Wagner Prado seemed just as surprised as we were that his hand kept grabbing at the fence repeatedly during his fight with Phil Davis. It was pretty amusing, but it did underline the fact that cage holding rules are almost completely useless. At the moment, all a ref can do is warn a guy repeatedly until he takes away a point. But taking a point in a three round fight is such a serious fight altering action that you rarely see it happen.
Fighters know this, which leaves them free to grab the cage when they need to. In your average fight, you’ll get at least a few free grabs before the ref even gives you a warning. And Prado got away with over 10 fence grabs in the span of 15 seconds! He went on to grab the fence a couple more times over the fight, and while it didn’t save him from getting wrestlefucked by Phil Davis, I think we can all agree he should have lost a point.
Maybe it’s time to look into fence grabbing rules to see if we can figure out a better system of deterrence. A point deduction is so severe that refs have become largely unwilling to use it, settling instead for a literal slap on the wrists of fighters who latch onto a cage. Perhaps a 10% per offense fine would work better? That might make guys think twice about grabbing the cage to avoid a takedown.
I’d also suggest an electrified fence, but that’s barbaric. So instead how about electrified gloves that shock you when you grab the fence? Now that’s a modern high tech solution!