Should Video Replay Be Mandatory in the UFC For 2021?

Published 01/05/2021, 9:08 AM EST
Las Vegas , United States – 6 October 2018; UFC President Dana White during the post fight press conference following UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)


The UFC has seen a long process of evolution in terms of how the rule set that governs the sport functions. However, it still finds itself behind the times on many occasions. While they don’t have someone writing new rulebooks as John McCarthy did, they do have an active process of change in the rules. However, most of the rule changes function on an administrative level that the UFC has no control over.

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Rules are specific to commissions. The different commissions in different states dictate rules specific to their areas which creates a basic inconsistency between how fights are treated based on location.

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However, the need for instant replay in a sport like UFC is paramount. If sports like football and basketball have these systems, a combat sport should definitely have it too. Here is our case for making instant replay a regular fixture during UFC fight cards.

UFC supporting instant replay

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The UFC does support instant replay. Dana White has come out in the past and said that the sport needs it. We saw the Nevada State Athletic Commission license the use of instant replay at any point during a fight. Most commissions allow instant replay, but only to evaluate a fight-ending sequence. The fight cannot be restarted after replay is used.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 12: Rose Namajunas battles Jessica Andrade in their strawweight fight during the UFC 251 event at Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 12, 2020 on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Vegas 10 was the first card that allowed the use of instant replay. However, we then come to the question of incompetent referees. Despite instant replay being available, a wrong decision was made during a bout that saw a fighter win by TKO, but the decision was overturned after an appeal for a low blow. Following that, the fight was restarted and the initial winner of the fight ultimately lost it via submission.

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But in theory, there is no rational argument against not having instant replay. Refereeing errors will exist regardless of the technology. At least this will give referees a better chance of making the right decisions and preserving the integrity of the sport along with protecting the fighters. It is crucial for the UFC to have this become a mandatory practice in 2021, but there are no guarantees.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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