What Are The Rules And Regulations Of MMA?

Mixed Martial Arts

MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. It's still relatively young compared to the four major American sports. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the promoter of this athletic competition, biggest in the United States and worldwide. This is a 1-on-1 physical competition between opponents. Each contest is held inside a cage, or commonly known as the octagon.

Weight Classes

Men and women fight based on divisions of weight. An athlete must weigh-in the day before action and meet their registered weight in order to compete.

Men MMA Divisions

  • Flyweight (125 lbs.)
  • Bantamweight (135 lbs.)
  • Featherweight (145 lbs.)
  • Lightweight (155 lbs.)
  • Welterweight (170 lbs.)
  • Middleweight (185 lbs.)
  • Light Heavyweight (205 lbs.)
  • Heavyweight (206-265 lbs.)

Women MMA Divisions

  • Strawweight (115 lbs.)
  • Flyweight (125 lbs.)
  • Bantamweight (135 lbs.)
  • Featherweight (145 lbs.)


Fighters are ranked by journalists to provide a hierarchy. Champions are always placed atop their division. The No. 1 contender qualifies for a championship bout. Higher ranked fighters earn larger paychecks. Lower ranked fighters must defeat opponents above them to move up the ladder of success.


  • Men only compete against men. Women only compete against women.
  • Each fighter must weigh the same, 24 hours prior to competition.
  • Two opponents fight inside the octagon with a referee inside.
  • The fighters are given three rounds to determine a winner.
  • Each round is 5 minutes in length.
  • Kicking and punching is allowed. No eye gouging.
  • Fighters earn paychecks based on their rankings and can earn bonuses from individual performances.

Ways to win

There are multiple ways an MMA athlete can win a fight.

  • Knock out, when a fighter is determined to no longer intelligently defend themselves from punches or kicks, the referee steps in to end the bout.
  • Submission, when an opponent grabs an arm, leg or choke around the neck and forces the fighter to tap, the fight is over.
  • Decision, if a fight goes the full length (15 minutes), three cage side judges score the fight. Based on a 10-point scale, the winner will be awarded victory by judge’s decision.