The ability for a referee to see exactly what you see above was approved today by the NSAC.
That’s right, MMA is getting instant replay, but only in situations where the referee suspects that a fight ending blow was an illegal one like seen above in the Cro Cop-Al Turk fight and in the first Johnson-Burns bout.
The final wording as passed: “A referee at the conclusion of a contest or exhibition stopped immediately due to an injury to an unarmed combatant pursuant to NAC 467.718 and after making a decision, may view a replay if available in order to determine whether the injury in question was caused a legal blow or a foul.”
A referee may now use instant replay to determine whether the action that caused the injury was legal or a foul and make a decision on the fight’s result. Only a referee can decide whether to order a replay.
The new rule could go into effect as early as the next thirty days, although the next Zuffa event isn’t currently scheduled for Las Vegas until November.
This should be a step in the right direction. At this point, it doesn’t look like a fight that’s determined to be stopped on a foul could be restarted, but at least the next guy who gets his eye poked out won’t get an undeserved loss on his record. Hopefully other commissions around the country will adopt the rule as well.
MMA Weekly also tweeted that the NSAC passed new regulation regarding “greasing,” but I haven’t found any details on this yet. I’ll update when I do.
Update: Ok, it turns out the new regulation on “greasing” is really just a clarification on an existing rule. The NSAC had a rule that prohibits “excessive greasing” in boxing, but not in MMA, however they added that today. Keith Kizer explains:
“Boxing rules state that you can’t have excessive greasing. But we clarified that today and made it specific to MMA, that you cannot have any type of foreign substance on your body, hair, gloves or clothing that could result in an unfair advantage,” he said.
“But again it is up to the referee as the sole arbiter to judge whether or not any such foul took place and if it did, how it should be handled.”
They’re calling this “the BJ Penn rule” by the way.
Update 2: The NSAC also approved five round non-title fights for “championship-level athletes.”