Strange things about the Unified Rules of MMA

The legend says that Ken Shamrock has long had a beef about UFC 1, griping that he wasn’t allowed to bring his wrestling shoes into the cage because they were deemed a “weapon,” while Royce Gracie was allowed to wear the gi he used to choke Shamrock into submission.

In the years that followed, mixed martial arts developed the Unified Rules. No eye-gouging, no slippery substances, etc.

And yet, in the course of specifying how many feet of tape can be used to tape a fighter’s hands (10), no one thought to say anything about bringing objects into the cage.

Yes, this came up over the weekend. Ben Henderson allegedly had a toothpick in his mouth during his fight with Nate Diaz. Let Luke Thomas point out all the reasons why this is a really stupid thing to do.

And yet apparently not illegal. Technically, it doesn’t appear to be illegal to bring a chair into the cage and whack someone with it.

The only argument I could see would be that the rules describe “unarmed combat.” If a fighter has a toothpick, is he armed?

Another point from the rules that applies to the Henderson-Diaz fight: “using abusive language” is illegal. Middle fingers seem to be OK. Congratulations, Nate.

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