Clash of Titans: Understanding the Differences Between ONE FC and UFC

The world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is dominated by two major organizations: ONE Fighting Championship (ONE FC) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Each promotion has its unique approach to the sport, from weight classes and weight-cutting policies to the judging criteria and rules that significantly impact fighters’ strategies and the outcomes of fights.

Weight Classes and Weight-Cutting Policies

A notable difference between ONE FC and UFC lies in their approach to weight classes and weight-cutting policies. ONE FC has introduced a hydration protocol and weigh-in process that effectively bans weight cutting, a practice where fighters dehydrate themselves to qualify for a lighter weight class than their natural weight. This policy was introduced to enhance fighter safety and ensure competitors fight at their natural weight, thereby avoiding the dangerous effects of dehydration​​​​.

In contrast, UFC fighters often undergo a rigorous process of weight cutting, losing up to 30 pounds in the week leading up to a fight. This process is fraught with danger and has led to serious health issues and even fatalities in the past. UFC’s approach allows fighters more flexibility in managing their weight, offering them an advantage in size and strength if they choose to cut weight​​.

Judging Criteria and Scoring System

The judging criteria and scoring system also differ significantly between the two organizations. UFC adopts the 10-point must system, where the winner of a round receives ten points, and the loser receives nine points or less, depending on the round’s dominance. The criteria for scoring include effective striking or grappling, effective aggression, and fighting area control, scored round by round​​.

ONE FC, on the other hand, scores fights in their entirety, not round by round. This approach aims to provide a more holistic view of the fight, considering the overall performance of the fighters rather than segmenting the fight into rounds. Criteria for judging in ONE FC include the impact of strikes or submissions, damage inflicted, striking combinations and ground control, takedowns, and effective aggression​​​​.

Rules on Knees and Kicks to a Grounded Opponent

Another area where ONE FC and UFC diverge is in their rules regarding knees and kicks to a grounded opponent. ONE FC allows knees to a grounded opponent, which is a significant departure from the unified rules of MMA followed by the UFC, where such strikes are prohibited. This rule change has led to dramatic moments in ONE FC matches that would not occur under UFC rules​​.

Overall Impact

These differences between ONE FC and UFC in judging criteria, weight-cutting policies, and rules on striking a grounded opponent have profound impacts on the strategies fighters employ, their preparation for fights, and ultimately, the safety and well-being of the competitors. While UFC continues to dominate the global MMA landscape in terms of popularity and financial success, ONE FC’s innovative approaches to fighter safety and fight judging criteria offer a compelling alternative that prioritizes the health and safety of its athletes​​​​.

Both organizations have made significant contributions to the development and global popularity of MMA. Their different approaches reflect the diverse nature of the sport and the ongoing evolution of its rules and practices to better meet the needs of fighters and fans alike.