A Longshot Compromise

By Edward Carbajal Apr 12, 2018

Editor’s note: The views and opinions expressed below are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sherdog.com, its affiliates and sponsors or its parent company, Evolve Media.

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When something new comes out, it has to go through an experimental stage. Only time can tell whether or not it will work in the long run.

Karate Combat is a fledgling karate-based promotion that held its first event in Budapest, Hungary, in February, with three more shows scheduled for April and May. The production value was cinematic, but what stood out were the rules and how well they worked. Having former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholders Bas Rutten and Chuck Liddell serve as ambassadors for the league provided it with an air of legitimacy.

Even if you have not interest in Karate Combat, the folks over at the UFC and Mayweather Promotions should consider its rules if they want to sell a rematch between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather. Despite McGregor’s actions at UFC 223, rumors persist of a future encounter under modified mixed rules: four-ounce gloves, no shoes, five-minute rounds, no kicks, no takedowns, no elbows and no knees, with some form of the clinch permitted. That’s essentially a barefoot boxing match, and without knowing the particulars on the clinch, the rules favor Mayweather, just as they did the first time.

Karate Combat rules could level the playing field a bit more. Bouts consist of three three-minute rounds. Elbows are not allowed, but spinning backfists, ridge-hand strikes and hammerfists are in the clear, along with straight punches, kicks and foot sweeps. The clinch is where it gets interesting, as the promotion’s rulebook states the following: “Clinching the opponent is allowed only when followed by immediate action such as a throw. Any clinching that is performed to limit one’s opponent’s action will be deemed a foul. The first clinching foul will result in a warning (the bout does not have to be paused to issue the warning). Each subsequent clinching foul will result in a one-point penalty issued by the referee to the judges (again, the bout does not have to be stopped to issue a penalty).”

Single-leg takedowns are permitted, but when the fight hits the ground, only “arm techniques” -- basically punches -- are acceptable. Submissions are forbidden, so Mayweather could cross that concern off his list. The angles involved in striking for boxing are what make the sport the Sweet Science, and they have translated well to MMA. That gives Mayweather the advantage in the standup. McGregor would benefit from the addition of the clinch and takedowns -- techniques that were not available to him when they boxed.

Mayweather seems interested in a McGregor reunion. However, in a recent interview with ESPN, he acknowledged that the Irishman had other worries at the moment, pointing to the fallout from McGregor’s arrest after his well-publicized attack on a charter bus carrying UFC 223 fighters and Ultimate Fighting Championship personnel. All things considered, will McGregor and Mayweather ever go at it again?

Edward Carbajal serves as the lead MMA analyst for Frontproof Media and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Ishin Ryu Karate. He has covered combat sports since 2014 and has been a fan of MMA since UFC 1. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com.


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