The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) uses an octagonal mat and cage for its fighting space. This is because the UFC allows fighters to use various martial arts, and the fighters all come from different disciplines. Participants may have been trained in traditional boxing, wrestling or other martial arts styles. However, wrestlers are used to a circular ring, while boxers are accustomed to a square-shaped space. The octagon was designed so as to avoid offering an unfair advantage to fighters from any specific martial arts discipline. The octagon is also designed to enhance the safety of the match while keeping the fight exciting, entertaining and visible from all angles. The walls are essentially chain-link fences, with protective padding on all sharp corners and edges. The wide angles of the octagon's boundary (as opposed to the 90-degree corners of a standard boxing ring) prevent fighters from getting stuck in corners.
The mat floor of the UFC octagon is covered in a layer of canvas (often designed with plenty of paid advertisements). Each canvas is used only one time and replaced before the next fighting event. The octagon measures 30 feet (9.14 meters) in width, giving the fighters plenty of room in which to move, attack and evade opponents, but fighters should be careful not to retreat too often; timid fighting can be seen as a dishonorable or unsportsmanlike tactic in UFC, usually used for delaying the match. Once a UFC match has begun, both fighters (along with a single referee) are expected to remain inside the ring, while no one else is allowed to enter. Both of the ring's gates remain shut for the duration of each round. The raised walls of the ring are designed to prevent fighters from attempting to toss one another outside the fighting area - - and yes, at least one UFC fighter has tried this.
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