Can You Tickle In MMA Fights?

By Logan •  Updated: 11/28/21 •  4 min read

Tickling is legal in MMA fighting. There are some restrictions to this rule, as you are not allowed to tickle an opponent’s groin area, and you are not allowed to tickle when they are grounded. 

We’re going to be exploring if tickling is legal in MMA fighting, and why it might not be that effective. You’ll also find out other illegal moves within MMA fighting to better understand the intricacies of a professional fight.

Can You Tickle In MMA Fights?

Can You Tickle In MMA?

Yes, you can tickle in MMA fights. Tickling is not an illegal move, you are however restricted from tickling the groin area as well as tickling your opponent when they are grounded. Do keep in mind that when your adrenaline is high, and your aggression and heart rate is raised, you aren’t likely to feel the effects of being tickled. 

Even though you can technically tickling your opponent in an MMA fight, the actual reality is that you will not be able to keep your opponent still enough to tickle them. Not without getting a few punches to the head. If you go into an MMA fight with the strategy of tickling your opponent then you will lose – badly.

What Are Some Illegal Moves In MMA Fighting?

Rabbit punching is a punch that hits the back of the head, directly at the base of the skull and top of the spine/ top of the neck. This punch is illegal for obvious reasons within almost all competitive fighting sports. 

Hitting your opponent purposefully with your head is off-limits.

Although all male fighters are required to wear a mandatory cup, groin strikes are still prohibited from MMA. 

Because throat strikes are so dangerous to one’s trachea, they have been banned from MMA fighting. 

This move refers to a clock in the sense that you’re striking your elbow straight down onto your opponent’s head. This move is most famous due to the fighter Jon Jones.

What are illegal moves on a downed opponent?

Kneeing, stomping, and kicking the head of a downed opponent are all illegal in MMA fighting. Although illegal, kneeing a downed opponent when down is often a rule that is broken in MMA fighting. Also, take note that stomping on your opponent’s toes is still not banned. 

What ‘cheap-shots’ are illegal in MMA fighting?

This rule is often broken, although you’re technically not allowed to do it. Fighters will grab the fence to pull themselves up, gain balance, or even attempt to stop their opponent from taking them down. 

You can be deducted a point for hitting an opponent after your buzzer rings to end the round. Usually, because of high adrenaline, the referee will have to get between the fighters. 

Although all the fighters are required to wear mouth guards, it’s still possible to bite an opponent, which would be a bloody mess. That’s why biting is strictly prohibited. Scratching is also illegal.

It’s common during a fight that fighters will poke each other’s eyes when blocking or reaching out. Usually, it’s not purposeful and you will receive a warning prior to being disqualified from the fight if it happens more than once. 

This is when you use your finger to hook the inside of your opponent’s cheek and pull their head back. This can rip your opponent’s cheek flesh, which explains why it’s illegal. 

Injuring or trying to take your opponent out by sticking your fingers where they don’t belong is illegal. It does however happen. Oil-Canning is when this happens specifically to your rectum, and has indeed happened during a fight. It’s also really rude.

At the end of a round, fighters are given 60 seconds to recover and obtain treatment from their team. This is all they get. If the fighters and their team attempt to gain more time, they can be accused of time-wasting. 

Final Thoughts

Whilst you can tickle your opponent in an MMA fight (apart from the groin region), it is probably a fast way to lose a fight. I’d advise sticking to the striking and grappling techniques over tickling.


Hi, I've been an avid MMA fan all my life. I've been training in martial arts for the last 5 years and wanted to share some of the tips and tricks that I've picked up along the way to help to aspiring martial artists get started.

Keep Reading