What is a “No Contest” in UFC? (Rules & Famous Examples)

Every now and then, a UFC fight ends as a No Contest, which is certainly the most anti-climatic ending that could possibly occur in combat sports – it’s even more undesirable than a draw. Moreover, sometimes a bout that ends with a winner is later overturned into a No Contest by the ruling commission.

So what is a No Contest in the UFC? When does it occur? And what the most famous UFC famous that ended as a No Contest?

Let’s find out.

What is a No Contest in UFC?

A No Contest in the UFC is when a winner cannot be determined at the end of the fight for reasons that are outside of the fighters’ control, or at least one of them. This could ensue due to an accidental blow that renders the athlete unable to compete, or other unforeseen events, like outside interference.

In the case of an accidental injury, it has to result from an unintentional illegal strike (e.g. low blow, eye poke, punch to the back of the head…). If the referee deems it intentional, it would result in a disqualification, with the injured fighter being declared the winner.

Moreover, the accidental injury must occur during the first half of the bout (before reaching the midway point of the middle bout) for the fight to be declared a No Contest. Otherwise, we would resort to the scorecards and declare a winner (or a draw) via technical decision.

Aside of accidental injuries, there are other incidents that could render a fight a No Contest, like a rare double-knockout (when the two fighters knock another out simultaneously) or a failed drug test.

No Contest Rules UFC

According to the Unified Rules of MMA, a No Contest occurs when a contest is prematurely stopped due to an accidental injury and a sufficient amount of time has not been completed to render a technical decision via the scorecards.

The amount of time that the rules refer to is half of the bout. This is made clear in article “7.A” of the same code, which states the following: “If the non-combat stoppage occurs prior to the ½ +1 mark, the fight is to be scored a No Contest.”

The ½ +1 mark means half of the round plus one second. So if it’s a three-round bout, it would ensue in the middle of the second round, whilst the midway point of a five-round fight occurs in the middle of the third round.

If more than half of the fight is completed, then we’ll head to the scorecards for a technical decision instead of a No Contest.

UFC No Content Example

The most common examples of fights that are declared a No Contest are an accidental injury, a double knockout, external circumstances that interrupt the fight, and dishonest behavior like cheating or failed drug tests.

In the last case, the result would be overturned if the winner fails a drug test. On the contrary, if the loser is the one who tests positive for banned substances, the result will remain intact, although the fighter would be facing a ban.

UFC: No Contest vs No Decision (Differences)

No Contest and No Decision can have a similar meaning, with both referring to a fight that ends without the ability to choose a winner due to circumstances outside of at least one fighter’s control. Like most MMA organizations, the UFC adopts the term “No Contest” rather than “No Decision”.

No decision used to be more common in boxing, especially “white-collar boxing”. It was also implemented back in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century as a way to prevent upsets in championship bouts and protect the title holder. It was also a way to discourage gambling at a time when shady events used to occur in boxing.

UFC: Draw vs No Contest

While both outcomes result in a fight without a winner, a draw and a No Contest are vastly different in the UFC. For instance, a draw ensues at the end of a fight that went to the scorecards, but the three judges’ verdict resulted in a tie.

On the contrary, a NO Contest is a bout that ends due to circumstances that are out of at least one fighter’s control. The judges play no role in this event, as the fight is declared a No Contest regardless of what their scoreboards state.

Most Famous UFC No Contests (H2)

In this section, we’ll shed light on three of the most famous No Contests in UFC history. for the sake of variety, the bouts we picked ended as NC for three different reasons: Double knockout, illegal strikes and a failed drug test.

Gray Maynard vs Rob Emerson (2007)

A double knockout is such a rare occasion that it only ensued twice in UFC history. But while Matt Hughes was a awarded the victory against Carlos Newton in 2001, the referee rightly declared the fight between Gray Maynard and Rob Emerson a No Contest.

Maynard lifted his opponent and slammed him to the canvas causing him rib injuries, so Emerson immediately tapped out. However, Maynard simultaneously landed on his head, knocking himself out in the process.

So with one fighter submitting and the other knocked out, the fight ended as a No Contest. Though, the two men earned the “Fight of the Night” bonus for their troubles.

Eddie Alvarez vs Dustin Poirier (2017)

When Eddie Alvarez and Dustin Poirier met at UFC 211, fireworks were expected. While the action didn’t disappoint for as long as it lasted, the ending was anti-climactic, as illegal strikes rendered Poirier unable to continue.

Alvarez hit his opponent with three knees to the head, and at least one of them was certainly illegal as was deemed to be a “downed fighter”. Referee Herb Dean considered it unintentional, thus declaring the bout a No Contest.

The fight was replayed in 2018, and “The Diamond” displayed his knockout prowess as he emerged victorious via third-round TKO.

Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier 2 (2017)

While Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz is another case in point for a decision that is later overturned to a No Contest, the second fight between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier had much more on the line.

DC was hoping to avenge his then-lone career defeat by defending his belt against his longtime foe in a grudge match at UFC 211, Jones retained the belt he had never lost in the Octagon by knocking out the Olympic Freestyle wrestler with a vicious head-kick.

Nonetheless, the controversial champion tested positive for a turinabol metabolite, so the fight was later declared a No Contest, with Cormier being reinstated as UFC light heavyweight champion.

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Michel Sakr

A freelance sports writer from Beirut, Lebanon. A football fanatic and a Juventus supporter since childhood, but also keeps an eye on various sports around the globe. Currently contributes at Cultofcacio.com and Juvefc.com You can follow Michel on Twitter or Facebook.

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