Illegal Moves in Combat Sports

Famously known as no-holds-barred fighting, MMA rules have made it a regulated sport and multiple moves have been declared MMA illegal moves. Likewise, heavy regulations have been imposed on boxing and UFC as well and there are MMA rules, boxing rules, and UFC rules in place that every fighter has to follow while in the ring or cage.

MMA has become the talk of the town lately and enhanced viewership of the sport has taken the title of no-holds-barred human fighting from it.

UFC illegal moves, boxing illegal moves, and MMA illegal moves were way too much for people, and with time and these moves were declared illegal and technical mechanism came into effect. These rules ensure the safety of the fighter and keep the audience stick to their seats and not jumping out of them. As not many people know about these rules, this article is intended to let you know more about it:

Illegal Moves in Boxing, MMA & UFC

MMA and UFC illegal moves you must know about!

illegal Moves in MMA & UFC

Many matches between fighters have demonstrated the mentioned moves illegal in MMA.


Intentional head-butts have a zero-tolerance policy in MMA. In case a fighter head-butts the other fighter, one point will be deducted right at that moment. It might appear as a normal thing but in a three-round fight, this one point can be decisive.

If your opponent gets injured and fails to get up, you might lose by disqualification.

At times, head-butts are so quick that they go unnoticed. In a fight between Roger Gracie and Muhammad Lawal, Gracie received a head-butt from Lawal but it went unnoticed.

Groin strikes

Groin strikes are illegal MMA move and all the fighters are advised to wear a protective cap. However, any groin strike can still cause great damage. The accidental groin strikes are still a part of the game. Be it an inside leg kick landing at the wrong place or an accidental groin strike, intentional groin strikes are not a part of the game.

Striking the back of the head of your opponent:

Striking the back of your opponent is one illegal move and undoubtedly one of the most common reasons you might get one point deducted. Furthermore, a fighter cannot gouge the eye or poke the eye of the other fighter as it is an illegal move in UFC.

Downward strikes with the elbow are illegal:

Fighters are not allowed to downward strike their opponent with the elbow under the Unified Rules of MMA. Spiking your opponent in the head is also illegal and kneeing or kicking the grounded opponent is also an illegal MMA move. Fighters are not allowed to hit their opponent from a twelve o'clock position to a six o'clock position by using their elbow.

Downward strikes with elbow made MMA too violent for people as these strikes can cause severe eye injury or can cut the opponent.

Jon Jones was disqualified for landing a downward elbow strikes to the head of Matt Hamill at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale.

Kicks, knees, and any strike to the head of a grounded opponent:

Kicking, kneeing, stomping, or striking the head of the grounded opponent in any way is considered illegal. At UFC 127, Michael Bisping against Jorge Rivera is a prime example of kneeing and kicking.

With Rivera's head in his hands, Bisping did not hesitate while delivering a massive illegal knee to the head of Rivera.


Illegal boxing moves one must avoid!

illegal Moves in Boxing

Boxing rules vary for different bouts but the mentioned moves are illegal and they can end up in you getting warning or disqualification:

  • Hitting below the belt, holding, tripping, bite, kicking, head-butt is not allowed.
  • A boxer must avoid wrestling, spit on, and push his opponent as it is an illegal boxing move.
  • Hitting with an open glove, the backhand, the inside of the glove, the wrist, or the side of the hand is considered illegal boxing move.
  • A boxer must not punch his opponent's back. Furthermore, rabbit punches and kidney punches are illegal in boxing rules.
  • Throwing a punch while holding the ropes so as to gain leverage is considered illegal in boxing.
  • When the referee ends up a clinch, make sure to take a full step back as hitting your opponent on the break is illegal

To conclude, every fighter must learn the rules of the fight before stepping into the ring. The game is not about passion, power, and strength but it is a game of mind and technical understanding as well. Following the rules and winning through legal means earns you more respect for your fans.