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Tag: rule manipulation

Point/Counterpoint: “Playing the Game” and Whether Selective Enforcement of the Rules is Good for MMA


(“No, God Damn it, we’re on the Y part of the song, not the A! Have you guys even heard The Village People before?!”

We’re only three weeks into the NFL regular season, yet fans all over the country have become infuriated with the league over the blown calls and inconsistency of the replacement referees who have been officiating games during the referee lockout. The fact that last night’s Seahawks vs. Packers game was literally decided by the poor interpretation of the league’s simultaneous catch rule has been the focus of water cooler discussions all over the country – even here. Yet this inconsistency is hardly unique to the replacement referees, or even professional football. As MMA fans, we see this all the time.

Case in point: During the main event of Saturday’s UFC 152, Vitor Belfort threw a kick at the head of a “downed” Jon Jones. Despite this being against the rules, ”Big” John McCarthy simply said to Jon Jones “You wanted to play the game.” Is this selective enforcement of the rules good for our sport? Today George Shunick and Seth Falvo will make the arguments for and against this practice.

The Argument For, by George Shunick:

Let’s get this out of the way; the phrase “you’re playing the game” stems from a fundamental dissonance in the Unified Rules of professional Mixed Martial Arts. Namely, that stomps, soccer kicks and knees to the head of a downed opponent are maneuvers that should be allowed in accordance with the philosophy of the sport, but can’t due to certain political realities and, arguably, health and safety concerns. So certain situations arise, like Vitor Belfort throwing a head kick at a crouching Jon Jones, which defy the rules, but not the spirit of them.

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