Fighting Regulations: Rules 101 for Women’s Mixed Martial Arts

Two female mma fighters in a mma match

Understanding the foundational rules is crucial for athletes and fans in the dynamic and challenging world of women’s mixed martial arts (MMA).

Women’s mixed martial arts has grown exponentially, showcasing incredible talent, strength, and determination. As this sport continues to captivate audiences worldwide, it’s essential to familiarize ourselves with the regulations that ensure fairness, safety, and the spirit of competition. As fans, understanding these intricacies inside the octagon will give you a different level for the sport when experiencing women’s MMA live events!

Pallas Athena (PAWFC) is here to examine the rules of women’s MMA more closely.

The Fighting Area

Women’s MMA competitions (and MMA competitions in general) take place in a ring or a caged location. It should be spheroidal or have a six-sided minimum if fenced. If caged, however, it should be an 8-sided cage, which entails that it should be in the shape of an octagon.

Guarding Fists

For hand protection, open-fingered gloves are presented to lessen the chances of scrapes, scratches, cuts, etc., on the fists. As a result, this enhanced fighter confidence in striking, which led to more exciting matchups.

In most professional fights, participants wear 4 oz gloves. However, in other styles, amateurs have to sport 6 oz gloves for more protection of the fists, wrists, and hands protection.

Bypassing Prolonged Fights

Time limits were established to avoid more prolonged fights with less action and the unpredicted broadcasting of live events. In most professional fights, there are 3 matches with 5 minutes each. However, in title match-ups or championship rounds, the fights are typically 5 matches at 5 minutes.

Rules may vary from championship to championship. For example, ONE Championship (a Singapore-based organization) permits knees, kicks, and elbow strikes to the head (due to the incorporation of muay thai) but outlaws head stomps.


A fighter is announced as the victor, either by the judges or by referee call, in instances such as:

  • A fighter is unable to defend herself
  • Doctor stopping the match due to an injury (or injuries)
  • A fighter submitting herself
  • A knockout


If a fighter strikes her competitor and the competitor cannot continue the striker triumphs, and the round ends so the opposing fighter doesn’t sustain further injury.
Moreover, a fighter can submit herself (accept defeat) by the following acts:

  • Tapping; either on the floor or on the body of her opponent
  • Expressing verbally that she quits

Additionally, technical submissions are also available. This submission type is when the referee stops the match if the fighter is trapped in a submission hold and in danger of injuring herself. The submission typically occurs when a fighter is choked unconscious or a bone breaks.


A referee communicates a technical knockout in the following circumstances:

  • Can no longer defend: A match will be discontinued if a fighter cannot defend herself and takes substantial damage from the dominant fighter.
  • Loss of consciousness: If a fighter loses (or appears to be losing) consciousness, the match will be stopped immediately.
  • Severe injuries: A match will be stopped if a fighter sustains a severe injury, such as a serious gash, cut, or broken bone(s).
  • Doctor interference: A fight will be stopped if a fighter is injured and requires prompt medical attention. If such is the case, the other fighter will be announced as the victor.
  • Quit/forfeit: If a fighter quits before the match begins, the opponent will be declared the winner.
  • Disqualification: The referee will warn the fighter if she executes a prohibited act. After three warnings, the fighter will be disqualified.

Catch The Best of Women’s MMA Live in Action

Pallas Athena Women's Fighting Championship New Event 2024


As Canadian women’s MMA continues to evolve, so do the rules and regulations that guide the sport. This is a positive concept as it helps make matches safer for fighters, allowing them to continue doing what they love while entertaining its fans.

If you want to witness women’s mixed martial arts live in action, join us at the Pallas Athena Women’s Fighting Championship on March 9, 2024, in Calgary at the Nutrien Western Events. Secure your tickets on Showpass or watch the action on pay-per-view via to support phenomenal female athletes and enjoy live MMA excitement!