Several amendments to the unified rules of mixed martial arts took effect on the first day of this year, designed to remove some of the blind spots in the rule set which, detractors say, were open to being taken advantage of my fighters.
Chael Sonnen, who faces Tito Ortiz in the main event of this weekend’s Bellator card, isn’t particularly a fan.
The previous rules indicated that if a fighter had one hand on the canvas he was to be considered a grounded fighter. Now that this is no longer the case, Sonnen argues that it could lead to fighters picking up unnecessary damage.
Speaking to MMAFighting, Sonnen said: “I don’t know them all yet. I know what a grounded fighter is, which makes the sport extremely more dangerous. One thing this sport did not need was more danger. It’s a pretty wide-open combat sport. I was very surprised that rule got passed, I was very surprised that anybody suggested it.
“Any part of the body, other than a single hand and soles of the feet touching the fighting area floor. To be grounded, both hands palm/fist down, and/or any other body part must be touching the fighting area floor.
“A single knee, arm, makes the fighter grounded without having to have any other body part in touch with the fighting area floor. At this time, kicks or knees to the head will not be allowed.”
Considering these comments, it will be very interesting to see if Sonnen takes advantage of them should the opportunity present itself against Tito Ortiz on Saturday night.