(Hey, this just means One FC will rake in big bucks for “Sylvia vs. Arlovski 5: Please, God, Make It Stop”)
By Elias Cepeda
It’s a good thing the MMA world was so excited to see the fourth meeting ofTim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski at One FC 5: Pride of a Nation today in the Philippines, because now it might just get a fifth. The two former UFC champions were set to clash Friday near the top of the Singapore-based organization’s card, and they did, but with an unsatisfying result for fighters and fans alike, thanks to One FC’s convoluted and dangerous rules regarding kicks to the head of downed opponents.
They are legal. Sort of.
Phil Baroni won his bout earlier in the evening after effectively using kicks to the head of his opponent Rodrigo Ribeiro. However, when Arlovski landed glancing kicks to the head of Sylvia after dropping him to the mat on all fours with a punch combination, the referee called the blows illegal and gave Sylvia time to recover. When Sylvia could not, the fight was ruled a no contest. You see, One FC allows kicks to the head of a downed opponent only after a fighter is given express, in-the-moment permission by the referee. What could possibly go wrong?
(Check out GIFs of the Baroni and Arlovski finishes — as well as full results from One FC 5 — at the bottom of this post.)
Besides giving referees a strange discretion that would seem to do nothing but open up new and exciting opportunities for oversight, slip ups, and corruption, such a rule necessarily stops the action in fights and gives fighters something else to think about other than the only two things they should be — attacking their opponent and defending themselves.