What moves are illegal in UFC fights?

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The Ultimate Fighting Championship Company (UFC) is the largest MMA Promotion Company in the world. Today we shall discuss moves that are illegal in UFC fights.

Banned moves in UFC:

In the Ultimate Fighting Championship not every wishful move is allowed while fighting inside the Octagon. Fighting inside the Octagon is a sport. A combative sport though. A sport must have a set of rules.  It is not a bar brawl or a street fight ensues from ego, anger, robbing, old enmity. In such a fight, there are no rules and neither a referee to stop the fight that could even result in death. 

Some of the  moves in the UFC one might perform on purpose or accidentally can cause severe damage to the opponent. That’s why those moves in the fight are strictly considered banned and therefore illegal.

The banned UFC moves as follows:

Piledriving: Piledriving is a technique used in professional wrestling in which a fighter holds the opponent, flips him over, and drives his head into the mat. These deliberate moves are usually illegal in the UFC. But it is permissible when defending a submission.

Headbutts: Headbutts were once legal in older organisations, but today,  all MMA organisations including the UFC declared headbutting is illegal. They are dangerous and can cause bad cuts on both fighters. Most headbutts strike the most sensitive areas of an opponent, such as the nose, using the stronger bones in the forehead or the back of the skull. Often,  headbutting happens so quickly that they go unnoticed by the referee. So, the referee cannot make the right decision at the right moment. 

Fish Hooking: Fish-hooking is the act of inserting a finger or fingers of one or both hands into the mouth, nostrils or other orifices of an opponent in order to pull away from the centerline of the body.  In most cases, the insertion of fingers is intended for pulling, tearing, or lacerating the surrounding tissue of the opponent’s mouth.

Groin Strikes: Under no circumstances MMA fighters in the UFC are permitted to strike their opponents in the groin. Besides, the fighters are required to wear a protective cup, because even after using the cup major damage can still be done if it is hit hard. 

12-6 Elbows: The bringing of an elbow from straight up to straight down like the wall clock from 12-6. The strike has been banned for medical reasons. 

Throat Strikes: No direct throat strikes are allowed. A direct attack would include a fighter pulling his opponent’s head in a way to open the neck area for a striking attack. 

A fighter may not gouge his fingers or thumb into his opponent’s neck in an attempt to submit the opponent. 

If the strike lands in the throat while a standing fight, the move would be viewed as a legal strike.

Strikes on the back of the head:

Striking on the back of the head, which is also called a rabbit punch, is a blow to the base of the skull is illegal. It is considered especially dangerous because it can damage 

cervical vertebrae and subsequently the spinal cord. A rabbit punch can also detach the victim’s brain from the brain stem which can kill the injured person instantly.

Eye Poking: Eye gouging  or eye poking is another illegal move in all of MMA in the UFC. A poke to the eye can result in a temporary stoppage of action, or a TKO(Technical Knockout) or DQ (Disqualified) loss for the fighter who poked in a fight. 

Kicks and knees to the grounded opponent:  While it is perfectly okay to kick or knee the opponent’s head while standing, it is illegal to do it when the opponent is on the ground. If a fighter kicks or knees a grounded opponent, it will almost certainly result in a point deduction and even disqualification in most cases. 

Stomp to the head of a grounded opponent: The Ultimate Fighting Championship allows stomps to be performed from the clinch, while stomping on a grounded opponent is considered illegal.


In UFC fights along with other promotional organisations, the aforementioned moves are banned for the safety of the fighters. Despite its popularity, the UFC fights are not yet fully recognised as Olympic sports because of its brutal activities, happening when illegal moves take place.

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