Tag Team MMA

Tag Team MMA: The Next Best Thing or a Disgrace to Fighting?


Once considered a blood sport from the beginning, MMA has come a long way to earn its spotlight as one of today’s most popular sports. The addition of rules and regulations changed the views of many viewers and fighters alike to recognize it as a true sport that required great skill and endurance.

In contrast, Tag Team MMA has many MMA enthusiasts upset by the potential backset of the view of the sport. And with sloppy rules and regulations, and improper matchups it could potentially cause great harm to the fighters that participate.


Tag Team MMA: The Beginning

Tag Team MMA was first created in 2002 during a conversation by President of the Shoot Boxing Association (SBA), Caesar Takeshi, and Koki Hioki, a representative for ZST. The first Tag Team MMA match was held November of that same year in Japan and at was directed under the SBA ruling. The TT MMA fights began to gain popularity in Japan and today are directed under ZST rules for the most part.


ZST Rules

ZST is a Japanese MMA promotion and sanctioning organization that also holds amateur fights, including TT MMA. ZST rules for TT MMA fights basically include:

  • 3 Rounds, with 1 ½ minute rests in between.
  • First and second rounds are 5 minutes in length.
  • Third round is 3 minutes long.
  • On the ground, punches, knees, kicks and elbow strikes are allowed to the body only.
  • There are no decisions; fight going full time results in a draw.

Other rules sometimes apply, such as GT-F (Grappling Rule), and include:

  • There are 2 rounds, with 1 and 2 minute rests.
  • First and Second Round is 5 minutes in length.
  • No clinching, no holding.


Tag Team MMA Basic Rules

TT MMA generally has basic rules across the board, but they are followed loosely depending on the fight, which leads to the widespread notion of stupidity of the tag team fights. These “general” rules include:

  • One 15 min round.
  • Tags must be made while the fighter is not in the ring, hand must be reaching over the top rope.
  • If a tag is made the other team can choose to tag as well at that time.
  • Unlimited tags.
  • Defeat of a fighter by K/O or submission does not end the fight; the fighter must leave the ring but the fight continues with the other team member (essentially 2 on 1). The fight ends when both members of one team are out.
  • Weight is place on whole team not on single member.
  • Slaps only to the head.

That being said let me comment on the rules:

  • The 15 minute round is a little much for a full contact sport, the 5 minute rounds are much more efficient and allow higher energy more explosive fights(which is the point).
  • I am against tag team fighting in general because it undermines the sport in my opinion. But commenting only on this rule, even though this it sounds good every fight I have witnessed it is used loosely to say the least.
  • No problem with the rule that if one tags the other can tag: however, this is another rule I have seen get out of control.
  • Unlimited tags? Seriously, what is the point?
  • The continuing of a fight when one team member is out is silly. If one of the team members is out they are done. Enough said.
  • The weight being placed on the whole team and not on the individuals is probably the dumbest rule of them all. That is prime example of amateur fighting.
  • Slaps only to the head?? One of the greatest feelings in a fight is a great hit right on the button. This is not a playground.


As you have probably noticed, I am completely against TT MMA. As a kickboxing and BJJ instructor, I love the sport and rejoice in the success of the sport as a whole. TT MMA demeans the sport and is a recipe for disaster for the fighter. Rules placed on the sport are not followed as they are in UFC or Pride fights and the possibility for injuries in a TT MMA fight is much greater.

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