VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- UFC president Dana White was in an announcement-making mood following the UFC 131 press conference at Robson Square on Thursday afternoon.
Among those announcements was news that, "[f]rom this day forward," all non-title main event bouts in the UFC would be five-round affairs, giving the fighters at the top of the card an extra two rounds to battle out from now on.
"From this day forward, any fight that is signed after right now today will be a five-round fight," White said.
Even main events on Spike TV or Versus cards? You bet. Even late replacements that get shuffled into the main event? Absolutely, said White.
Of course, "from this day forward" also means, 'excluding main events where three-round bout agreements have already been signed,' such as the impending bout between Phil Davis and Rashad Evans that is scheduled for UFC 133. White explained that he didn't want to force fighters who had already agreed to three-rounders to suddenly prepare for five, but going forward, any fighter in a main event should expect to be signed up for a 25-minute tilt, he said.
As most fans are no doubt aware, up until now the five-round distinction belonged only to title fights. Even main event number one contender bouts, such as Saturday night's fight between Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin, have always been limited to three rounds.
The move is likely the UFC's attempt to ensure that fewer non-title main events end in disappointing or indecisive fashion after just three rounds, though it also has the added benefit of making every main event seem just that little bit more special.
The bloody battle between Martin Kampmann and Diego Sanchez at a "UFC Live" event on Versus back in March, for instance, ended in a somewhat controversial decision after reaching the three-round limit. Going forward, bouts like that one will have an extra two rounds to resolve themselves.
White also announced that the UFC will be adding a 125-pound division "really soon," and said the UFC has already begun conversations with some fighters about competing in the division. Explaining that "we need more fights," White said the addition of the 125-pounders could happen as soon as the end of 2011, though it's unclear as of yet how the organization will go about crowning a champion in the new division.
White said he also expected that some current UFC 135-pounders would take advantage of the new division and drop down to a weight class where they're not so undersized.