K-1 began in 1993 and is a kickboxing platform and martial arts brand well-known worldwide mainly for its heavyweight division fights. On January 2012, K-1 Global Holdings Limited, a company registered in Hong Kong, acquired the rights to K-1, and is the current organizer of K-1 events worldwide.
- Each match is three or five rounds in duration, with each round lasting three minutes.
- The match can end by Knockout, Technical Knockout, Decision, Disqualification, Draw or No Contest.
- Both the referee and the ring doctor have full authority to stop the fight.
- The fight is scored by three judges on a ten-point must system (The winner of each round receives ten points, and the loser receives nine or less. If the round is even, both competitors receive ten points).
- If there is a draw after three rounds, the judges’ scores are thrown out and one or two extra three-minute rounds are contested. The judges’ decision will then come from the scoring of each extra round only. If, after the extra round(s), there is still a draw, the judges will decide a winner based on the flow of the entire match, considering even the slightest difference. A fight can only end in a draw if both fighters go down at the same time and cannot get up, or in the case of accidental injury in the late stages of the contest.
- The three-knockdown rule is in effect (three knockdowns in a round results in a technical knockout).
- The mandatory eight count is in effect (the referee must count to at least “eight” on all knockdowns).
- The standing eight count is in effect (the referee has the right to declare a knockdown on a fighter who appears to be in a dangerous condition to continue in the match).
- A fighter can be saved by the bell only in the last round.
In K-1 single elimination tournament matches:
- Each match is three rounds in duration.
- The three-knockdown rule becomes a two-knockdown rule for all matches except the final.
- One or two reserve fights are held prior to the single elimination matches. If for any reason a fighter who wins and advances through the brackets is unable to continue, a reserve match competitor, or the fighter’s opponent from the most recent match, takes his place. There are certain exceptions to this rule (i.e. a fighter who lost a match by knockout might not be eligible to replace another fighter).
The following actions in K-1 are considered fouls:
- Using the head or elbow to deliver a blow
- Attacking the opponent in the groin
- Delivering wrestling or judo throwing or submission techniques
- Thumbing, choking or biting the opponent
- Punching the opponent in the throat
- Attacking the opponent while he is down or in the process of getting up
- Attacking the opponent after the referee calls a break
- Holding the ropes
- Using offensive language to the referee
- Attacking the back of the head with a punch
- Attempting to cause the opponent to fall out of the ring
- Voluntarily exiting the ring during the course of a match
- Attacking an opponent who turns around and shows his back (if the opponent loses his will to fight)
- Delivering a backspin blow in an unauthorized area
- Charging inside the opponent’s arms with the head held low (inducing a head-butt)
- Fighting in a passive manner (without attacking), including continuous holding and clinching
- Attacking more than once while holding the opponent’s kicking leg, or while holding the opponent’s neck with both hands
A fighter is penalized as follows:
- Caution – verbal reprimand by the referee
- Warning – fighter is shown a yellow card
- Point Deduction – fighter is shown a red card
Two cautions result in one warning. Two warnings result in a point deduction, and three point deductions in one round can result in a disqualification.
A red card is shown automatically if a fighter commits a foul with malicious intent.