Sunday, November 1, 2009

By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

I wonder if a creative MMA entrepreneur would want to make something of this idea...

The time has come to form a new organization that will actually represent and respect the martial arts and all who are involved. That’s right, a brutal competition which will not abide trash-talking by the fighters or organization CEOs.

There will be no greed, no backbiting, or crooked business ethics. And demonstrations of poor sportsmanship by the athletes or their corners will not be tolerated.

This new organization shall be called simply, The World Martial Arts Championships (WMAC). It will welcome both men and women competitors. All WMAC applicants must hold a first degree black belt or higher (or a red sash for Kung Fu) in at least one recognized martial arts discipline.

In order to compete, the athletes would be obliged to be sponsored by their dojo. The WMAC head referee must hold a master’s rank in at least one recognized martial arts discipline and all mat officials must hold a first-degree black belt or higher in one or more disciplines.

The athletes shall not be paid. They will compete to win the prestigious World Martial Arts Championships. Additional motivation may include competing for themselves, for support of their dojo, their students or instructors, and will be to show that their style of Martial Arts is the best—perhaps they'll want to test their skills for all of those reasons.

The WMAC will absorb the cost of the athlete’s transportation (from anywhere in the world), lodging and medical examinations. Here’s how the WMAC would work:

The WMAC shall be self-governed and detached from interference from the State Athletic Commissions. Similar to the original UFC's inception, its event format will consist of an open weight class, eight-man tournament. A random draw will determine the contestants initial match-ups.

To be declared champion, an athlete must win three consecutive single elimination fights in one event: the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final match. Alternates will be available to replace competitors in the event of injury. And that is where the parallel between the UFC and the WMAC ends.

Unlike the UFC's early regulation, alternates cannot be declared champions unless they are called to step in from the very beginning. However, they will receive an automatic bid to compete in the next event.

Also, if an athlete wins a fight but cannot continue to the next round due to injury, a "loss" will not be entered in his or her record. Instead, a "no contest" will be recorded. Should a match go the distance, five judges decide on the winner.

The WMAC regulations:

Fighting Surface

Different from the current MMA format, the World Martial Arts Championships won’t take place in a cage or a ring. They'll be no ropes to get tangled up in or a cage to be squished up against. Instead, the WMAC will use a circular mat, similar in looks to a freestyle wrestling mat—only much larger.

Ten feet inside the outer edge of the mat will be a circular blue line, and five feet closer to the edge will be a circular red line. These circles will act as borders. The fighters are not permitted outside of the blue line while engaging in stand-up, and they must stay within the red line while grappling.

Any competitor who crosses either line as a means of escape is subject to a yellow card. Two short black lines in the center of the mat are where the fighters stand behind to receive pre-fight instructions.

Athlete and Referee Attire

Each athlete must wear the full uniform representing the discipline in which they were trained. In the event a fighter holds black belts in multiple disciplines, they must select one on the same day as their pre-fight physical.

The head referee and the mat officials must also wear the uniform of their respective disciplines. The fighters are not permitted to wear gloves or hand-wraps, and shoes, pads or foot-wraps are not allowed. A mouthpiece and a cup are mandatory.

The WMAC rules are what will separate it from other Martial Arts Events. For instance, no hand strikes to the head achieve two things: This rule is necessary if interference by the States Athletic Commissions is to be prevented. The rule also avoids the need for gloves. It's not a tough-man contest.

However, knees to the head are permitted when both fighters are standing, and knees to the body are permitted from any position. Elbows to the head or body are permitted from any position.

(1) Each match shall be 20 minutes in length.

(2) No groin strikes, head-butting, biting, fish-hooking, or eye-gouging.

(3) No hand-strikes to the head, face, or neck, and no hand grips of any kind to the face or throat.

(4) Kicking to the head is permitted only when both fighters are standing. However, up-kicks are permitted from a downed fighter only if the opponent is standing and with no other limbs on the mat.

(5) Knee-strikes to the head or neck are not permitted when one or both fighters are in the down position.

(6) A yellow card will be given at the discretion of the referee as a warning for stalling or fouling. Three yellow cards result in immediate disqualification.

(7) A red card will be issued at the discretion of the referee for a flagrant foul that injures an opponent. A red card results in immediate disqualification.

Ways to end the match:

(1) Decision

(2) Knockout

(3) Referee stops the fight

(4) A fighter submits by tapping out on the mat or on his opponent, or verbally submits

(5) Disqualification

(6) Corner throws in the towel

(7) Doctor stops the fight

A big part of the WMAC is its simplicity. In comparison to the amount of rules and regulations incorporated by some mainstream MMA organizations, such as the UFC, (which has 31 rules and regulations), the WMAC would have less than half that number.

And since the athletes won't be paid or be forced to sign locked in contracts, the financial and commercial pressure to win will be virtually non-existent. Consequently, athlete steroid use loses its motive and appeal.

Naturally, mainstream MMA fighters would be welcome to try the WMAC. Of course, they would have to abide by the same rules and regulations as everyone else. And if an MMA fighter should be defeated, the loss will will not go on their record because the fight would be classified as an "exhibition match."

We know that the UFC won't permit their guys to compete elsewhere, but many other MMA organizations have no such restrictions. Who knows? Adventurous MMA fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko, Gabriel Gonzaga, Anderson Silva, Gegard Mousasi, or Alistair Overeem might find the lure of the WMAC just too intriguing to pass up.

Now, wouldn't that be compelling.



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