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17th Feb 2017

There’s a weird rule which states that fighters on this weekend’s UFC card can actually win by low blow


Darragh Murphy


We could be in for some controversy at UFC Halifax this weekend.

On Sunday night, the Octagon sets up shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia and, according to the laws in the Province, a contentious finish could be in the offing as low blows are not considered a legitimate reason for a fight to end.

More often than not, low blows are not severe enough to force a fighter out of the bout. Typically it involves a five-minute recovery period and usually they’re just fine to fight on.

But we have seen fights in the UFC come to an end after the uncomfortable thud of shin into cup. Depending on whether it’s deemed intentional or not, that scenario typically results in a no contest or disqualification.

However we shouldn’t expect that in Halifax as Canadian combat sports law expert, Erik Magraken, has found an interesting quirk to the regulations.

In the Province, the Nova Scotia Boxing Authority is the governing body of mixed martial arts events as MMA is a combat sport and, in Nova Scotia, combat sports are defined as boxing, meaning the Authority does not differentiate between the two sports.

You follow?

Magraken points to section 146 of the current regulations, and double checked with the Province for good measure, as proof that, theoretically, a low blow can actually result in victory for the perpetrator.

146 (1) No boxing match shall be terminated by a low blow, as the protectors that are used by boxers are sufficient protection to withstand any low blow that might otherwise incapacitate either of the boxers.

(2) If a boxer falls to the ring floor or otherwise indicates an unwillingness to continue because of a claim of a low blow foul, the boxing match shall be terminated and the referee shall award the boxing match to the opponent.

There is also an ‘off the books’ regulation which is used in the promoter-fighter contract which essentially states that contestants put their faith in their protective equipment – in this case a cup – and agree that no strike should be able to penetrate the protective properties of the equipment.

6. (1) The Contestant agrees to equip himself/herself with a foul-proof guard/chest protector of his/her own choosing.

(2) It is expressly understood that this contest is not to be terminated by a low blow, as any foul- proof guard selected by the Contestant is, in the Contestant’s opinion, sufficient protection to withstand any so-called low blow that might otherwise incapacitate the Contestant.

As pointed out in Magraken’s piece, it is more likely that the Unified Rules of MMA would be allowed to supersede the Province’s unusual regulations should a low blow force a fighter out of a contest on Sunday night.

But it’s certainly an interesting quirk to point out.