Soccer kicks and ground stomps are some of the most hotly contested techniques in MMA. Unified MMA rules do not allow kicking and kneeing the head of a grounded opponent, but Pride FC and the new One FC allow these kinds of strikes. For all of their brutality and entertainment value, should soccer kicks be allowed in MMA?
In the case for kicks, stomps, and knees to a downed opponent, they are a part of the striking component of combat sports. If the sport is supposed to be fully uninhibited mixed martial arts, why should the rules restrict such a technique? If the purpose of prohibiting head stomps and kicks is to prevent serious damage, then every striking technique of modern MMA needs a serious evaluation. Physical damage is an integral part of MMA and a risk athletes take every time they step into the cage. However devastating they may be, prohibiting soccer kicks and ground stomps takes away a very effective striking technique from fighters that have taken a very advantageous position in a fight. From the entertainment side of a fight, soccer kick highlight reels were one of the characteristic qualities of Pride FC. It’s hard to imagine a more iconic image of a fighter dominating an opponent than when they are able to hone in with a series of stomps.
While athletes can take striking damage in any number of ways, the biggest problem with soccer kicks is that it is almost impossible to defend yourself. A grounded opponent can try to take their opponent down by catching their balancing foot, but they are very defenseless on the whole. And while soccer kicks are a bona fide fighting technique, it can be a big contributor to the stigmatized ideals of MMA. Ground stomps are not the first technique that comes to mind when the average person thinks of martial arts.
Do soccer kicks have a place in MMA? Why should or shouldn’t they be allowed?