Early Stoppages / 10-Counts

OK... Long has it been an issue where fights are stopped questionably early after a knock down. A guy is hammered and the refs jumps in... Maybe he was done maybe he could have recovered into a defensive position (Randleman/Liddel comes to mind of a contraversial early stoppage after a knock down) - Maybe Randleman was finished and could not recover, or maybe he could have weathered the following attacks after the knock down.

Anyway, I have an idea and would like feedback:

Once a knock down takes place, the referee initiates a verbal 5-count while allowing the action to continue. IF the floored competitor is able to recover enough to assert a good defensive (or even offensive) position (such as a good guard, or return to standing, grab on for a single, etc...) then the fight continues. If he continues to be pummeled after the knockdown for the entire 5-count without a good defense, then the bout is stopped.

If the standing guy does not pursue the action during the 5-count, the ref can then step in and check the fallen guys condition.

Any thoughts???

If he (the downed opponent) continues to be pummeled after the knockdown for the entire 5-count without a good defense, then he could be dead or sustain further injury.

The referee of course has the disgression to stop a fight at any time (especially if a guy is rendered completely unconscious from the knock down blow, or a subsequent ground strike)... The 5-count serves as a guide to prevent the ref from jumping in on everything...

Tiki/Lawler is an example where and entire 5-Count would not be necessary (or appropriate). Randleman/Liddel could have used a 5-count of this sort.

The problemis the lack of any structure to this situation.

So: Start a 5-count... if you see he is out, or in trouble stop it. If he is recovering, count out the 5-Count to see if he is back in business.

The 10 count is the reason why boxing is infinitely more dangerous then MMA. When a fighter is hit in the head hard enough that he momentarily loses his motor skills they likely have a concussion and therefore have a predisposition to serious brain injuries should they take more trauma to the head.

Though your idea is far better then stopping the action and allowing a count to see if the fighter can recover, it can still lead to some extremely dangerous situations. If there were to be a count used while action continued it would have to be extremely short i.e. 1 or 2 count, and even then I could see this rule being responsible for serious/permanent injury.

Of course we would all like to see something instituted that would be more reliable and consistent then "referees discression", but I don't think we will ever find something that will both adequately ensure a fighters safety, and satisfy the fans opinion on whether a fighter was truly finished. On that note if we have to choose between fans being satisfied and the safety of a fighter I would much rather have the sport fault on the side of fighter safety. IMO it's far more important that the fighter be able to come back and compete again then it is to satisfy my curiosity of whether or not the fighter was truly finished.

I would say this is the best idea I have heard for this situation yet, but it is still inadequate.

I agree with sweepnchoke

I also agree with sweepnchoke (very well explained and accurate)... This is a tough nut to crack.

Is it conceivable *and to follow from Andre's take onthis) to make it so fighters can continue after a knockdown, but only with grappling and submissions for the 5-count. After the count the striking may continue???

The following up with "only grappling and submission" is interesting, but the reality is we will have a bunch of bouts ending with fouls. By having this rule you are expecting a fighter to instantly recognise when he is only allowed to use certain techniques and refrain from striking which obviously just worked very sucessfully for him.

IMO over and over we would see fighters continueing to throw strikes, thus they would get a foul. Their opponent likely won't be in any condition to continue..... so how does the fight get ruled, loss for the conscious fighter via DQ????

If the fighters had on/off switches for striking this idea could be interesting, but I think asking a fighter to stop striking in an instant but continue an attack is asking too much of them.

I will put money on continued strikes by the fighter, and I don't think they have to be an asshole to do so, it is simply what is going through their head at the time, and we are asking them to change their attack instantly.

The only thing I could see implementing that would ensure the fighters safety and the fans curiousity would be to stop the action and give the downed fighter a 2 count to completely regain their faculties, stand up, and obey a command (ie raise your gloves and step forward" or answer a question immediately). It is also important that the command or question used is not the same every time because fighters become programmed how to react when knocked down and this quick test of a fighters faculties becomes null and void as it has in boxing. In boxing fighters stand up raise and touch their gloves almost instictually, and this is enough to end the count and allow them to continue, even though in many cases they are clearly in no condition to continue.

If a fighter can not instantly stand up, and properly react to the referee's commands with in a two count the fight is over.

Well, I would hold off on saying "Perfect" but I think there is something workable in there. Afterall, fighters had to learn not to knee or kicked downed fighters (which used to be allowed).

Professional fighters should be able to learn to adapt, IF a new rule was added.

Now, and this is very important, a new rule should be added ONLY if it makes things better. If we think that such an idea is better than the current practice of early stoppages, then let's do it... If it is not better, then forget it.

Not kicking/kneeing a downed opponent in the head is quite a bit different though. Fighters can train under this rule because it is consistant then entire bout.

This rule would be asking a fighter to not use techniques that are permitted any other time, and for them to recognise that they are not allowed to use these techniques instantly.

Again, I can't argue with you...

Do you think there is a way??? maybe as-is is the best way right now... Just trying to brain-storm.

While watching it I thoght maybe Cabbages and Lawler's stops were maybe premature but watching the replays, it looked legit.

Both fighters were dazed obviously and the opponents (Arlovski and Diaz) were right there to follow up.

But sometimes, the guy following up his knockdown might get a punch or two and then get guard or a clinch so its really hard to tell without allowing that.

The stoppage on Tito was correct.

As was the one on Randleman imo.

IMO the best thing to solve the early stoppage issue is not adding a rule or officiating in any way, the best way is a change in how the fighters react.

If you down a fighter with strikes don't pursue, back off and make the ref stand them back up. If they were finished they aren't going to get back to their feet and maintain balance in a resonable amount of time thus the ref stops the bout. If they weren't finished and rather just wobbled when they get back to their feet the standing fighter has a good chance of decisively finishing them off in the following seconds.

I am definately not saying the fighters don't think, or that MMA is animal instinct in any way.

I just don't feel asking a fighter to stop on a dime like that is resonable nor pheasable, and I am sure alot of fighters will aggree. We aren't talking about even an entire second to make the transision between being allowed to strike and not allowed to strike.

If we added a rule that wouldn't permit the fighter to continue striking then IMO we would have politians all over this sport again. I will put money on this rule causing the amount of fouls to increase, and result in a few ugly endings either via no contest or DQ depending on how a governing body decided to enforce this rule. We start having more fouls or DQ's and politians will be screaming about how MMA competitors aren't athletes, the sport has no sportsmanship etc etc becuase of the increased fouls/DQ's.

In a perfect world it's a great idea, but unfortunately this isn't a perfect world.

I would be very interested in what pro fighters would have to say about this idea, but I don't think they would be in favour of it. However if fighters were to review this idea and felt it is resonable to ask and enforce then I am all for it.

The fighters should simply be allowed a limited amount of time to follow up on the ground just like the original post stated. That's what Pride does and it works well, just a few more moments on the ground.

If we aren't requiring them to stop striking the instant a fighter goes down, then nothing really changes, the ref will still have to make an instant judgement on whether or not he needs to protect the fighter by stopping the bout.

Not requiring the fighter to instantly stop striking ie following up with a few strikes would not be a foul makes the whole situation subjective again, and back in the hands of referee's discression (how many floww up strikes or how much time before striking becomes a foul), which is right back to where we currenlty are.

I still feel the best thing that could happen would not be a rule change, but rather that fighters would stop pursueing a downed fighter, instead back off and let the ref stop it, or make the fighter get back to his feet immediately.

Sweepnchoke--- I want to see if I get your idea...

A fighter is knocked down, the ref steps in automatically and calls for the fallen fighter to show his coherence. If he can't (in, say, a three count) the fight is over...

If he looks up and says let's go, the ref backs away and the fight continues.

Is that close to what you were illustrating???

Maybe 3-count while the action continues (the fallen fighter must assert a defensive posture within that span)

Joseph Cunliffe is correct. I rarely, if ever, have complained about an early stoppage. Almost always the other way around. I like the matches to watch the ultimate form of competition--not to see somewhat get injured. From the last UFC, I thought the stoppages were right on. Tito wasn't coming back, and neither was Cabbage, Wes, or Lawlor. They would have only sustained additional and unwarranted punishment.