The 2023 Association of Boxing and Combat Sports Commissions Annual Convention, held at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas was an unprecedented success. The largest convention ever, featured two days of officials training and four days of presentations covering numerous topics including revised medical testing protocols for licensing, suspension policies, high level matchmaking and California’s retired fighter fund. I am honored to continue in my role as a member of the ABC MMA Rules committee that received unanimous approval for three initiatives; two intended to reduce the negative impact on a fighter who has been injured as the result of a foul and one designed to help achieve consistency among referees pertaining to “standing-up” fighters or “breaking” them from against the cage. The following revised referee protocols are now ABC approved;
A. When a fighter is cut by a foul, that fighter’s cutman or licensed second shall allowed to attend to the cut (using the same approved methods allowed between rounds) prior to the referee and/or physician making a final determination as to whether the fight may continue.
B. When a fighter receives an eye-poke, that fighter may be provided a wet/cold compress to administer during the recovery period allotted, prior to the referee and/or physician making a final determination as to whether the fight may continue.
C. The referee shall either stand up or break the fighters when neither is either able to, or fails to demonstrate real, significant, and/or sustained effort to advance towards finishing the fight by any method. Simply maintaining what may be perceived as a superior position will not be considered effort to advance towards finishing the fight nor grounds for a guaranteed opportunity to maintain that position.
Kudos to ABC President, Mike Mazzulli (who was re-elected for another two-year term) and the entire executive board for presenting a convention that was well-hosted, ran according to schedule, had excellent content and reflected a genuine intention to address real issues concerning fighter welfare and the best interest of our sports.