What are illegal hits in boxing? Illegal MMA moves   

Boxing or MMA are the most popular sports with many combat rules to ultimately govern the sport to make it fair, safe, and competitive. As combat sports, boxing and MMA are dangerous, and there is always a need for specific rules to control the match. One must use proper boxing gear and MMA gear, including boxing gloves and MMA gloves, to ensure protection while practicing combat sports.    

   Illegal hits in boxing    

Specific boxing rules restrict the types of strikes, hits, fouls, and various match procedures. So, any fighter must follow a few universal rules, which are extremely important for this sport and generally accepted globally.    

  • Fighters cannot hit below the belt, hold, kick, bite, trip, wrestle, headbutt, spit on or push their opponent.    
  • One cannot strike with their shoulder, forearm, elbow, or head.   
  • No hit with an open glove, inside of the glove, the wrist, backhand, or side hand; only closed fist punches are allowed.    
  • Fighters must not hit their opponent on the back, their kidneys, or the back of his head or neck, also known as a rabbit punch.    
  • One cannot throw any punch while holding ropes to get leverage.    
  • No boxer can hold and strike his opponent at the same time.    
  • Fighters are obliged to the referee’s signal for a break by stepping back and refraining from throwing punches.   
  • Boxers should not duck so low that their heads are below their opponent’s waistline.     
  • Do not hit any opponent when they are knocked down.    
  • Hitting on the break is illegal in boxing; an immediate hit is not allowed when the referee stops from the clinch.    
  • Boxers cannot hit any opponent when they are on canvas while having hit the floor or slipped somehow.    

   Illegal MMA moves    

MMA has evolved from a brutal beginning to a heavily regulated sport as its popularity has grown. It is a common misconception that MMA has no rules in the Octagon, but several rule changes were made to ensure the safety of fighters, and finally, created the Unified Ruled of Mixed Martial Arts.   

People who are new to this sport still need an explanation of what is legal or illegal. Few actions are illegal in MMA as it covers everything from strikes to the conduct of fighters inside the cage.    

   Groin shots  

One of the main illegal strikes that occur inside the Octagon. However, MMA fighters cannot strike their opponent in the groin in any way. If the fighter is hit with a shot, the referee stops the action, giving the fighter five minutes to recover. If the fighter cannot recover after a particular time, the striker will lose the game, or it could be a no contest.    

Accidental groin shots are standard in MMA but intentional or unintentional, and the referee has the option to take away a point from the guilty fighter.    


Headbutting was legal in older organizations, but in the modern world, they are illegal now and infrequent in this time of evolution of MMA. Headbutts are dangerous and cause cuts on both fighters. Usually, headbutts are so quick that the referee cannot notice them quickly, but if any fighter executes an intentional headbutt, the referee would certainly deduct one point from the guilty fighter; that point will make a difference in winning and losing the fight.    

An intentional headbutt would result in a stoppage of action, no-contest, or disqualification.    

   Striking to the back of the head   

Striking to the back of the head or spine is very common in boxing; as a result, the referee deducts a point from the striker. Fighters are usually warned firmly not to punch the back of the head. As it could be dangerous and cause severe damage to the fighter. The risk of paralyzing is the primary reason to avoid such strikes.    

Fighters cannot control when their opponent turns their head. so the referee gives the guilty fighter a warning unless the fighter is knocked out or badly hurt from the blow to the back of the head.    

   Downward elbows    

Striking downwards using the point of the elbow is illegal. which is justified for medical and safety reasons due to the possibility of severe injuries to opponents. Fighters may not strike their opponents from a twelve o’clock position to a six o’clock position with their elbow.    

Such downward elbows are banned because such strikes are capable of cutting an opponent or causing eye injury or some severe damage. Even Jon Jones was disqualified for using these elbows at the Ultimate Fighter 10 finale while earning a victory over Matt Hamill.    

   Holding the fence   

The most widely seen illegal move is inside the Octagon when a fighter grabs the fence to get the unfair advantage to get defending takedowns and escape from the bottom.    

   Fish hooking   

A dirty fighter usually hooks the mouth, nose, or even eyes which is forbidden.     

   Eye gouging    

Eye gouging or poking is another illegal move for apparent injuries. Intentional eye-gouging is very rare, although accidental eye poke is quite common. MMA gloves are open-fingered worn by MMA fighters. so these are usually unintentional.    

  Kicks or knees to the head of a grounded fighter   

Kicks, knees, or stomps are strikes that were previously legal, but in this era of MMA. Such illegal strikes can cause stoppage of action, point deduction, or eventually disqualification.    

   A Concluded Note:    

Several rules have evolved to ensure fighter safety for acceptance in Boxing and MMA. Such standard rules have allowing the sport to be sanctioned globally. As safety is the priority while practising combat sports, check out StarPro combat for premium quality Boxing gear, MMA gear, including MMA gloves, and boxing gloves without breaking your bank.    

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