Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Akiyama's slippery scandal spawns HERO'S rule reform

By Jordan Breen

Unbeknownst to most, this past HERO'S card did have some changes in effect in terms of rules and protocol. HERO'S rule director Gen Isono has revealed a host of new legislation for HERO'S competition in the wake of the Yoshihiro Akiyama (Pictures) controversy, with rule changes involving gloves, greasing, and a variety of other aspects that came into play during the Akiyama scandal.

Fighters in HERO'S are now no longer permitted to tape their hands in their dressing rooms. Fighters must now go to the executive office in the arena, and tape their hands in front of an official. Moreover, fighters will be given their gloves just before they make their entrance to the ring by an attending official. Following a bout, fighters must remove their gloves and hand-wraps in front of an official.

Also, no fighters are permitted to use creams, Vaseline, or lubricants of any kind on the day before, or day of a fight. Officials and referees have now been carefully instructed to search fighters more diligently for these kinds of lubricants before fights begin.

No less than 12 officials will be employed for surveillance backstage during events. Locker rooms and warm-up areas will be among the closest monitored, as officials seek to ensure there are no areas in which fighters can't be watched.

Fouls of this nature will now be of considerably greater consequence. If a foul of these kinds is discovered prior to a fight, the offending competitor will forfeit half of his purse money, as opposed to 10 percent previously. If the infringement is discovered after a bout has transpired, the guilty party will be immediately disqualified, rendering his opponent the winner, and will have his entire fight purse withheld. Moreover, fighters who are deemed to be negligent in their actions will be suspended for three to six months from competition, while those deemed to be malicious will be suspended for six months or longer.

In the ring, while officials were previously instructed to let action continue to flow even if an attacking fighter in top position had driven a fighter on his back between the ropes and onto the apron, officials are now instructed to immediately pull them back into the ring to fight away from the ropes.

"Although we had left some of this up to fighters' good will before, from now on, events will be managed in strict accordance," said Isono.

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