One of the most divisive rules in all of Mixed Martial Arts is the prohibition of 12 to 6 elbows. The strike was made illegal in the Unified Rules of MMA, wherein it is listed at number 10 in the subcategory of fouls:
’10. Downward pointing elbow strike (12 to 6): The use of a linear “straight up straight down”elbow strike is prohibited. Any variation of this straight up and down linear elbow strike makes the strike legal. Any arc, or any angle change from straight up to straight down makes the strike legal. Any variation of position does not alter the legality of the strike.’
One of the most controversial events that saw this rule utilized was when Jon Jones fought Matt Hamill in 2009. In this case, Jones was disqualified en-route to his only ever MMA loss, for employing the technique despite being on the cusp of victory before he even threw a questionable strike.
UFC commentator Joe Rogan has made his disdain for the rule clear in the past, reasoning that if you can kick someone full force in the head with all the torque that can generate, comparatively, downward elbows aren’t as dangerous. However, when utilized correctly downward 12-6 elbows can be devastatingly effective. In this video, we see what happens when a guy manages to pull off the technique in a street fight.
The two combatants in the video initially are just going through the more straightforward boxing approach on the feet. Then, after the pair get caught against a nearby car, one of the guys manages to get the upper hand by securing a take down and landing directly in a mount position.
From there the guy pounds away on his defenseless adversary, who clings desperately to the guy to try and avoid taking any of the punches flush. The guy on top then ditches the punches and instead opts to unleash a series of downward elbows.
The elbows clatter off the top of the skull of the dude on the bottom who probably wishes he’d have just stayed home at this point but the beating continues. As some of the bystanders intervene, presumably in an effort to save the bottom guys few remaining brain cells, the guy on top stands up then delivers a vicious stomp to conclude and put an exclamation point on his assault.