What is a no-contest?

UFC Fight Night Dos Anjos v Lee
UFC Fight Night Dos Anjos v Lee / Brett Carlsen/GettyImages

What does a no-contest in MMA mean?

When you think of how an MMA fight can end many people think of knockout, submission, or decision. Those are the most likely endings to a bout that we see in mixed martial arts. However, there is another, more unusual way for a fight to end, and that is the no-contest. 

Typically an MMA bout is either three or five rounds that last for five minutes each. The two fighters involved are trying to end the fight however they can. A knockout and a submission are the quickest ways to get that done, but what happens when something out of the ordinary happens? With cage fighting, anything can happen and in these rare and sometimes bizarre moments, a fight may be called a no-contest.

A no-contest means neither fighter can be determined the winner.

When can a no-contest happen?

There are a few situations that can result in a no-contest. The first is an accidental illegal move. Contrary to the "no rules" stereotype, there are, in fact, rules. For example, no eye pokes, no groin strikes, no biting, and no fish hooking, to name a few. Some fights can be wild and accidents do happen. If an accidental injury occurs that leaves a fighter unable to continue that could result in a no-contest, depending on the round that the accidental foul occurred or other factors. Ultimately it's up to the referee to decide when a foul is accidental or purposeful.

Another way a fight can be ruled a no-contest can be after the fact. This would happen when a fighter tests positive for a banned substance but the results of the drug test came after the conclusion of the fight. If that fighter was the winner of the bout, they would lose the win on their record and the fight would be changed to a no-contest. This was the case when Jon Jones defeated Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.

These kinds of things happen in MMA unfortunately and no contests are there to make it fair. A no-contest does not affect a figher's win-loss record.