While longtime referee Big John McCarthy says fighters who intentionally cheat are gambling with their own careers, the reality is that as long as fouls look relatively accidental, guilty parties seldom suffer any repercussions beyond a warning—at least for a first offense.
With that reality in mind, Bleacher Report recently set out to survey fighters, analysts, coaches and referees to ask whether it really pays to bend (and sometimes break) the rules in an MMA fight.
This was the case for former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir heading into a fight against Cheick Kongo at UFC 107.
In the hierarchy of fouls in MMA, techniques like holding the cage to prevent a takedown or grabbing your opponent's gloves to control their hands are considered the least serious.
After Kennedy nearly stopped Romero with strikes near the end of the second round of their UFC 178 fight, Romero returned to his corner looking exhausted and hurt.