AS Floyd Mayweather’s crossover fight with UFC star Conor McGregor bears down on us, the debate rages on over how the contest will end.
Given that the Irishman will be having his first professional boxing match against Mayweather tomorrow night, some have felt that he may end up reverting to his MMA instincts and break the Queensbury Rules, resulting in a disqualification loss.
He and his team have repeatedly said he will not break those rules, and he even drafted in veteran referee Joe Cortez to help familiarise him with them. Plus, a clause was written into the fight contracts to ensure that if McGregor is disqualified, he loses a chunk of his hefty fight purse. It’s unlikely McGregor will break the rules to the point of disqualification.
To make things clear, we’ve taken a look at the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s rules – under which the fight will be fought as it takes place in Las Vegas – to explain how a disqualification could come about.
First, this is what the Commission deems to be a legal punch: “A fair blow in boxing is one delivered with the padded knuckle part of the glove on the front or side of the head or the front or side of the body above the belt.”
So far, so simple.
Next, here’s an extensive list of what the NSAC deems to be fouls:
1. Hitting below the belt.
2. Hitting an opponent who is down or is getting up after being down.
3. Holding an opponent with one hand and hitting with the other.
4. Holding or deliberately maintaining a clinch.
5. Wrestling or kicking.
6. If the referee has signaled that the opponent has been knocked out, striking an opponent who is helpless as a result of previous blows and so supported by the ropes that he or she does not fall.
7. Butting with the head or shoulder or using the knee.
8. Hitting with the open glove, the butt of the hand, the wrist or the elbow, and all backhand blows.
9. Purposely going down without being hit.
10. Striking deliberately at that part of the body over the kidneys.
11. Deliberately using the rabbit punch (a blow to the back of the head).
12. Jabbing the opponent’s eyes with the thumb of the glove.
13. Using abusive language in the ring.
14. Engaging in any unsportsmanlike trick or action which causes injury to an opponent.
15. Hitting on the break.
16. Hitting after the bell has sounded the end of the period of unarmed combat.
17. Hitting an opponent whose head is between and outside of the ropes.
18. Pushing an opponent about the ring or into the ropes.
It is up to the referee – in this instance, Robert Byrd – to decide whether any of the above have occurred in a fight. If so, the referee can either warn a fighter that if they commit another foul they will be punished, dock a point or several points, or disqualify a fighter altogether.
Some fouls are, of course, more serious than others and in most instances a fighter will not be disqualified straight away.
However, if one fighter is injured to the extent that they cannot continue as a result of an intentional foul, the fighter who committed the foul will be disqualified.
Further still, if a fighter falls through the ropes or out of the ring, and is helped back into the ring by their seconds or manager, they can be disqualified.
Interestingly, the NSAC rules also include a clause about when a fighter is “not honestly competing” – which essentially alludes to match-fixing: “If the referee decides that an unarmed combatant is not honestly competing, the referee may stop the contest or exhibition before its scheduled completion, disqualify the unarmed combatant and recommend the purse of that unarmed combatant be held pending investigation by the Commission.”
When it comes to low blows, things get a little more complicated. If a fighter claims to have been hit with one and cannot continue – but the referee did not explicitly call the low blow and administer a warning – that fighter would actually lose. As the Commission puts it: “An unarmed combatant may not be declared the winner of a contest or exhibition on the basis of a claim that his or her opponent committed a foul by hitting him or her below the belt. If an unarmed combatant falls to the floor of the ring or otherwise indicates that he or she is unwilling to continue because of a claim of a low blow, the contest or exhibition must be declared to be a technical knockout in favor of the unarmed combatant who is willing to continue.”
In the event of a disqualification, the Commission can withhold a fighter’s entire purse and decide what to do.
On the whole, it’s all pretty simple stuff, but with the eyes of the world on this fight, any infringements of the rules will be highly scrutinised. Hopefully we get a good, clean fight.