ABC Approves Instant Replay in MMA

Image: IMMAF Board Representatives review match footage with coach following a complaint at the 2015 IMMAF European Championships

Article by Dane McGuire, U.S. Correspondent

In early February the Association of Boxing Commissions & Combative Sports (ABC) passed the use of instant replay. Replay passed by a 7-0 vote with one abstention. It is already available in the state of Nevada per BloodyElbow.com.

However, use is limited to fight ending sequences that contain a foul, regardless of intention.

See the full rule HERE.

“We wanted to do it where it had very strict, narrow criteria,” Commissioner and former Bellator MMA commentator Sean Wheelock said. “I think for this to work, you have to have parameters…It was more of a matter of us looking at ways to improve the sport and looking at other sports,” Wheelock said. … “If this technology is there, why not use it?”

In addition, the ABC ruled that should a fighter lose control of bodily functions (vomiting, urination, etc…) during rest periods, the doctor for the event will be called upon in similar fashion to bad cuts. While reports of related incidents are rare in combat sports, this opens the door to technical knockouts due to “loss of bowel control.”

Should the situation not be resolved before the start of the next round, the fighter will be given a loss by TKO. Although, fecal matter will definitely end the contest.

Per Bloody Elbow: “If fecal matter becomes apparent at any time, the bout shall be halted by the referee, and the offending combatant shall lose the contest by TKO.”

“The impetus for the bodily function rule change came from a 2015 pro-am event at a roller-skating rink in Topeka, Kansas. One fighter was on the way to a dominant victory but vomited all over the mat in between the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Wheelock thought it was a biohazard and the fight should be stopped, but he didn’t know exactly what to do.”

With these new changes coming to the sport, IMMAF.org recaps a pair of examples where instant replay could have been used following the fight ending sequence:

Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie III – Bellator 149 (February 19, 2016)

Looking to close the book on his rivalry with the winner of UFC 1, Shamrock protested the ending to this fight because the stoppage came after alleged uncalled knees to the groin. Shamrock filed a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, asking for the result to be overturned to a no-contest. However, this was unsuccessful.

Travis Browne vs. Gabriel Gonzaga – The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale (April 13, 2013)

These two UFC heavyweights collided in 2013 with Browne claiming a TKO victory, delivering elbows from a standing position, his back against the fence as Gonzaga worked for a single-leg takedown. Gonzaga’s camp appealed the loss as a series of strikes prior to the stoppage landed upon, if not extremely close, to the illegal ‘back of the head’ area. However, the appeal was put down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

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