UFC President Dana White shocked many MMA fans when he announced all main event bouts on Ultimate Fighting Championship fight cards will be increased to five rounds, whether it’s a title fight or not. White told reporters on June 9:”From this day forward, as we speak right here, right now, every fight that is a main event that is not a title fight will be five rounds.”
The UFC’s new rule is scheduled to take effect after UFC 133, and it will be interesting to see how the news is received by MMA fans.
If an MMA fighter is good enough to be featured in a main event, it usually means a championship fight isn’t that far away. From that perspective, it makes sense to give MMA fighters a few five round fights as they prepare for a shot at the title. Besides, with the exception of the smaller shows usually broadcast on Spike TV and Versus, most UFC main events are title fights, so the rule really isn’t as drastic as it seems.
Some MMA fans might think the move should lead to more main event fights being finished, but that remains to be seen. Some MMA fighters might decide to stall, since they have to fight for two extra rounds.
Personally I thought the UFC’s current match format was good enough, given the MMA promotion’s success in the past decade. Main event fighters will surely ask for more money, and it will be interesting to watch how everything plays out in the future.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has an excellent chance to test out the new rule with Phil Davis and Rashad Evans at UFC 133, but White feels it wouldn’t be fair to either fighter. White told reporters: “We’ve already signed the bout agreement, you’re mentally training for a three-round fight. For us to come back and say, it’s a five-round fight, you can’t do that to a guy.”
With the current Ultimate Fighting Championship schedule, MMA fans will probably get to enjoy the new rule for the first time at “UFC Live 5”, when Dan Hardy meets up with Chris Lytle in the main event.