Dana White pulls the trigger on five round main events:
“From this day forward, as we speak right here, right now today, every fight that is a main event that is not a title fight will be a five-round fight,” White said following a UFC 131 pre-fight press conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
When immediately asked if that applied to Evans vs. Davis, White corrected himself.
“Except that one,” White said with a laugh. “It should be, but what I don’t want to do to guys is fights that we’ve already made and they’ve signed the bout agreement, you’re mentally training for a three-round fight. To come back and say, ‘Oh, it’s five rounds now,’ you can’t do that to a guy.
“So all the fights that will be made from this day forward will be five rounds.”
So because they were made before yesterday, we can assume that means Dan Hardy vs Chris Lytle and Nate Marquardt vs Rick Story will be the last three rounder main events (although Dana did confirm that injury / replacement situations like Nate vs Rick would still be five rounders).
This could be both awesome and terrible, and I’m sure it will play out that way. For every Sanchez vs Kampmann there’ll be a Rampage vs Hamill, meaning we’ll spend half the time celebrating the change and the other half cursing. We’ll have to watch the blankets do their blanket things for two more rounds. Fighters ‘slowing things down’ to conserve energy for longer fights. Or gassing out because they didn’t.
In theory, more time will give fighters in main events the opportunity to do more awesome things. But in practice, the awesome fighters are going to be awesome in three rounds anyways, while the bummers are gonna bum you out over 15 or 25 minutes regardless. All we can do is hope the UFC’s matchmakers take this into consideration when booking their main events. Extra rounds don’t magically make better fights. Just ask boxing about that.
Also on the radar: a flyweight division. But you know how the UFC is sometimes. They say ‘soon’ and it means a year from now. Nothing wrong with that – shit takes time, Rome wasn’t built in a day, yadda yadda yadda. I’m just not getting myself up in a lather until the UFC starts signing guys. This will bring the UFC up to 8 belts, which will hopefully be enough that the UFC doesn’t have to rely on lots of five round non-title main events on UFC PPVs.