opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Spike.)
MMA has come a long way from its No Holds Barred beginnings. Once the New Jersey State Athletic Commission created what's now known as the Unified Rules of MMA, it changed the sport for the better. It gave it legitimacy, made it safer, and most importantly got it legalized in most states.
Yet there were some oversights, omissions, and misconceptions made that haven't been addressed in the years since they were drafted. Here are five that I personally think should be changed for the betterment of the sport and especially its participants.TOUCHING THE MAT WITH THE TIPS OF YOUR FINGERS SHOULD NOT COUNT AS BEING A "DOWNED OPPONENT"
Players often employ this tactic in order to avoid being kneed in the clinch or in a front chancery. Or, more cynically, there are fighters who do this knowing that a knee is coming in order to have the referee take them out of a position that they know they would otherwise not be able to escape. That wasn't the original intention, but it's a loophole that gets exploited pretty frequently. Changing the definition to having your back to the mat or at least one knee on the ground should suffice.NO KICKS TO THE KNEE
Speaking of knees, this is one is already illegal in some, but not all, states. Directing your kicks at your opponent's knees is akin to a cheap shot, and really isn't that far removed from a shot to the groin. You really don't see this often because it's frowned upon in most circles, but it's still allowed and occasionally happens. Time to shut it down.NO ELBOWS ON THE GROUND
We still have that strange rule where 12 to 6 (which is to say downward) elbows are illegal, which was done because someone drawing the rules once saw a karate demonstration. Yet elbows on the ground, which have created some of the most unnecessarily gory and brutal finishes in recent memories, are fair game. If you have full mount on an opponent and are in a position to finish it with elbows, won't punches suffice? It's true that elbows on the ground are banned in quarterfinal and semifinal Bellator tournament fights, but why stop there?GRABBING THE CAGE IS AN AUTOMATIC POINT DEDUCTION
Everybody knows this is against the rules, but unfortunately they also know that you can get away with at least one (sometimes more) with just a warning. But it's not as if these are accidental, like an errant strike that occurs near the vicinity of the back of the head. This is another rule that you don't see exploited in every fight out of respect for the sport and other fighters, but there are still those few out there that take advantage of the fact that they know they can get away with it. It might have been necessary when the sport consisted of fighters from various disciplines who may not have trained in an actual cage, but the sport's been around long enough that a warning is no longer necessary.NO SUPLEXING AN OPPONENT ONTO HIS HEAD
We don't allow blows to the back of the head or spiking an opponent (like a pro wrestling style piledriver) head first to the mat. Yet a suplex where the opponent lands on his head is perfectly legal, even though it both impacts the back of the head and puts pressure on the neck and increases the risk for paralysis. So why is it legal?
What other rules or changes to the sport would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.Image Credit: David S. Holloway/ Getty Images News