ONE FC makes soccer kicks fully legal

September 3, 2012, 9:36 PM

It may come a little late, but ONE Fighting Championship has decided to get rid of the quirky — and somewhat confusing — “open attack” rule.

Days after a controversial ruling led to a no-contest in an anticipated matchup between former UFC heavyweight champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia at the Asian MMA promotion’s fifth show, ONE FC has decided to make soccer kicks legal at all times without first requiring a determination from the referee.

While allowing such kicks to the head of a grounded opponent is still hotly debated among MMA followers, it was previously permitted in Pride. North American promotions, such as the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator that follow the Unified Rules of MMA, do not allow any kicks to the head of an opponent while one of his knees or arms are touching the mat, believing it to be too dangerous a blow to an opponent who is considered defenseless.

Friday’s ONE FC: Pride of a Nation in Manila, Philippines, featured a fourth fight between Arlovski and Sylvia. The fairly entertaining bout took an anti-climactic turn in the second round when Arlovski knocked his opponent to the ground and then hit a nearly kayoed Sylvia with a couple such soccer kicks to the head to finish him. The referee stopped the bout but then said he had not signalled for the open attack.

After it was determined that Sylvia could not continue, the bout was declared a no-contest. Arlovski could have been disqualified, but without a commission in place, ONE FC made the determination that the blow was unintentional — Arlovski said he wasn’t even aware that he required an okay from the referee before employing a soccer kick — and instead had it deemed a no-contest.

Both Arlovski and Sylvia said they were open to a rematch in ONE FC, which would be a fifth meeting between the two. The former one their first, with Sylvia winning the next two times they met for the UFC belt in 2006.

There have been other high-profile instances of soccer kicks in the organization; most notably, a devastating knockout of Roger Huerta by Zorobabel Moreira at ONE FC 4 in June.

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