It’s been a long time coming. UFC President Dana White stated at today’s UFC 131 pre-fight press conference that all main event bouts signed in the future will be five-rounds, regardless of whether it is a title fight or not.
“From this day forward, as we speak right here, right now, every fight signed that is a main event that is not a title fight will be five rounds,” White said.
White confirmed to ESPN that the new policy would not only be for pay-per-views, but also for cards aired on Spike TV and Versus. The new policy would also hold in the event that a fighter is forced to withdraw from a main event and is replaced.
The first UFC card headlined by a non-title fight is UFC 133, featuring Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis in the main event. White was quick to clarify that the policy applies to main event fights not yet signed, and the Evans-Davis bout will still be a three-round affair.
“It [Davis vs. Evans] should be [a five-round fight], 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,” said White. “To come back and say, ‘Oh, it’s five rounds now,’ you can’t do that to a guy.”
It appears that the first fight affected by the new rule will be the Dan Hardy – Chris Lytle welterweight scrap at UFC on Versus 5 on August 14.