While browsing North Carolina's code of regulations last night, likely making me the only human ever to do so of his own free will, I noticed they have some pretty extensive rules governing mixed-martial-arts matches. It was news to me that MMA has any rules at all, but at least in North Carolina the state has, by regulation, set forth a long list of acts that are considered "fouls."
It makes sense that most of these, including "holding the shorts of an opponent," should be considered bad form at a minimum. There's at least one in this list, though, that really doesn't seem to belong. See if you can spot it:
The following are types of fouls in a mixed martial arts contest:
- Butting with the head.
- Eye gouging of any kind.
- Hair pulling.
- Groin attacks of any kind.
- Putting a finger into any orifice [!] or into any cut or laceration on an opponent.
- Small joint/single digit manipulation, finger and toe locks.
- Striking to the spine or back of head.
- Striking downward using the point of the elbow. (Arcing elbow strikes are permitted).
- Throat strikes of any kind, including grabbing the trachea.
- One or two handed chokes applied directly to the trachea or windpipe.
- Knuckle gouging to the face or any part of the body including into the throat.
- Clawing, twisting or pinching the flesh.
- Grabbing the clavicle.
- Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.
- Kicking the front of the opponent's knee.
- Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent.
- Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck.
- Stomping on a grounded opponent.
- Kicking to the kidney with the heel.
- Throwing, lifting, pushing, or otherwise forcing an opponent out of the ring area or fence area.
- Holding the shorts or glove of an opponent.
- Spitting on an opponent.
- Engaging in any unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent.
- Holding the ropes or cage.
- Using abusive language or illicit gestures in the cage or ring area.
- Attacking an opponent on or during the break.
- Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee, medical personnel or other ring officials.
- Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded to end the round.
- Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee.
- Timidity, including avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece, delaying the contest due to improper equipment, or faking an injury.
Given that MMA fighters are voluntarily engaging in a sport that needs the first 31 rules, I was a little surprised to see "timidity" on the list. Especially as a "foul."
I'd also like to see a ref's signal for that one. Running around the ring with arms flailing would seem appropriate.