Muay Thai Rules Explained

Muay Thai Rules

Muay Thai consists of matches of up to 5 rounds, 3 minutes each. Fighters are allowed to rest 2 minutes between each round. Gloves should be worn and each of them shouldn’t weight more than 172 grams. These gloves should be in their original shape and not be squeezed or crushed. Only red and blue trunks are allowed depending on the corner they start in. Their groins should be protected with resistance athletic cups. While shoes and shirts are not permitted, ankle caps are. Other types of equipment are also banned. These are general rules, now, let’s get into the specifics.

Ring Space Regulations

There are two types of rings, the small one and the large one. The small one should be 20 feet and the large one 24. Measurements are taken within the ropes.

The goal of this rule is to give the opponents enough space, but not large enough to fight between them and not be too close to each other nor far away so they can simply slip away from the fight.

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Ring Accessories Regulations

The ring must contain the following accessories:

  • An area where the fighters can take a break at the corners
  • two spray bottles and two water bottles
  • Two towels
  • Two bowls of water
  • Chairs and tables for the officers
  • An alarm bell
  • A stop clock
  • Sheets where the score can be recorded
  • A locking box to place the score sheet in
  • Two pairs of additional gloves
  • A set of red and blue shorts
  • A groin protector
  • Two cloth squares to replace the groin protectors
  • A stretcher
  • Scissors

The goal of this rule is to provide the fighters with the necessary equipment to engage in the fight. Muay Thai rules are designed precisely for that, to give both fighters the optimal conditions for the match.

Qualified Gloves

Fighters can only use gloves that are certified by the World Muay Thai Council. The weight of the gloves varies depending on the division as follows:

  • For the mini flyweight division – Junior Featherweight they have to weight 132 grams
  • For the Featherweight – Welterweight they have to weight 227 grams
  • For the Junior Middleweight – and upwards they have to weight 285 grams

All the gloves will be revised by a member of the committee to make sure they comply with the regulations.

The goal of this rule is to provide the fighters with equal fighting conditions. This way, not any one of them will be at a disadvantage against the other and the fight will be fair.

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Qualified Bandages

Only soft materials are allowed for bandages The size should be 2 in x 6.5 yards. Plastic can’t be used for them. The adhesive tape must be used.

The goal of this rule is to help fighters wear something that can prevent them from sprains and injuries.

Allowed Clothing Pieces

  • Fighters can only wear shorts depending on the corner. These are red, maroon, or pink, it can be with a red strip if the fighter is in the red corner, or blue, light blue, or black for the blue corner.
  • Groin protectors must always be worn and these can only be tied to the back
  • Fighters can’t have long bears or hair, short moustaches are allowed though
  • Amulets can be wron in the waist or arm
  • Elastic bandages can be worn on the legs or arms to prevent sprainsn
  • Metal items and jewelry are not permitted

The goal of this rule is to provide the fighters with comfortable garments for them to fight with.

How Scoring is Awarded

Points are awarded when:

  • A correct Thai strike (punch, knee, or elbow) is hard and accurate
  • There is an aggressive Muay Thai skill
  • When there is domination
  • Effective defense and counter-attack style

Points are not given when:

  • A strike goes against the rules
  • The strike is weak
  • A strike in the leg is made in defense

How to Determine Victory

A fighter wins when:

  • There is a knock-out and the opponent can’t continue fighting in the next 10 seconds
  • A technical knock-out (boxer is seriously hurt, doctor’s recommendation, unable to continue the match, and receiving a count twice)
  • The opponents are injured
  • The opponent breaks the rules
  • A fighter ends up with more points than the other

No one wins when:

  • Both cheat or fight unproperly, “no decision”
  • The ring gets damaged, “no contest”
  • Both fighters score equal
  • Both fighters receive a count of 10

The goal of this rule is to have a definite scoring system that will help the judges determine the winner of the match. Muay Thai rules are very clear in this aspect. This way, it is clear who the winner is.

What are Fouls

Points are deducted whenever a fighter commits a foul as determined by the referee or the judges.


  • A fighter can score a maximum of 10 points on each round
  • If there is a draw, both fighters will score 10 points
  • In an indecisive round, the winner gets 10 points and the loser gets 9
  • In a decisive round, the winner gets 10 points and the loser gets 8
  • In an indecisive round with a single count, the winner gets 10 points and the loser gets 8
  • In a decisive round with a single count, the winner gets 10 points and the loser gets 7
  • The fighter that scores 2 counts against his opponent will score 10 while the other will get 7

The goal of this rule is to have a set of rules in regard to fouls to punish those fighters that engage in them.

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Rule Violations

There is violation of the rules whenever there is:

  • Biting
  • Eye gouging
  • Spitting
  • Headbutting
  • Intentionally falling on the opponent
  • Wrestling
  • Arm or back locks
  • Holding the ropes
  • Injuring or knocking down the opponent after the referee has stopped the fight
  • Striking in the groin

In any of these situations, 1 point will be deducted according to Muay Thai rules

The goal of this rule is to ensure that the match is fought under fair conditions for both fighters.

As you have seen, Muay Thai rules are important just like any other martial art or sport to ensure a successful activity for all parties involved.

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