Ask the Ref with Kim Winslow: Knees to the head of a grounded opponent

MMA referee Kin Winslow

By: Kim Winslow

First let me explain the definition of a grounded opponent. A fighter is considered grounded when ANYTHING other than the soles of their feet is touching the ground.

The referee may also consider the fighter grounded if they are not upright of their own power but are being propped up by the ropes or fence.

There are times when a fighter’s actions may cause a foul to occur. There is something many officials refer to as “Playing The Game”.

“Playing The Game” is when a fighter puts themselves in a constant state of transition in an attempt to either avoid having knees thrown or drawing a foul and the possibility of a point deduction to their opponent.

As a referee I make sure fighters understand in my pre-fight meetings that if they choose to “Play The Game” then all knees will be considered good knees as long as they are in transition. I inform them to either put your hand down and keep it down, do what you need to do, or pull your hand up.

If you are in a perpetual state of transition it is not your opponent’s fault if he throws a knee when you are up and it lands when you put your hand down (are grounded). It is the same as turning your head and causing yourself to get hit in the back of the head. It is YOUR fault. I will attempt to prevent fouls from occurring by letting fighters know when I consider their opponent grounded.

The transition phase is taken into consideration for any foul that occurs. This may often be why sometimes you see a foul occur and the referee not take any action. If it happens during a transition then it would be considered accidental and maybe even the fault of the fouled fighter. It is then left to the discretion of the referee whether or not to take any action.

In this instance it would be an accidental foul and NO points would be taken. If the fighter cannot continue and it is within the first two rounds of a bout scheduled for three rounds or less then it would end in a NO DECISION!

If the foul occurs rendering the fighter unable to continue after the second round is completed when scheduled for three rounds or less or the completed third round of a bout scheduled for more than three rounds then the outcome must be determined by scoring the completed rounds plus the round the bout was stopped.

Ask the Ref” is a ProMMAnow.com blog featuring female pro mixed martial arts referee Kim Winslow. Submit your questions for Ms. Winslow by sending them to prommanow@gmail.com with “Ask the Ref” in the subject line, or you can submit your question in the comments section below.