Is a Throat Punch Allowed in the UFC? | Explained

A strike to the throat can be a very tricky subject in MMA.

In this page we will go through all of the different scenarios where a throat punch is allowed, and when it is not.


Table of Contents

Is a Throat Punch Allowed?

An intentional throat punch, or a throat strike in general is not allowed in the UFC. Under the Unified Rules of MMA, throat strikes of any kind, and/or grabbing the trachea are considered fouls and can warrant a disqualification, or at minimum a deduction of points.


However, it's extremely rare for a referee to stop a fight for a throat strike if for example a fighter level changes upwards, and the other fighter who threw a punch was aiming for his opponent's face, but due to the level change it lands on his neck.

That would be considered an accidental strike, and if the referee does decide to pause the fight, he can give the fighter who was hit by the illegal throat strike time to recover.

Using the Throat in Grappling

Although strikes to the throat are not legal, using chokes on the throat in order to submit an opponent is absolutely legal.

throat submission

For extremely skilled Jiu Jitsu practitioners, whenever their opponent gives up their neck, they immediately are able to secure a choke and either force their opponent to tap, or put them to sleep.

Why Are Strikes Illegal But Chokes are Legal?

Strikes are illegal as they can severely damage the throat of the opponent, to the point where they can no longer breathe, and they will need surgery in order to fix it.

Even a light punch to the trachea can collapse a larynx and cause someone to choke.

Chokes are a different, as although the point of the choke is to restrict airflow, it gives an opponent the chance to tap, and doesn't pose the same risk of long term damage from blunt force.

Kicks to the Neck

Although a throat punch is not allowed, the rules become a bit 'Muddy' when it comes to kicks.

Standing neck kicks are allowed, and often result in knockouts or TKO's.

In fact, UFC megastar Ronda Rousey famously suffered her first knockout after being struck by a 'head kick' that landed cleanly on her neck.

Related Articles

What is a Doctor Stoppage in the UFC?

When is a Knee to the Head Legal in UFC?

What Does NC Mean in the UFC?

Are Elbows Allowed in the UFC?