For some time there’s been a debate in MMA, and in particular the UFC regarding the length of major fights that aren’t for a belt.
There’s a growing feeling that, for instance, non-title main events and title eliminators should also go for five rounds instead of the standard three, and it appears that the UFC agree.
At today’s UFC Fan Expo Q&A in Toronto Dana White stated that they are in the advanced stages of implementing the idea.
“We were actually going to start it with Brock Lesnar and Junior Dos Santos,” White revealed, “but we had already made the fight. We had already made the fight, so it’s kind of hard to go back to those guys after you already make the fight and say ‘You know what, this is going to be five [rounds] instead of three.”
There’s a number of recent fights that could undoubtedly have benefited from this. For instance, the BJ Penn Vs Jon Fitch fight at UFC 127, which was originally expected to produce the next No.1 contender at 170lbs ended up as a majority draw after three rounds and would have been better served as a five round bout.
Going back a little further the Lyoto Machida Vs Rampage Jackson fight that headlined UFC 123 last year was only just heating up during the third round.
There are a couple of drawbacks if the UFC does go through with this however, most notably that it could effect the number of fights that the promotion can fit into their three hour pay-per-view time-slot. Some fighters may also be somewhat disgruntled at the idea of having to train even harder for a 25 minute fight without a title being on the line.
Overall though this does seem like a worthwhile format to at least experiment with to see if it proves to be beneficial, and given White’s comments it seems likely that it’ll be implemented before the year is over.