If a foul is committed, the referee shall:
- call time;
- check the fouled mixed martial artist's condition and safety;
- and assess the foul to the offending contestant, deduct points, and notify each corner's seconds, judges and the official scorekeeper.
If a bottom contestant commits a foul, unless the top contestant is injured, the fight shall continue, so as not to jeopardize the top contestant's superior positioning at the time.
- The referee shall verbally notify the bottom contestant of the foul.
- When the round is over, the referee shall assess the foul and notify both corners' seconds, the judges and the official scorekeeper.
- The referee may terminate a bout based on the severity of a foul. For such a flagrant foul, a contestant shall lose by disqualification.
Time Considerations for Fouls
Low Blow Foul
A fighter who has been struck with a low blow is allowed up to five minutes to recover from the foul as long as in the ringside doctor's opinion the fighter may possibly continue on in the contest. If the fighter states that they can continue on before the five minutes of time have expired, the referee shall as soon as practical restart the fight. If the fighter goes over the five minute time allotment the fight cannot be restarted and the contest must come to an end with the outcome determined by the round and time in which the fight was stopped.
Fighter who is not fouled by low blow but another foul If a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts is stopped because of an accidental foul, the referee shall determine whether the unarmed combatant who has been fouled can continue or not. If the unarmed combatant's chance of winning has not been seriously jeopardized as a result of the foul and if the foul did not involve a concussive impact to the head of the unarmed combatant who has been fouled, the referee may order the contest or exhibition continued after a recuperative interval of not more than 5 minutes. Immediately after separating the unarmed combatants, the referee shall inform the Commission's representative of his determination that the foul was accidental.
If a fighter is fouled by blow that the referee deems illegal, the referee should stop the action and call for time. The referee may take the injured fighter to the ringside doctor and have the ringside doctor examine the fighter as to their ability to continue on in the contest. The ringside doctor has up to 5 minutes to make their determination. If the ringside doctor determines that the fighter can continue in the contest, the referee shall as soon as practical restart the fight. However, unlike the low blow foul rule, the fighter does not have up to 5 minutes of time to use at their discretion.
For a foul other than a low blow, the fouled fighter is not guaranteed 5 minutes of recovery time. If deemed not fit to continue by the referee or ringside physician, the referee must immediately call a halt to the bout. If the fighter is deemed not fit to continue by the referee or ringside physician but some of the five minute foul time is still remaining, the fighter cannot avail himself of the remaining time.
If the referee stops the contest and employs the use of the ringside doctor, the ringside physician's examinations shall not exceed five minutes. If five minutes is exceeded, the fight cannot be re-started and the contest must end.
Scoring of incomplete rounds
There should be scoring of an incomplete round. If the referee penalizes either contestant, then the appropriate points shall be deducted when the scorekeeper calculates the final score for the partial round.
Scoring the foul to be performed by the Scorekeeper
Fouls may result in a point being deducted by the official scorekeeper from the offending mixed martial artist's score. The scorekeeper, not the judges, will be responsible for calculating the true score after factoring in the point deduction.
Only a referee can assess a foul. If the referee does not call the foul, judges shall not make that assessment on their own and cannot factor such into their scoring calculations.
** As of 2019 Unified Rules