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Effective immediately, ONE FC has adopted full PRIDE rules for soccer kicks. Catch ONE FC: Rise of Kings on Oct 6!
The rules change follows the controversial ending to Sylvia vs. Arlovski IV, which followed a confusing application of the rule in the Phil Baroni vs. Rordigo Ribeiro fight.
Former Pride Rules Director Yuji Shimada called for an "Open Attack" then reversed himself and then again called for an Open Attack with Ribeiro did not appear to be offering any intelligent defense at all.
Arlovski vs. Sylvia was worse.
Sylvia was solid in the first, but faded in the second, partially losing his mouthpiece from a straight right, and then eating two rights that sent him to the canvas.
Arlvoski followed up with two soccer kicks and the fight appeared to be over. However, under ONE FC's unique rule set, the referee has to signal that soccer kicks are allowed, and this Yuji Shimada did not do.
By the ONE FC rules in play at the time of the fight, if a player is downed, before a standing player can execute a soccer kick or kicks, the referee must first determine that the downed fighter can intelligently defend himself and then signal to the standing player that an "Open Attack" is now allowed, making soccer kicks ok. However much sense the rules makes in theory, or doesn't, it is not in reality practical, and is gone.
The bout was ultimately declared a No Contest. It is difficult to see how an NC could have resulted from a fighter being unable to continue following an foul. Under standard rules sets, if there is a (non low blow) foul and a fighter cannot continue, if the foul was intentional, then the offending player loses. If the foul was unintentional and sufficient time has passed in the fight, it goes to the judge's scorecards. Only if the foul was unintentional and insufficient time had passed would there be a No Contest.
It does not appear that the soccer kick was unintentional, so the NC remains a mystery.
However, the odd rule set of the ref signalling soccer kicks are open has been tabled. The rule would be a complete non starter in a regulated bout - in the event the downed player is injured, the rule screams for a lawsuit. In the unregulated environment in which ONE FC operates, they can do whatever they want to, and the dropping of the open-soccer-season-on heads-signal makes for less fan confusion.
"This was a decision that came about from our last five events," ONE FC CEO Victor Cui said. "We keep looking to evolve and improve. For future fights and future fighters, this will make the event better. This last event we had the confusion with Arlovski, for example. The 'open attack' rule was confusing for the fighters and it was also confusing for the fans.
"I think this will simplify and clarify for all parties."
"The 'open attack' rule sounds great in principle but it's very difficult to implement in the heat of the fight. Ensuring the safety of the fighter continues to be protected by the referees in a timely manner. This gives the fighter an opportunity to continue to fight without having to worry about waiting for an 'open attack' or not. It also allows the referee to jump in and stop the fight if he feels the fighters' safety is at risk."
"It's not necessary that the Unified Rules are the best rules in the world. There's a lot of room for adaptation; for changes.
"And if you look at the fact that our judging is not on the 10-point must system, that alone changes the dynamics of a fight and how a fighter approaches a fight for ONE FC.
"What we want to adopt is a global set of rules. I really think that everything about ONE FC is a blend of taking the best practices of East and West. We want to put that together. It's what makes exciting fights. It makes fighters excited to compete in our organization. And it ensures the safety of our fighters, which is the most important thing."
While ONE FC still prohibits the stomps that were allowed in Pride, it is hard to imagine how the adoption of soccer kicks on a downed opponent further ensures fighter safety.
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