Friend of our site

MMA Headlines


Bleacher Report

MMA Fighting

MMA Torch

MMA Weekly

Liver Kick

MMA Junkie

MMA Mania

Bloody Elbow

MMA Ratings

Rating Fights

Yahoo MMA Blog

Search this site

Latest Articles

News Corner

MMA Rising

Audio Corner


Eddie Goldman

Video Corner

Fight Hub

Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index

To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site

Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback

Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

CSAC puts a stop to Pankration Tournaments

By Zach Arnold | March 24, 2009

Print Friendly and PDF

Got this note from Grappling X:

The California State athletic Commission just called us and said that no one can do Pankration Tournaments anymore. We will be switching the San Bernardino event on April 18th to a Gi and No-Gi tournament.
We will keep everyone updated as we get more info.

Thank you for you support.

Update (3/25): Grappling X sent out this mailer:

Email from William Douglas Asst Exec Director of the CSAC

Your concerns are being addressed on the issue of Pankration. Let me update you on where we are at this point in time.

  • A legal opinion has apparently been drafted in regard to Pankration as a sport in the State of California
  • I, on behalf of the CSAC, have requested a copy of that legal opinion for immediate review
  • Interested parties in this matter as well as interested parties related to amateur mma will be invited to the first Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Committee meeting – date and location TBD
  • Pankration, as a sport in California, is going to be placed on the agenda for the June meeting of the California State Athletic Commission
  • Stakeholders and interested parties will have the opportunity to speak to the Commission at the June meeting during the public comment period on the subject matter
  • Pankration competitions will continue in California at this time as long as the rules of Pankration are adhered to and do not use the term “Pankration” as a mask to hide behind the fact that the event is really “unregulated mixed martial arts”
  • California State Athletic Commission Inspectors will now be attending Pankration events in the State of California to observe the event and ensure that the rules are being adhered to
  • CSAC Inspectors will have the ability to issue a cease and desist letter on the spot during an event if at any time the event begins to turn into mixed martial arts
  • Event coordinators for the Pankration events will now be required between now and the June Commission meeting to contact CSAC about the event so that CSAC staff may attend the event to “observe”
  • Information relayed via telephone by CSAC staff is consistent with the message that Pankration is being observed at this point for a decision in the future on whether the sport remains as it is or shall fall under the jurisdiction of the California State Athletic Commission as a regulated sport
  • Qualified data needs to be gathered before a blanket decision to “wipe out” a sport is levied
  • CSAC may issue a cease and desist letter to any “Pankration” event that is not forwarded to CSAC so that Inspectors may attend the event to “observe” the rules being implemented during the competition

I hope this communication clarifies the issue moving forward.

It is not the intention of the Commission to senselessly bring an end to grappling sports in the State of California. However, we will shut down events that are hiding behind the mask of Pankration when in reality the event itself is unregulated mixed martial arts.

Thank you.

Bill Douglas
Assistant Executive Officer
California State Athletic Commission
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 2010
Sacramento, CA 95815

Topics: Media, Zach Arnold | 11 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

11 Responses to “CSAC puts a stop to Pankration Tournaments”

  1. Chuck says:

    The fuck? Is there a reason for this? What will be banned next by the CSAC? Judo? Sambo? Fencing? This is bullshit.

  2. prefernottosay says:

    wtf is Pankration?

  3. I’d be interested in knowing what kind of rules they were following. And in many places, government orgs do oversee martial arts tournaments, although the idea of the gov. just saying “Nope, no more of this kind of event” … wow. Land of the free my ass

  4. Chuck says:

    “wtf is Pankration?”

    Wikipedia is your friend. But Pankration is, allegedly, the oldest fighting system in the world. It was invented by the Greeks centuries ago, and in its current state, it is basically MMA while wearing really weird outfits. It was discovered from old designs and whatnot, and many of the techniques are those similar to Asian martial arts styles, submissions included. And many had the theory that Alexander The Great and his men traveled to India, taught their way of fighting, then the Indians traveled to China and taught them their way of fighting, which led to Shaolin and whatever else, and the rest is history. That is just a theory though, and is a bit of a stretch.

  5. JT says:

    Pankration is basically old school pancrase i.e open handed strikes to the face and no ground and pound.

  6. bLOODFeud says:

    I was skeptical of the Alexander the Great campaign west being the beginning of martial arts as we know it in India and China. It sounded pretty Eurocentric to me. However, there is a timeline which suggests that gi work started in the 3rd century in China and even later than that in Japan. The pankration smock is though to be the original source of the gi-grappling styles. There was most certainly stiking arts and sword arts occuring in all areas of the world. The pankration style, though was picked up and emulated by many peoples.

  7. Chuck says:

    Martial arts folk tales are the best. But which is the best? The alleged start of Chinese Kung Fu (The Alex The Great story)? The Wing Chun story (where a small girl invented the style so girls can repel rapists)? Or the Savate story (Allegedly French sailors went through China and southeast Asia and picked up kicking techniques from their excursions)?

  8. klown says:

    I love the folk tales.

    I’m also curious about the Pankration rules. If they’re what JT states above, i.e. MMA with some more restrictions,I don’t understand why Pankration would be banned – at least on the basis of the rules.

    Is Pankration the name of a certain set of rules or is it a particular promotion? If it’s the latter, maybe there was something wrong with the promotion, rather than the rule-set. But I suppose the same promotion is now holding grappling tournaments.

    Or maybe the objection was not to Pankration but to tournaments involving striking. For example, a medically-based objection to having multiple fights in one night, due to risks related to concussions. Grappling tournaments are permitted, but are there licensed boxing or muay thai tournaments out there, in which fighters have multiple fights in one night?

  9. Zack says:

    Lots of local amateur smokers are Pankration. That’s who this hurts.

  10. skwirrl says:

    ankration – Fights are to 20 points
    TKO results in a final score of 20-0

    No kicks, knees or elbows to a grounded opponent by a standing competitor. If both combatants are down no kicks to the head. Strikes to within 3 inches of the joints, the neck, spine, throat, groin or inner thigh are illegal. No elbow or knee strikes to the head during any part of competition.

    Non choke submission, (joint manipulation), do not end the fight but award 10 points to the applier. This is to reflect the real world situation of somebody continuing to fight despite the injury. 2 non-choke submissions will end the match for the person applying both regardless of score.

    A point is awarded for whomever maintains dominant position after a throw or takedown is initiated. Pulling guard does not gain a point.

    A competitor will receive 2 points when their opponent leaves the boundaries of the competition mat forced or unforced. No points are awarded if both competitors go out of bounds or they are in the clinch.

    A standing 8 count is given after a KD from a strike or repeated strikes that are undefended. 2 standing 8 counts is scored a TKO

    These are the rules of the World Pankration Federation

  11. These were the rules sent to the CSAC several years ago and are consistent with USA Pankration and FILA.
    THe link has a video demo as well


To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image