In one of the biggest changes in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC president Dana White made the official announcement at the UFC 131 pre-fight press conference that from this moment on all title bouts signed will be five rounds.
“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,” said White. “For Spike and everything else.”
However, this will exclude bouts that have already been signed including the light-heavyweight clash between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis and the UFC on Versus main event of Dan Hardy and Chris Lytle.
The UFC officials made the decision largely to prevent the fans that drop 50 bones to purchase their pay-per-views leaving disappointed when a main event doesn’t live up to the hype after fifteen minutes of action.
And 2011 has been a year for events ending like that, of the five events UFC has put on with non-title main events four of them have finished with a inconclusive winner. Most notably BJ Penn and Jon Fitch’ draw and Quinton Jacksons lackluster decision over Matt Hamill.
The decision has seemingly split the crowd with some in favor of the decision, while others dead against it.
The way I see it, having an extra ten minutes of action just raises the chances of the superior fighter leaving with their hand raised.
To go for 25 minutes you need cardiovascular fitness that you simply don’t need in a three round affair, a solid wrestler can maintain top position for two rounds and do enough to squeak out a decision in a typical three round bout however it’s not so simple with the additional 10 minutes.
Plus, what do we ultimately want when we watch a fight? A clear cut winner, you want one combatant to knockout or submit the other and this allows them more time to get that conclusion.
Now that the UFC has branched out further allowing their preliminary bouts to be streamed between Facebook, Youtube and the Xbox 360 Network time isn’t as much of a factor.
In the past, having an additional ten minutes of a fight lessened the amount of fights we were able to see on the card but with all these outlets to view the fights we are able to see them all and increase the chances of getting a clear cut winner.
The main argument against the five rounders has been whether or not it takes away from a championship match – Ultimately nothing is being taken away from a title fight because you’re not leaving with a title if you get your hand raised.
Deep down we are all fans of the sport, how can we have a problem with seeing high level athletes fight 25 minutes?