Despite UFC 102 headliner, White reiterates no interest in five-round non-title fights
by John Morgan and Dann Stupp on Aug 31, 2009 at 10:30 am ET
If you thought Saturday's Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Randy Couture UFC 102 main event fight might have swayed Dana White to change his mind and allow five-round non-title fights in the UFC, think again.
Although the Nevada State Athletic Commission has officially opened the door for non-title five-rounders, the UFC won't be using the option.
White admits that while watching Nogueira navigate his way to a decision victory at the Rose Garden Arena in Portland, Ore., he thought about it. But the purist in him wants to keep five-round fights strictly for championship bouts.
"I was saying [last week] I wish this was a five-round fight, Nogueira and Couture, and there's been other fights, too, that I've wished were five rounds," White said prior to UFC 102. "But I'm a purist, man. Title fights are five rounds. When you fight for the title, it's five rounds."
Earlier this month the NSAC approved the use of five-round bouts for non-title fights. While the news got a lot of play, few realized that the NSAC already (and often) permitted such bouts if organizations simply requested them and the fighters had an appropriate experience level.
But even before the new rule went into effect, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) he didn't expect the hometown promotion to use it.
"The UFC has specifically told us they're not interested, so I doubt you'll see that from them," Kizer said.
The thrill of fight night, though, had White reconsidering.
"You know how many times I've been ringside and said, 'God, I wish this was a five-round fight,'" White said after UFC 102. "I did it [on Sunday]. (UFC heavuweight champion) Brock (Lesnar) and I were watching the fight together, and we both said we wish that fight with Nogueira and Couture was five rounds.
"But, I think that's what's so special about fighting for the title. You fight for the title, and it's a five-round fight; you don't, it's a three-round fight. So if everything could be five rounds, what's the point in having title fights at five rounds? Should we do title fights as seven rounds and regular fights (at) five rounds? It just doesn't make sense to me, even though as a fan myself I'd like to see some fights go five rounds that aren't."