Why Are Co-Mains Not 5 Rounds?

Why Are Co-Mains Not 5 Rounds?


I would hate to think of how many times, and I’m sure I’m not alone in my annoyance here, where I’ve been enjoying a co-main event and watching two marquis fighters squaring-off in what is always an important divisional bout and often one with title ramifications on the line, only to have the fight disappointingly drawn to a conclusion at the end of the 3rd.

It’s usually not because either fighter was out of the fight decisively, but simply because the co-mains are only 3 rounders. It’s a drag to say the least. Particularly if you’re guy was getting his *** handed to him over the first two, only to have them rally in the third and return the favor to his/her opponent.  It’s that “what if?” moment. What if your guy had another 2 rounds?   

After the Sanchez / Ellenberger fight (February 15, 2012), which was a three round top-of-the card bout on the UFC’s debut appearance with Fuel TV and a fight that turned out to be a phenomenal, fan rousing war and one which left the live attendant audience of seven-thousand-plus clamouring for rounds 4 and 5, Dana White declared that from then on all mains would be five rounds and regardless of whether or not there was a title on the line. “The Boss” actually went so far as to say that the promotion had erred, “blew it”, in failing to have scheduled Sanchez / Ellenberger as a 5 round fight.  

However and as much as that was the correct decision to gurantee 5 rounds for top-of-the-card bouts and certainly a decision which pleased the fans, one has to ask the question…why has White not applied the same standard to the co-mains?

For me, if there was one quick and easy change that I could make to the UFC it would be scheduling co-mains as 5 round fights. As a general rule, I believe fans are just as interested in the fight directly below the main as they are in the main itself. Certainly this was the case for the recent UFC 160 card. There were more people who were interested in and hyped for JDS / Hunt then there were for Velasquez / Silva. As it turned out they were right in doing so as Jr. and Mark put on a great fight, where CV / Bigfoot put on a bout that turned out to be 81 seconds of predictability.

So how do you feel about it? Are you happy with the status-quo or would you like to see Dana issue the mandate and make all co-mains 5 rounds?

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  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

    no rounds, yay!!!

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/DavidSaucier David Saucier

      I think it comes down to a conflict of the UFC having to be off the air by a certain time otherwise the broadcast gets cut off, so if we had a 5 round co main event we would have to give up another fight on the main card, so for example instead of getting 5 different fights on the main card they may have to schedule 4 fights instead to make sure they dont go over their ppv time limit. Im fine with the main event being 5 rounds, the main event should be special from the rest of the card.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/ShenronRage ShenronRage

    Imagine if you got someone like Jon Fitch for a co-main event, no thank you.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      I will forever think that Jon gets a bum rap on the subject of boring. Sure he's had a few, but then again so had pretty much every other fighter out there and with the exception of few.

      I take my hat off to any man that can and is willing and talented enough to get in there and tie-it-on. Fitch is one of those fighters. I will always appreciate and respect him and will always and forever believe, that Dana made a lousy call. I think it was completely unfair.

      Ironic, but when I think about it GSP / Fitch…two fighters who are constantly berated for putting on boring fights, put on one of the greatest and most exciting fights I've ever seen. It might have been a lopsided affair, but Jon took a beating in that fight and Rush couldn't put him away and it took all of his effort to keep on him for 5 rounds.

      As a big fan of GSP's it's one of my favorite fights. Yes, it was a great victory for Georges, but I was also and completely impressed with Fitch's wouldn't die attitude. Not many could have withstood that beating for a full five. Penn didn't. It's the same reason I respect the **** out of Josh Koscheck. Georges beat his orbital bone into dust and the ****'er wouldn't quit. He had no chance in that 5th and he still answered the bell. To this day, I still blame the ring doctor for failing Koscheck and allowing the fight to continue. Heck, I don't know if he was even checked by the doctor. Talking about fighter's health, there's a fight that should have been stopped.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

      I believe you would see finishes from Fitch in 5 round fights. Usually his opponent is nothing by the end of R3 and then he would dismantle them in R4. He has almost always been close to a finish in R3 with his opponents. His style requires 5 rounds. I think you would have more finishes from him than GSP in 5 round fights as GSP never has his opponent nearly finished in R3 anymore but Fitch has and just doesn't have the luxury of 2 more rounds to try.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/duder113 duder113

    10 min rounds, when inconclusive another 10 min, when inconclusive 5 minute rounds till it's conclusive

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      If we're going to be serious I'd rather go the other way and have 50 / :30 second(s) rounds for mains and 30 / :30 second(s) rounds for everything else.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/DavidSaucier David Saucier

        That idea greatly hurts bjj guys they would have no time to work, and implement their chess match to get the sub

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/watermelonfresh watermelon fresh

    because there has to be a point where you draw the line and main events and title fights are enough. MMA is already dangerous enough and it's easy for fans an promotions to " want more"

    3 rounds works for all non main events and title fights – There's really no such thing as a co-main event anyways – It's a market ploy by the Bald Father to make you think you're getting an awesome card for you $55 when you're really getting a weak card lately.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/N.C. N.C.

      OMG so true!

      Unless it's UFC 100 or the new years card. Nearly all "co-main events" now are just between 4 guys who you've heard of before.

      But the big things watermelon and a few below me have brought up is. This is a nice article by somebody who never competed in sports. Boxing for example:12 rounds was reduced from 15 because the longer a fight goes. The more damage that is done. The extra 3 rounds resulted in death of several fighters. They dropped it to 12 because it reduced deaths. Not to mention, even if they win some are never the same again.

      I'm getting tired of writers who like to demand fighters to put their health behind their own entertainment. Title fights and title eliminators. That's fine. Its rare and when it happens it's important.

      The only rounds I would like to see added is over-time.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

        NC – I'm not sure how you read the article and deduced that I have not competed in sports. It that is your contention then you would be wrong.

        Also, I wouldn't classify my thoughts on the matter a "demand".

        Further, I don't know how many times I've heard fighters wax philosophical post-fight about how they could have won had it been a five round fight, because the other guy was gassing.

        I also have no idea of where this discussion of dying fighters comes from. There are no fields of dead MMA fighters. The UFC has had no deaths, certainly none that I'm aware of and comparing MMA to boxing is like comparing apples to oranges. They are just not the same thing.

        In terms of danger, I see no more danger in a 5 round fight then I do in the 1rst or 3rd of a three round fight. If all of this mayhem and death is possible, is your contention that it can't happen in the first 15 minutes of a fight? If so, I'd like to see the actuarial table which proves the case.

        As to you being tired of writers who seek their titillation by calling for a 5 round fight and at the risk of a fighter's health, are you not being a hypocrite? For do not "all" MMA fans seek their jollies by watching two men or women, slug the daylights out of one another? Is that not the very sentiment that drives our sport? Do not the MMA masses bemoan fighters like Jon Fitch and GSP, because they are not devastating and decisive enough to their opponents?

        The article only raises the question of adding two rounds to co-main events and nothing else. Fighters appearing in those matches are all well-honed and know what they have to prepare for and again, I'm sure if we asked Carlos Condit if he wished his bout with Big Rig was a 5 rounder, he'd say "yes". Hendricks might say otherwise and because he was the more tired of the two fighters by the end of the 3rd. However and sadly for Johnny, the reality of his next fight is that he will have to go 5 rounds. Subsequently, I really don't see the difference in terms of "demand" on either Hendricks's health or Condit's, had their fight been a five round fight.

        On this issue, I fail to see how having a belt on the line can be any different from having the right or opportunity to fight for the belt on the line. By that argument it seems to me that all concerns for a fighter's health go out the window and simply because a “bobble” is up for grabs. To me, that makes no logical sense. When considering your position one would think that you would be calling for a reduction in rounds for main events, down from 5 to 3, rather than having a reasoned defense of 5 round mains.

        Either way, I’m sure my wish (not demand) won’t come true and will thus render the point moot.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/watermelonfresh watermelon fresh

          Why so defensive? Be glad and thankful people are on your website and interested enough to comment. Don't attack the posters. Plenty of other sites read up on mma news.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox


            I did not attack N.C. I addressed his post. I defended my position. It is not my personal policy nor that of the website to attack its members, otherwise referred to as guests.

            Also and for the record NC have had words before, but no rancor. Sometimes I agree with him. Sometimes I do not. I bear
            no animosity. He's entitled to his opinions, freedom of speech, freedom to hear and all that stuff.

            As evidence of that please check his meter count and you'll notice 1 cool. That's from me

            On that note and for the record, it is my personal policy that I do not "weak" LK member's comments. Member's are guests and guests are to be treated with the proper opprobrium, at lest as much as can be for a website that's about fighting.

            You are also correct in that we (LowKick) should be glad and thankful that people are on the website and interested enough to both read and comment. As you note, there are numerous other options for MMA news and opinion and beyond that limitless other ways, both on and off the internet, to spend their time.

            It is all noted and appreciated from the staff.

            Cheers, for your thoughts.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

    Here is a typically question of quantity over quality.
    Hypothetically, what would you prefer to see Brian less matches and longer rounds or more matches and less rounds. I think the whole problem for the UFC is paying more to fighters for longer rounds, longevity of a fighter and also broadcasting live limits…personally i'd love to see 25 minute co mains especially if it s a qualifier for a title shot

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      321…There is no perfect remedy. It's just what I'd like to see. I really began thinking about it @ the end of Condit / Hendricks. I would have loved to have seen another two rounds in that fight.

      If it's an issue of paying fighters more…then pay them more. Personally, I wouldn't shed any tears over lower UFC profits.

      In terms of your question, I'd rather see more rounds in a co-mains and I think it's a good test for fighters that have advanced that far as to be in one. There are a good number of times when fighters get to that level, where they've never been in a co-main and never been in a 5 round fight, so here's a chance to get some experience before the truly big test.

      Just my thoughts on it at any rate.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

        There should be no reason why we couldn't fit in an extra ten minutes in a co-main fight…..You could easily cut out ten minutes of talk and opinions across a whole production.

        I wish I had a $1 for the number of times you watch a three round fight and wish it was five rounder. Notice how many three rounders end in controversy. but then again so do five rounders at times….like henderson and shogun…it was close

        Also Brian , I'd love to see a 10 minute first round like in pride just for one card. Sometimes you get great momentum.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

          Kind of like when the NHL does an old-time hockey game outside. Yeah, I agree.

          321…how about old, old school….1 15 minute round and 1 25 minute round, respectively.

          Really I don't get it. I think it makes sense. I think the fans would love 5 round cos' and I really don't think the guys fighting in those bouts would care particularly. They are professional fighters after all.

          Funny, the fight that I was thinking about when writing this was JDS / Hunt and the…what if? What if Hunt hadn't broken his foot and the fight had been a 3 round war with no stoppage and with both fighters having enough enough gas to go another 2 rounds?

          I would have been ****ed off…huge. Go to a decision with those two sluggers in the wring and with a heavyweight title shot on the line…and we could have scheduled 2 more rounds? You would have had to shoot me. Truly Enjoy, I am glad Hunt lost the way he did, then to go through the other scenario and have him lose in a close decision in a 3 round fight. I would have been beside myself.

          My guess would be, play that scenario out for either Hunt or JDS and they'd both say the same thing….give me 2 more rounds.

          Peace man.

          • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321


            Its funny when people talk about 5 rounders being too long considering Royce Gracie fought four people in the one event @ UFC1 to win the tournament. He fought not knowing who he opponent would be.

            Nowadays guys get months to prepare and only need to focus on 1 guy.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/thexperience1 thexperience1

    Absolutely not… I would like to see an "extra" round for "draws"… (especially title fights) other than that, 5 round co-main events would take away the "climax" from a main event. There needs to be a difference and it's perfectly fine the way it is. There will always be "some" fights where you would want to see an extra round or 2 but you need to draw the line somewhere and i think it's perfectly fine the way it is. Making every main event a 5 rounder was enough change for now.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/enjoylife321 enjoylife321

      got a good point there experience1

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      Experience, I would have to say that your argument for not doing is the best argument for not doing it, that I've read.

      I concur with 321, you make a good point.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/BrianCox Brian Cox

      Experience, I would have to say that your argument for not doing it is the best argument for not doing it that I've seen put forth.

      I concur with 321, you make a good point.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

      True and good point. I think the idea of 1 round for 15 minutes and then 25 minutes for main event would be better than 3 and 5 rounds though. I know corner men and coaches would hate that though.lol.

      • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

        Credit to Brian Cox for the 1 round idea.

        • http://lowkickmma.com/author/falcon4917 falcon4917

          Think about how many extra finishes we would get considering the bell save scenario is deminished significantly.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheRealDeal TheRealDeal

    Go to old Pride rules, end of story. Solves all problems and separates the men from the weenies.

    • http://lowkickmma.com/author/TheRealDeal TheRealDeal

      Half of the UFC would not make it through the 1st round…….