PRIDE - Official Rules

In the PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS the safety of the fighters and the integrity of the sport are of the utmost importance. The rules of our organization exist to protect the fighters and are listed below to inform the fans and the public.

Most PRIDE FC matches are broken down as follows:

Round 1 10 minutes
Round 2 5 minutes
Round 3 5 minutes

There are two-minutes between rounds.

Matches are won via:


A fighter taps either his opponent or the mat three times.

Technical Knockout
A Referee Stoppage---If the referee sees that one fighter is completely dominant to the point of endangering his opponent, the referee will stop the match.
B Doctor Stoppage---In the event that a fighter is injured (via fair methods) and cannot continue the match, his opponent will be declared the winner. The ring doctor will be the one to determine whether the fighter can continue or not. In the event that an injury was caused by illegal methods, the perpetrator will be disqualified.
C Forfeited Match---A fighter's corner throws in the towel.


If the match goes the distance, then the outcome of the bout is determined by the three judges. A decision is made according to the following: the effort made to finish the fight via KO or submission, damage given to the opponent, standing combinations & ground control, aggressiveness and weight (in the case that the weight difference is 10kg/22lbs or more). The above criteria are listed according to priority. The fight is scored in its entirety and not round by round. After the third round, each judge must decide a winner. Matches cannot end in a draw.


A "warning" will be given in the form of a yellow card when a fighter commits an illegal action or does not follow the referee's instruction. Three warnings will result in a disqualification.

No Contest

In the event that both sides commit a violation of the rules, the bout will be declared a "No Contest."

The following acts are regarded as "illegal actions." When a fighter commits any of these illegal actions, he will be given a warning from the referee (in the form of a yellow card). Warnings will be considered as negative points in the event that the match goes to a decision. Three warnings will result in a disqualification.

No head butting, eye gouging, hair pulling, biting or fish hooking.
No attacking the groin
No strikes (kicks, elbows, punching) to the back of the head (which includes the occipital region and the spine). The sides of the head and the area around the ears are not considered to be the back of the head.
No small joint manipulation (control of four or more fingers/toes is necessary).
No elbow strikes to the head and face.
No intentionally throwing your opponent out of the ring.
No running out of the ring.
No purposely holding the ropes. Fighters cannot purposely hang an arm or leg on the ropes. Hanging on the ropes will result in an immediate warning.
No kicks or knees to the head or the face of an opponent who falls face down.
No application of oil, ointment, spray, Vaseline, massaging cream, hair cream, or any other substances is permitted to any part of the fighter's body before and during the fights. The discovery of any of these substances will result in a disqualification.

In the event that a fighter is injured by illegal actions, then at the discretion of the referee and ring doctor, the round will attempt to be resumed after enough time has been given to the fighter to recover. If the match cannot be continued due to the severity of the injury then the fighter who perpetrated the action will be disqualified.
In the event that both fighters are on the verge of falling out of the ring, the referee will alert them and ask them not to move. The fighters must immediately stop their movements and will then be pulled back to the center of the ring, exactly in the position they were in. They will then resume the fight at the referee's call.
The "No Contest" Rule---When an illegal action disqualifies both fighters or the judges decide to stop the fight because of an accident (in the first round), then the fight shall be called a "No Contest." However, in the case that the accident happens during or after the second round, a decision shall be made according to the fighter's performance during the first round and the preceding round(s) before the accident occurred.
Upon the fighter's choice, Gi, kneepads, elbow-pads, shin guards, taping and ankle supporter may be worn, but each should be checked by the referee before the fight. Mouthpieces and cups are mandatory for fighters.
Weight classes are as follows:
Middleweight Class: Weight less than 93 kg/205 lbs.
Heavyweight Class: Weight more than or equal to 93 kg/ 205 lbs.
If both fighters are in the middleweight class: If there is a weight difference of 10 kg/22 lbs or more between the fighters, then the lighter fighter is given a choice on whether or not to permit knees or kicks to the face when the fighters are in the "four points position."
If both fighters are in the heavyweight class: If there is a weight difference of 15 kg/33 lbs or more between the fighters, then the lighter fighter is given a choice on whether or not to permit knees or kicks to the face when the fighters are in the "four points position."
If the match is between a middleweight and heavyweight: If there is a weight difference of 10 kg/22 lbs or more between the fighters, then the lighter fighter is given a choice on whether or not to permit knees or kicks to the face when the fighters are in the "four points position."
The PRIDE FC ring is 7 meters by 7 meters (approximately 23 feet by 23 feet).

Rules for the BUSHIDO events are generally the same as PRIDE FC rules with some exceptions:

In BUSHIDO fights are two rounds (instead of three). The first round is ten (10) minutes, and the second round is five (5) minutes. There are no extra rounds. If the fight goes the distance then judges decide on a winner.
For BUSHIDO "Challenge Matches," fights are two (2) rounds. The first and second rounds are five (5) minutes each. If the fight goes to the full time limit no decision will be rendered. The fight will be ruled a draw.
In BUSHIDO, red cards are used in the same way that yellow cards are used in PRIDE FC. In BUSHIDO, if fighters commit the following actions, they shall be given a red card by officials: Stalling or failure to initiate any offensive attack, making no attempt to finalize the match or damage the opponent, and holding the opponent's body with the arms and legs to produce a stalemate. A red card results in a 10% deduction/fine of the fighter's fight purse. A major difference in the penalty card system between PRIDE FC and BUSHIDO is that in PRIDE FC a total of three yellow cards results in a disqualification, while in BUSHIDO red cards can be given out in an unlimited number without disqualification


GRAND PRIX tournament events follow the same rules as standard PRIDE FC events with one exception:

The round format shall be ten (10) minutes for the first round and five (5) minutes for the second round during tournaments in which fighters must fight more than once in the same event (most commonly in an event that will have the semi-finals and finals). During the opening round of a tournament in which the fighter will only be fighting once that evening, then the round format is the standard 10-5-5.


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