A brief guide to the main rules and procedures of an IFMA Competition
**For a more in-depth description please download the FULL IFMA Rules & Regulations**
Before an IFMA Competition:
Coaches and Managers must also provide any required certifications in order to attain an AD accreditation to participate at an IFMA Competition. Below are the Five individual athlete requirements necessary for registration (not including payment, hotel registration requirements etc.).
1. Medical Declaration: Athletes must provide a completed IFMA Medical Declaration Form signed by an authorised doctor, stating their good physical condition and absence of injuries, infections, or disabilities that could affect their capacity to compete.
2. Declaration of Non-pregnancy: Female athletes 18 and above sign a Declaration of Non-pregnancy. Those under 18 require a parent or legal guardian’s additional signature.
3. Blood Tests: Athletes 16 and above must submit recent HIV, HBV, and HCV screening blood test results on the laboratory’s letterhead.
4. IFMA Doping Consent Form: All athletes must provide a signed Anti-Doping Consent Form. Those aged Under 18 require an additional signature from a parent and/or legal guardian.
5. ADeL Certificate: WADA certificate confirming completion of the mandatory Anti-Doping course on the ADeL (Anti-Doping Education Learning platform).
During an IFMA Competition:
Rules all coaches and managers should know before attending any IFMA competition
Before the bout
Competition timing: Competition start must be at least three hours after the weigh-in closes. However, a shorter time may be allowed by the IFMA Organising Committee after consulting the IFMA Medical Commission.
Understanding the Weigh-In process and requirements: Weigh-in checks occur at different times: If the Technical Delegate does not require an Official Weigh-in 1 day prior to competition, athletes are only required to present themselves at the Competition Weigh-In each morning of their scheduled competition. Athletes are only allowed to compete in the weight classification for which they have qualified/registered. This is to ensure that their actual weight on that day does not exceed the maximum weight limit for their weight class. Additionally, athletes must pass the compulsory medical check during the Competition Weigh-In.
All Weigh-Ins take place according to the most recent schedule announcement (posted in the official Whatsapp group for each event). If an athlete fails to present themselves at their Weigh-In within the scheduled time frame, the athlete will be disqualified.
- The Official Weigh-In is at the discretion of the Technical Delegate and is commonly performed on presentation at Competition Weigh-In for the athlete’s first day of competition.
- A Pre-contest Weigh-In can disqualify athletes if their weight exceeds 5% above their qualified weight classification.
- Athletes must pass a medical examination before being weighed on each day of their competition.
- Electronic scales showing metric weights will be used.
It is particularly important if, for example, there are not many participants in a weight class (e.g. three) and the athlete has a bye through to the Final. If, for whatever reason, the athlete does not come to the Weigh-In in person, they will be disqualified and will not receive a medal. It is different, for example, if someone has stepped on the official scales and is overweight, this athlete then loses through WO but he/she is then officially listed as a loser and receives a medal.
Defining the Weigh-Ins:
Official Weigh-In: Programmed as per the Competition’s Technical Delegate’s instruction. It is often held on the first competition day for each individual athlete, the athlete must weigh in within the weight class they are registered for, failure to do so will mean disqualification from that competition. The Official Weigh-In may be held 1 day before competition to determine all athlete’s weight divisions.
Competition Weigh-In: Each morning of competition.
Pre-Contest Weigh-In: Can be called at any time before an athlete’s contest by the Technical Delegate or Medical Official.
Procedures for Weigh-In:
Competition Medical Certification: Athletes must be certified fit to compete on each day of their competition by a qualified doctor approved by the respective association or IFMA medical commission.
Attendance: Athletes must complete medical and weight checks at their Official Weigh-In which will determine their weight class for the entire competition. The athlete must weigh within their registered weight class, failure to do so will result in a disqualification.
Clothing & Dress: Athletes should be in lightweight undergarments and prepared for competition (clean shaven, no socks, trimmed toenails).
Making Weight: Athletes can only present themselves at the official scales once per day, the weight recorded on that presentation is final.
Supervision: Weigh-In teams supervise the process, and one National Association delegate may observe without interference. Female athletes are to have a separate female Weigh-In team.
During the bout
Cuts and Abrasions: Athletes cannot compete with regular dressings on cuts, wounds, or swelling. An Athlete is allowed to compete if an abrasion is covered with steri-strip/s. The decision should be made by the doctor examining the Athlete at each Competition Weigh-In.
Performing the Wai Kru: The Wai Kru is a traditional Muay Thai ritual performed by athletes before the match.
- After the equipment inspection, the referee signals the start of the Wai Kru.
- The athlete, wearing the sacred Mongkon, prostrates to the canvas three times.
- Athletes are encouraged to perform a proper Wai Kru, including starting postures, sitting postures, and standing postures.
- It is important to note that only conventional Muay Thai rituals are allowed during the Wai Kru. Other martial art rituals are not permitted.
- The Wai Kru can last a maximum of 2 minutes for Seniors and 1 minute for Youth.
Shaking of Hands: According to the rules, athletes are required to shake hands or perform a respectful “Wai” before the first round and after the contest results are announced. This gesture signifies a spirit of sportsmanship and friendly rivalry. However, it is prohibited for athletes to shake hands between rounds.
Equipment & Dress Infractions: The referee can exclude athletes with non-compliant equipment or dress from the contest.
Gloves: Athletes must wear IFMA-approved gloves weighing 10 ounces. Only clean, serviceable gloves of red and blue colour may be used.
Glove Supervision: Gloves, wraps, and bandages should be fitted under supervision to ensure compliance with rules.
Gloves Removal: Gloves should be taken off outside the ring after the contest decision is announced.
Bandages & Hand Wraps: Athletes can use soft surgical bandaging or “Velcro” hand wraps within specified length and width.
Head Guard, Shin Guard, & Elbow Guard: Mandatory use of IFMA-approved head guard, shin guard, and elbow guard.
Body Protector: Mandatory for U23 and Youth divisions, not worn in Senior divisions.
Gum Shield: Athletes must wear a form-fitted gum shield during the round. If an athlete has braces fitted to their teeth, they must obtain permission from the dentist (or orthodontist) to compete while wearing braces. If an athlete has both upper and lower braces the athlete may use a double gum shield or single at the athletes discretion.
Groin Guard: Mandatory use of metal or polycarbonate groin guard for males and polycarbonate or foam guard for females.
Female Chest Protection: Mandatory chest protection for females in Senior divisions.
Liniment & Vaseline: Vaseline is allowed on the face for reducing cuts but not on other body parts.
Clothing & Dress: Athletes should wear provided competition clothing, including Mongkon (headband) and Prajiad (armband) during Wai Kru.
Facial Hair: Beards and moustaches are not allowed; athletes must be clean-shaven.
Prohibited Dress: No other objects can be worn during the competition.
Corner Activity: Keep the corner area clean and free of water and debris. Excessive water use or spraying by other means is prohibited. Do not pour water on the athlete, do not spit water on the athlete, do not use a wet towel. A spray water bottle is recommended to wet an athlete. This is a consideration for all participants as no-one would like to use wet headgear, elbow or shin protection.
National Flag: Country flags are not allowed within the field of play; only IFMA-approved country abbreviation labels can be used.
The rules and conduct of cornering
Each competitor is entitled to a maximum of two seconds.
- Seconds should remain seated away from the ring platform during an active round.
- Before a round begins, remove all objects from the ring platform.
- During a count, warning, or timeout, seconds should not provide advice.
- During the rest between rounds, only two seconds may enter the ring.
- Seconds should ensure the athlete faces the centre of the ring.
- Spraying a reasonable amount of water on the athlete is allowed.
- Excessive water use or spraying by other means is prohibited.
At any time: Seconds can retire an athlete by throwing the towel into the ring, except during a referee count. They must not provide bad advice, assistance, encouragement, or engage in aggressive contact with the athlete. Violations may lead to warnings or disqualification.
Attire: Seconds must wear the National Association’s uniform and are recommended to wear flat-heeled athletic shoes. Inappropriate attire is not permitted, including jeans, shorts, hats, leather jackets, etc.
Know your athlete’s protocols: During a Muay Thai match, athletes must adhere to specific protocols. They should wear the required equipment and have their Mongkon, head guard, and gum shield held by their seconds. Athletes enter the ring between designated ropes, and once inside, their seconds place the Mongkon on their head. The athlete then presents themselves to the jury and judges before going to the referee for equipment inspection.
Points Allocation and Decisions: Each round is scored individually, with one athlete awarded 10 points. The round is won by the athlete who utilises more scoring Muaythai skills than their opponent. The margin of victory is determined by the difference in scoring Muaythai skills, with small, large, or total domination margins. If athletes are equal in scoring Muaythai skill, the athlete who uses more forceful skills wins the round.
Points are not awarded for strikes lacking skill, effectively blocked strikes, strikes lacking force even if they land on target, throws without strikes, or strikes that infringe the rules. At the end of each round, the better-skilled athlete receives 10 points, while the opponent receives proportionately fewer points (9-8-7).
Points may be deducted if an athlete receives a warning or commits a foul, as observed by the judges or instructed by the referee. If the total score is tied at the end of the contest, the winner is determined by considering factors such as exhaustion, bruising, willingness to lead off, defence, Muaythai style, and rule adherence.
A skill is a forceful strike with the intent to cause an effect. Points are awarded for each skill that lands on a scoring target without being blocked or infringing the rules. Scoring targets include any part of the body except the groin. Strikes against non-scoring targets, like gloves or forearms, require enough force to affect the target. Striking the groin intentionally is considered a foul.
Exhibition Matches: In exhibition matches, a draw decision may be awarded to acknowledge the non-competitive nature of the event.
Conflict of interest: A person acting as an IFMA Official shall not act as Team Manager, Trainer, or Second to any Athlete or team of Athletes in the same competition. Members of the Jury officiating at the World Championships, World Cup Competitions and Continental Championships shall not officiate as Referees and Judges at those Games or Championships
After the bout
Protests: A protest must be lodged by the National Team Manager within thirty (30) minutes after the decision has been announced, or within five (5) minutes if the contest is a gold medal match (final).
In writing: After the decision is announced, the protest shall be made in writing and handed to the Technical Delegate or Chairman of the Jury, along with a protest fee of $500 USD. If the Jury agrees to review, necessary action may be taken on the matter. If the protest is upheld, the money will be refunded with a deduction of $100 USD for administration. If the decision is upheld, the protest fee will not be refunded and will remain with IFMA or the Continental Federation.
The International Federation of Muaythai Associations (IFMA) follows the anti-doping procedures and requirements set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and their own IFMA Anti-Doping Code.
Fundamental Rationale for the Code and IFMA’s Anti-Doping Rules: Anti-doping programs seek to preserve what is intrinsically valuable about sport. This intrinsic value is often referred to as “the spirit of sport”. It is the essence of Olympism, the pursuit of human excellence through the dedicated perfection of each person’s natural talents. It is how we play true. The spirit of sport is the celebration of the human spirit, body and mind, and is reflected in values we find in and through sport, including:
- Ethics, fair play and honesty
- Excellence in performance
- Character and education
- Fun and joy
- Dedication and commitment
- Respect for rules and laws
- Respect for self and other Participants
- Community and solidarity
Anti-doping rules and protocols: Doping is fundamentally contrary to the spirit of sport. The administration of drugs or chemical substances that are not part of an athlete’s usual diet is prohibited. The doping regulations of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the IFMA Anti-Doping Code apply.
Ages: Athletes aged 18 and above must sign the IFMA Anti-Doping Consent Form. Athletes under this age require an additional signature from a parent and/or legal guardian.
Doping violations: Any athlete or official who violates the doping prohibition may be disqualified or suspended by IFMA.
Local anaesthetics: The use of local anaesthetics is permitted but it is subject to the discretion of a doctor from the IFMA Medical Commission.
WADA prohibited list: The list of prohibited substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is considered IFMA’s list of prohibited substances. Athletes taking such substances or officials administering them will face penalties. IFMA also reserves the right to ban additional substances based on the recommendation of the IFMA Medical Commission.
Testing and Investigation procedures
IFMA, in accordance with the International Standard for Testing and Investigations, is responsible for conducting testing procedures to determine an athlete’s compliance with the Code’s prohibition on the presence/use of prohibited substances or methods. The testing activities, including test distribution planning, testing, post-testing activities, and related activities, must adhere to the standards outlined in the International Standard for Testing and Investigations.
The specific number and type of tests to be conducted, such as finishing placement tests, random tests, and target tests, will be determined by IFMA based on the criteria established in the International Standard for Testing and Investigations. All provisions of the standard will automatically apply to all testing conducted by IFMA.
Unless limited by jurisdictional limitations for event testing as stated in Article 5.3 of the Code, IFMA has the authority to conduct both in-competition and out-of-competition testing on all athletes specified in the Introduction to these Anti-Doping Rules.
IFMA may require any athlete over whom it has testing authority, including athletes serving a period of ineligibility, to provide a sample at any time and any place deemed necessary by IFMA.
In-competition: Is any time during the competition portion of an IFMA competition event. During in-competition testing, the following procedures are followed:
- The athlete is discreetly notified of their selection for doping control immediately after completing their competition by a Doping Control Officer (or Chaperone).
- The athlete must sign the notification form to confirm receipt and keep a copy, and stay in the view of the Chaperone until reporting to the Doping Control Station.
- If the athlete refuses to sign, they will be informed of their obligation and the consequences of refusing. If the athlete still fails or refuses to sign or report to the Doping Control Station, they will be considered to have refused doping control.
- The athlete is required to report immediately to the Doping Control Station, unless there is a valid reason for a delay. The athlete can request permission to delay reporting or temporarily leave, but only under continuous chaperoning and direct observation and there is a valid reason for a delay.
- Valid reasons for the delay may include participating in a presentation ceremony, fulfilling media commitments, competing in further competitions, performing a warm-down, obtaining necessary medical treatment, locating a representative or interpreter, obtaining photo identification, or other reasonable circumstances determined by the DCO in accordance with instructions from IFMA or the Testing Authority with jurisdiction at the event.
- The athlete can be accompanied by a competition-accredited representative from their National Federation and an interpreter if needed.
- Minor athletes can have a representative present, but they cannot observe the urine sample collection unless requested by the minor.
- The athlete must present a valid identification document at the Doping Control Station.
- Only authorised personnel are allowed in the Doping Control Station, including the Doping Control Officer(s), Chaperone(s), station staff, authorised interpreters, the athletes selected for doping control and their representative, and the WADA’s Independent Observer.
- News media is not permitted in the Doping Control Station, and the doors must not be left open. Photography or filming is not allowed in the Doping Control Station during its hours of operation.
Out-of-competition: Is any time outside of an IFMA competition event and can include days prior to and following any programmed competition dates. When asked to provide a sample, each athlete must also complete an official Doping Control Form. The form includes the athlete’s name, contact information, sample code number, event identification, and a declaration of any medication and nutritional supplements used in the preceding seven days. It also records the names of individuals present at the Doping Control Station, including the Doping Control Officer (DCO).
The Doping Control Form contains at least four copies:
- One copy is retained by the DCO and forwarded to the IFMA Office by the day after the competition.
- One copy is given to the athlete.
- A special copy is sent to the laboratory conducting the analysis, designed to prevent the identification of the athlete providing the sample.
- An extra copy is distributed as deemed appropriate by IFMA, following the International Standard for Protection of Privacy and Personal Information.
The athlete selects a sealed collection vessel, visually checks that it is empty and clean, and provides the required amount of urine under the direct supervision and within the view of the DCO or appropriate official of the same gender.
Sample collection equipment must meet specific criteria, including a unique numbering system, tamper-evident sealing, no identification of the athlete, and cleanliness prior to use.
To ensure the authenticity of the sample, the DCO or Chaperone may require the athlete to disrobe as necessary. Only the athlete and authorised personnel are present during the collection of the urine sample. Blood testing may be performed before, after, or instead of a urine sample.
Therapeutic Use Exemptions (“TUEs”)
According to IFMA’s Anti-Doping Code, the presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers, as well as the use, attempted use, possession, or administration of a prohibited substance or method, will not be considered an anti-doping rule violation if it is consistent with the provisions of a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) granted in accordance with the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions.
If an athlete needs to use a prohibited substance for therapeutic purposes, they should apply for a TUE to their National Anti-Doping Organisation or IFMA as soon as the need arises. For substances that are prohibited only during in-competition periods, the athlete should apply for a TUE at least 30 days before their next competition, unless it is an emergency or exceptional situation. This allows sufficient time for the TUE application to be reviewed and processed by the relevant authorities. Please see IFMA’s Anti-Doping Code for definitions on what constitutes an emergency or exceptional situation.
Please note this is a guide only! -For a more in depth understanding please read the IFMA rules and regulations for international competition and the IFMA Anti-Doping Code (see link above).