome was in the 5th round when Jones grabbed the fence as Cormier went for the takedown. Sure, Cormier ended up getting the takedown, but the fact that Jones grabbed the fence prevented Cormier's takedown from having maximum effect. There have been times when a takedown/slam has resulted in a fighter getting knocked out... so for Jones to grab the fence potentially saved him from losing by KO/TKO.
One illegal strike by Jones was a side kick to the throat/neck that was so obvious Joe Rogan commented about it. However, Joe failed to mention that a strike to the neck/throat is illegal... he was too busy praising Jones for the attack to actually do his job as commentator.
Speaking of that, Rogan was definitely a cheerleader for Jones through-out this fight. More than once he used spin to say a strike by Jones that actually landed on Cormier's knee landed on the thigh. Rogan also down-played the constant tactic by Jones of grabbing Cormier's gloves/hands by saying he was grabbing the wrist. Rogan even excused the way Jones constantly extended his arms with open hands that meant his fingers were potentially very close to being able to poke Cormier in the eyes.
I feel that the NSAC needs to review this fight, and have Herb Dean, Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, and even Joe Rogan present as they explain what was done wrong, and why techniques that Jones did were illegal.
In addition to this I feel the NSAC needs to change the rules to clearly say that the "oblique kick" is illegal, regardless of whether the person is TRYING to strike the thigh or not. As I stated above, more than 25 times Jones used this technique & ONLY about 3 times did it land NOT on the knee.
Here are some screen-grabs to show a few of the times Jones engaged in either illegal actions or dirty tactics.
|Jones grabbing Cormier's gloves|
|Jones grabbing Cormier's glove|
|Jones extending an open palm playing "patty-cake"|
|Eye poke from extending an open palm|
|Oblique kick to the knee|
|Oblique kick to the knee|
|Grabbing the gloves & kicking the knee|
|Kick to the throat/neck|
|Grabbing the cage|