As a promotion, ONE FC is less than one year old, so you can't blame its decision-makers for tinkering with things as it goes along. Unfortunately for the fighters, that's going to occasionally cause situations where the new changes might have benefited them if only they'd been instituted earlier.
That's exactly the fate that's befallen Andrei Arlovski, who seemed on his way to victory at the August 31 ONE FC: Pride of a Nation show until his soccer kicks of Tim Sylvia were deemed illegal. Under the old rules, the decision was made a no contest, but under the new rules, Arlovksi would likely be declared the winner.
On Sunday night, the promotion confirmed that going forward, they have adopted PRIDE rules for soccer kicks.
The issue with the old ONE FC rules stemmed from a wrinkle that had been added prior to the organization's first show. They had mandated that the referee must signal the offensive fighter's ability to kick a downed opponent, a change they called the "open attack" rule.
In the recent Arlovski-Sylvia fight, Arlovski floored Sylvia with a pair of right hands and immediately kicked him in the face twice before referee Yuji Shimada had given him the go-ahead to do so. Shimada quickly ruled that he hadn't signaled the "open attack" period and deemed the kicks illegal.
Now, that clause has been done away with, and the fighters will be allowed to kick and stomp their opponents as soon as the action hits the ground. Ground kicks were first popularized under PRIDE, through Chute Boxe members like Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Soccer kicks and stomps are banned under the Unified Rules which govern most North American MMA, including the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator.
Though a likely Arlovski win was denied him, he may get another chance under the new rule set, as he and longtime rival Sylvia both indicated an openness to fight for a fifth time.