All Illegal Moves In UFC (Complete Guide)

In this post, I will provide you with a list of UFC’s illegal moves in detail. The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is known for its intense and sometimes brutal fights. Along with the excitement comes the risk of serious injuries from illegal moves.

And to ensure the safety of the fighters, UFC rules and regulations forbid certain illegal moves. In fact, Illegal moves are prohibited in the ring because they could lead to death.

However, these rules and regulations are set to protect the fighters from potential injury and to ensure fair and balanced matches. 

You must understand these illegal moves and the consequences behind them because if you are caught in the act, you may be disqualified or deduct your points.

List Of UFC Illegal Moves

  1. Attacking an opponent during a break
  2. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
  3. Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded at the end of a round
  4. Biting or spitting at an opponent
  5. Clawing, pinching, twisting the flesh
  6. Downward pointing at elbow strikes
  7. Eye gouging
  8. Fish hooking
  9. Fingers outstretched toward an opponent’s face/eye
  10. Flagrant disregard of the referee’s instructions
  11. Grabbing the dense
  12. Groin attacks
  13. Holding opponent’s shorts/gloves
  14. Head – butting
  15. Hair pulling
  16. Abusive language in the cage
  17. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
  18. Stomping an opponent on the ground
  19. Throats strikes of any kind
  20. Throwing opponent put off the ring or fighting area
  21. Small joint manipulation
  22. Interference from a mixed martial artists’ corner or second
  23. Unsportsmanlike Conduct That Causes An Injury To Opponent
  24. Placing A Finger Into Your Opponent’s Cut.
  25. Pile driving

Let’s get to the detail

READ: 10 Best Free UFC Live Streaming Sites 

1. Attacking During A Break

Attacking an opponent during a break is considered an illegal move, and a fighter must not attack his opponent during a time-out in a match.


2. Attacking An Opponent Who Is Under The Care Of The Refer

Attacking your opponent after the referee has called for a stop of action to protect your opponents who are down and unable to continue is an illegal move, and you will cease all offensive actions against your opponent.

3. Attacking An Opponent After The Bell Has Sounded The End Of The Period Of Unarmed Combat

After the end of each round, the match official will notify you by the sound of a bell, and once the referee has made a call time, any attack or action scene created by a player is an illegal move.

4. Biting Or Spitting At An Opponent

Biting is strategy fighters use to weaken their opponents, and this is usually done without the referee seeing them. It’s not every action the referee sees and if you are caught in the act, you shall race the music because it’s an illegal move.


5. Clawing, Pinching, Twisting The Flesh

Clawing or pinching your opponent’s skin is prohibited in the ring.

6. Downward Pointing Of Elbow Strikes

The use of elbow strikes on your opponent is not allowed in the ring. It’s considered an illegal move, so, you shouldn’t be caught in the act.

7. Eye Gouging

Eye gouging either by your fingers, chin, or elbow is said to be an illegal move, but strikes or punches that contact your opponent’s face are said to be a legal move.


8. Fish Hooking

Fish hooking is an act of fingering your opponent’s mouth while holding their skin. However, attacking your opponent’s mouth, nose, or ears with your fingers is said to be an illegal move.

9. Fingers Outstretched Towards Your Opponent Face

Outstretching your fingers toward your opponent’s eyes is a dangerous act that’s why you are been told to point your fingers in the air when reaching your opponent. So, pointing fingers at your opponent’s eyes is considered an illegal move.

10. Flagrant Disregard Of The Referee Instructions

As a fighter, you must heed the referee’s instructions at all times. Your point may be deducted or disqualified if found guilty.


11. Grabbing The Fence

Grabbing the fence is a foul and it’s an illegal action, you may put your hands or feet on the fence or push it at any time but when you grab the fence to control your position or your opponent’s position then it is considered to be an illegal move. At that point, one point shall be deducted from your points.

12. Groin Attacks

If you attack your opponent in any of the groin areas like grabbing, pinching, striking, or twisting, it is said to be an illegal action. And this applies to women’s competitions too.

13. Holding Opponent Shorts/Gloves

Holding opponent shorts and gloves used to be an approach to control the opponent’s movements, but now it’s seen as an illegal action. However, you can hold your opponent’s hands as long as they are not controlling their movement.


14. Head-Butting

Using your head to strike your opponent is said to be an illegal move, and if you are caught in the act, you are likely to be disqualified.

15. Hair Pulling

Hair pulling is another cheat in the match, Pulling your opponent’s hair to control their movement is considered to be illegal.

16. Abusive Language

During MMA competition, you can talk but using abusive language is not allowed. An example of abusive language is racial abuse or derogatory language. However, it’s only the referee that can tell if a language has crossed the line.


17. Kicking The Head Of A Grounded Opponent

Kicking the head of your opponent when his or her knee, arm, or any part of their body is on the ground is prohibited.

18. Stomping An Opponent On The Ground

To be on the ground means part of your body is on the floor, however, striking your opponent with your feet or any form of stomping when he or she is on the ground is not allowed.

19. Throat Strikes

Grabbing your opponent’s trachea or attacking his or her throat is prohibited in the ring. However, during a fight, if a punch is thrown and the punches hit the throat of your opponent, then it will be viewed as a legal blow or action.


20. Throwing Opponent Out Of The Ring

It’s not allowed to throw your opponent out of the ring or fighting area.

21. Small Joint Manipulation

Using small joints for defense or manipulation like fingers or toes is allowed in the match, but using large joints for defense like elbows, knees, ankles, and shoulders is illegal.

22. Interference From A Mixed Martial Artists Corner Or Seconds

Any form of action or activity to disrupt a match or try to cause an unfair advantage to be given to one combatant is not allowed. Also, influencing the referee to take an action against your opponent in any form is prohibited.


23. Unsportsmanlike Conduct That Causes An Injury To Opponent

Like in every sport, unsportsmanship behavior is not allowed, and during MMA competition, violating the rules and regulations shall be viewed as being unsportsmanlike. However, humility is one important attribute an athlete should possess.

24. Timidity

Timidity during a match is a situation where a fighter run away from the action of the fight. Also, the referee could call for timidity if a player tries to delay the action of the fight in any form either by claiming to be injured or spitting out his or her mouthpieces. Any of these actions are said to be illegal moves.

25. Placing A Finger Into Your Opponent’s Cut.

Placing your finger into your opponent’s cut, wound or mouth, nose, or ears is an illegal action. It’s shouldn’t be practiced and if you are caught in the act, your point will be deducted.


26. Pile-driving

Pile driving usually occurs when a fighter throws a punch when he or she controls the opponent’s body by placing his or her feet towards the sky with his or her head straight down.

Also, driving your opponent’s head into the canvas or floor material is said to be an illegal action. You may bring your opponent down, but attempting to control your opponent’s movements is a foul.

27. Striking To The Spine Or The Back Of The Head

Striking your opponent’s back of the head is an illegal attack. The back of the head is an area starting from the crown of the head and directly running down the centerline of the head with an inch variance to each side.


In addition, stopping at the top of the trapezius is prohibited. These are dangerous moves that could lead to a sudden death in the ring.

Final Thoughts 

Without a doubt, the ultimate fight championship is fun for many fans, but for me, I just can’t stand the sport’s aggression. Although part of what makes UFC interesting is the approach in form of a move fighters use to gain a point against their opponent.

While some moves are said to be safe, certain moves are considered to be illegal because of how dangerous they could be.


And if you attack your opponent with an illegal move, it’s either the UFC officials deduct your point, pay a heavy fine, disqualify you, or be suspended you. However, it’s important not to try any move in any form at home.

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