One of the original creators and executives from the early days of the UFC gave a unique window into MMA’s history with a rules list released from the first event held inside the Octagon.
Campbell McLaren, who helped to found the UFC when the promotion first started in 1993, took to Twitter recently to applaud New Jersey State Athletic Commission counsel Nick Lembo for his part in creating rules for the sport at the time defined for having no rules.
It was then that McLaren decided to correct his previous statement by saying there were some rules for the first UFC and he released a photo of the rules that were in place prior to the debut event that took place on November 12, 1993.
The most important law of the land came from UFC co-creator Rorion Gracie, who stood up and made a very strong statement prior to the meeting for the fighters.
First UFC rules meeting Rorion Gracie stood and said "There is no biting. We are men not animals." Then he sat down. #originalUFC#Combate
Some of the more interesting notes from this original rule book include the fact that there were five, five minute rounds in place with one minute rest periods between rounds. Now strangely enough those are the exact same rules in place for title fights and main events in in the UFC today, but that always wasn’t the case in the earliest days of the promotion.
Despite those rules, the UFC actually adapted a ‘no time limit’ scenario for most of their early events, although rarely did any fight make it the full five minutes much less five, five minute rounds.
The original battle ground for the UFC was to be designed by John Milius and described as a 20-foot ‘circular pit’. In reality, John Milius was a Hollywood writer, who worked on films such as Conan the Barbarian and Red Dawn, but his name was the only thing actually attached to the project. It was another architect named Jason Cusson who ultimately designed the world famous Octagon, shaping it after another film of the same name starring martial arts legend Chuck Norris.
Notice rule No. 6 says no strikes to the eyes or groins. Apparently, Keith Hackney didn’t read these rules before fighting Joe Son at UFC 4 when he bludgeoned his opponent’s groin with punches in a fight that will make every man watching it cringe just a little bit.
You’ll also notice some other oddities in those rules compared to what actually made it to TV with the fights that took place in the original UFC so we’ll just call this a suggestion sheet more than ‘rules’.
Eventually, people like Lembo and Larry Hazzard got involved to help create an actual rules system for mixed martial arts that started to revive the sport with state athletic commissions. Most of those same rules that were created are still in