What rule is too restrictive in modern MMA?

I just watched The Smashing Machine courtesy of Netflix, and even tho I don’t watch MMA on a regular basis, I enjoy it whenever I do watch fights on youtube and stuff.

The movie is truly excellent, but it did note that rules change all the time in the sport, or they did for a while there anyway as the US Congress got involved and various PR problems occurred, etc. There were a couple of fight outcomes in the film that hinged on rules that had changed and the fighters, Mark Kerr and Mark Coleman, talked a bit about it, but it got me to wondering if people who are long time fans feel that maybe the sport has been “watered down” too much in some ways.

I understand that most of the rules changes were prolly but in place in order to stop what must have been more than a couple of situations where death was imminent, and to me that’s a good thing.

But since I don’t know as much about the sport or it’s past as others, I thought it might make for a lively discussion to ask: if you could change one rule as being too restrictive and simply unnecessary in modern MMA, what would it be?

If you just need one rule: No knees to the head on the ground. It’s ridiculous watching fighters squat around with a hand on the ground for no other reason than to prevent knees. As someone who started out watching Pride, they’re not THAT big of a deal.

Also, legalize “12-to-6” elbows" and the notorious upkick to a guy in the guard (MMA fans know the ones I’m referring too).

I’m not sure I’d allow all knees or kicks on the ground, but fighters are definitely gaming the rule too much. I’d change it so that just having a hand on the ground does not count a fighter as being downed. Also, the referee should have the option of allowing knees once it becomes apparent that a fighter is keeping a knee down just to avoid them. He should announce a warning, and then if the fighter doesn’t get up, announce that it’s ok to throw knees.

Similarly, I wouldn’t penalize strikes to the back of the head of an opponent who is deliberately turning away. It seems like a lot of fighters use the back of their head as a shield in grappling situations. They shouldn’t be able to gain an advantage by abusing the rules that are in place for their protection.

For a professional perspective, “Big” John McCarthy was asked similar questions by FIGHT! Magazine. He said scoring and weight cutting are things that need to be fixed. He also thinks all judges should be punched in the head. It sort of brings to mind one of Jubal Early’s monologues.

The rule against strikes to the back of the head is definitely one you want to keep, even if it’s being abused. Punches to the back of the head are against the rules out of very real considerations of fighter safety. Better to have a warning and/or point deduction if a fighter is deliberately taking advantage of the rule.

That people want to undo safety oriented rules reaffirms my belief that MMA is just assault with a ref. (IOW-not for me)

Do you think their entire bodies should be wrapped in foam? If no, then you’re not for the maximum amount of protection, you barbarian you.

I assume, per your name, you’re being snarky. To clarify my point, I think banning rabbit punches and unfettered pounding should be banned.

Perhaps I should clarify that I mean unintentional strikes to the back of the head. This happens all the time, when one fighter is turtled up and the other is throwing a lot of short punches. The defender will often turn his head in such a way that the attacker can’t help but hit the back of it. The referee usually issues a warning, giving the defending fighter time to recover and get into a better position.

Deducting points for inducing warnings in this way would be a good idea, but there would still be a lot of situations where fighters would do it to save themselves from a TKO.