(Phil Baroni displays the perfectly acceptable way to kick a downed opponent in the face)
Thank Buddha, ONE Fighting Championships has gotten rid of their obtuse soccer kick rules. On Friday morning, Andrei Arlovski was basically robbed of his victory over Tim Sylvia because he soccer kicked him in the melon twice before the referee gave him permission to do so. That resulted in the fight being declared a No Contest, and fans wondering who the fuck thought it was a good idea to have soccer kicks as a sometimes maybe kind of technique. Fortunately, ONE FC has learned its lesson:
This confusion, ONE Fighting Championship CEO Victor Cui told ESPN, demanded a new course insofar as the rules go. That, he said, ensured soccer kicks will be a full-time addition. They’re immediately available to use in all fights in ONE FC. With a melding of Eastern and Western rule sets, Cui’s show finds itself operating under the most liberal set of rules mixed martial artists can find today.
“This was a decision that came about from our last five events,” Cui said. “We keep looking to evolve and improve. For future fights and future fighters, this will make the event better. This last event we had the confusion with Arlovski, for example. The ‘open attack’ rule was confusing for the fighters and it was also confusing for the fans. I think this will simplify and clarify for all parties.”
I’m amazed it took ONE this long. Friday wasn’t the first time one of their big fights was affected by the open guard rules. Roger Huerta was soccer kicked – nay, football punted – at ONE FC 4 while the ref screamed ‘No kick! No kick!’ and his opponent still had his hand raised in victory. Maybe it’s another kooky ONE FC rule that when in doubt, the Asian fighter doesn’t get disqualified. Just another spiritual tradition being ported in from the PRIDE days.