Let’s Talk ‘Time!’
by Michelle D. Drake, special guest contributor, May 20th, 2013
“He/she should’ve gotten 5 minutes to recover after that foul!” “The fighter’s allowed 5 minutes!”
How many times have we heard this? As a referee, I’ve heard it from literally every single fight I’ve ever seen, heard about, officiated, watched, listened to, you name it where there was a foul committed. Most recently was the case of eye-poke in UFC 159, Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante that caused referee Kevin Mulhall to wave the fight off because Villante was not able to see properly—that was determined by the ref after the question was asked, “Can you see?” My email, Twitter, Facebook inbox and text messaging blew up after that fight. Everyone asked me about why he wasn’t given the 5 minutes to recover. After about the 15th time of explaining this, my finger tips were bleeding and I was screaming for my 5 minute recovery time! Thank goodness for copy and paste…best ability Apple gave the iPhone!
While I’m not here to discuss nor debate protocol regarding foul procedure, I do want to clear up the 5 minute assessment and recovery time for a foul and groin shot and the differences between the two rules.
Taken directly from the ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) website, this is the wording about the 5 minute recovery time in a foul occurrence: “If a fighter is fouled by blow that the referee deems illegal, the referee should stop the action and call for time. The referee may take the injured fighter to the ringside doctor and have the ringside doctor examine the fighter as to their ability to continue on in the contest. The ringside doctor has up to 5 minutes to make their determination. If the ringside doctor determines that the fighter can continue in the contest, the referee shall as soon as practical restart the fight. However, unlike the low blow foul rule, the fighter does not have up to 5 minutes of time to use at their discretion. For a foul other than a low blow, the fouled fighter is not guaranteed 5 minutes of recovery time. If deemed not fit to continue by the referee or ringside physician, the referee must immediately call a halt to the bout. If the fighter is deemed not fit to continue by the referee or ringside physician but some of the five minute foul time is still remaining, the fighter can not avail himself the remaining time.”
Now, about the groin shot foul; again from the ABC website: “A fighter who has been struck with a low blow is allowed up to five minutes to recover from the foul as long as in the ringside doctor’s opinion the fighter may possibly continue on in the contest. If the fighter states that they can continue on before the five minutes of time have expired, the referee shall as soon as practical restart the fight. If the fighter goes over the five minute time allotment the fight cannot be restarted and the contest must come to an end with the outcome determined by the round and time in which the fight was stopped.”
So, what that means is, if you, as a fighter, gets struck in the tenders (nuts, balls, dick, vagina [hurts girls, too] etc), then you get to say how long of the 5 minutes you want to use to recover. If you’re fouled by an intentional or un-intentional foul, then the ref and /or ringside dr get UP TO 5 minutes to assess the injury and determine whether or not you can continue. You have no say what-so-ever about how long you get to recover.
Now, here/s the deal; as a ref, we want you guys (general term-no sexism!) to fight. We want you to continue. The hardest thing to do as a ref is to call a fight due to injury—you’d think it was to hear all the boos or chants of, “You suck, ref!” But that’s actually quite easy to take in! You’ll notice next time you see it happen, the ref will take their time in going through foul-protocol, if they’re seasoned, trained and know what they’re doing. They’ll call in the doctor knowing full well the fighter is ok just to have said doctor say they’re fine to continue fighting—giving the fighter a chance to recover a bit. The ref will walk casually to each corner and the commission to notify them of their decision (intentional/un-intentional/point deduction/etc.), then check-in with the fouled fighter one last time then re-start the fight. All that might have taken up a couple of minutes which is just about long enough for the fouled fighter to have recovered.
I hope this clears that rule up. I’ll be back soon for more rule explanations. In the mean time, if you have any questions or want clarification about anything MMA related, hit me up! I’m on Twitter @mdrakebrowning
Your friend in the cage,