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Cage Rage UK first premiered in London in September 2002, and it was mixed martial arts enthusiasts Alex Jones and Tom Bell that brought the sport into the mainstream, after needing some money to buy new mats for their gymnasium. Cage Rage is a form of mixed martial arts that involves contestants entering a nine-sided, padded ring, with entry and exit points on either side – hence the term ‘Cage’.
The rules of Cage Rage are based on the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts – originally established in the US state of New Jersey, and altered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. As a result of the USA adopting the rules as standard, professional mixed martial art schools worldwide now accept them as industry regulations. All Cage Rage matches are fought over fifteen minutes, divided into three, five minute rounds, with a minutes rest in-between. In a similar way to boxing and other ring-based sports, Cage Rage fights are arranged by class; Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight. Each of these have their own upper weight limit, except for the Heavyweight division.
In preparation for the Cage Rage events, participants are expected to wear approved shorts only, no shoes or any sort of padding on the feet, and light gloves that weigh between four and six ounces – these must also be pre-approved. Despite the fact that Cage Rage is sometimes seen as an ‘anything goes’ sport, there are in fact a number of fouls that can be committed in the ring and lead to deduction of points or even disqualification.
Fighters must not:
Bite, fish hook, spit at, or head butt their opponent.
Strike the spine, throat, kidneys, or back of the head.
Hold the shorts or gloves of the other fighter.
Throw their opponent out of the ring.
Engage in any unsportsmanlike behaviour resulting in injury to the other party.
Hair pulling, eye gouging, and use of abusive language is also not allowed. If a contestant flagrantly disregards any command from the match referee they are subject to disiplinary measures and may be asked to leave the ring. A number or other strikes, pinches, and grabs are against the rules, particularly when their opponent is down or under the protection of the officials. The traditional throwing in of the towel is considered to be a foul also.
Matches are usually decided by submission or knock out. If a Cage Rage fighter taps on the mat or their opponent three times, it’s a sign of capitulation – or they can verbally communicate that they wish to surrender. If one of the two fighters is rendered unconscious or unable to continue immediately, this is considered a knock-out (or a technical knockout in some cases) and the match is over. If both parties are conscious and able to fight by the end of the fifteen minutes, the decision is left to the judges, who must evaluate the scores based on the ten point system used at all Cage Rage events. Each of the three judges scores the rounds, giving the winner ten points and the loser nine points or less – obviously the fighter with the most points is declared the victor. In some cases, the points are equal and don’t indicate a clear winner, if this occurs, the judges have to decide which contestant they felt was superior overall.