OMAHA, Neb. – If you were left begging for two more rounds after Jake Ellenberger’s thrilling three-round victory over Diego Sanchez, you weren’t alone.
Following Wednesday’s UFC on FUEL TV 1 event in Omaha, Neb., UFC president Dana White admitted he “blew it,” and all future main events will feature five rounds.
“Already thought and done,” White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “I’m actually pissed at myself about it, so yeah.”
The UFC first implemented five-round non-title fights this past June.
“From this day forward, as we speak right here, right now today, every fight that is a main event that is not a title fight will be a five-round fight,” White said following a UFC 131 pre-fight press conference.
However, when the UFC later signed a multi-year deal with the FOX family of networks, it turned out the new change only applied to pay-per-view and FOX-aired contests, leaving FX and FUEL TV with three-round main events.
No longer, said White.
“I can do 33 rounds on FUEL TV if I want to,” White said. “FUEL TV can’t get enough.
“We blew it tonight. It should have been a five-round fight.”
Many MMA fans and pundits felt the same after Sanchez called up third-round heroics, blasting Ellenberger on the feet and nearly scoring a finish on the floor. However, Sanchez had clearly dropped the opening two rounds and was forced to settle for a unanimous-decision loss.
With the tide turned, Sanchez simply ran out of time, and many observers believe an additional 10 minutes could have changed the course of the fight.
There are a few notable exceptions to the new policy: The Thiago Alves vs. Martin Kampmann headliner of UFC on FX 2 and the Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Alexander Gustafsson main event at UFC on FUEL TV 2 will remain three-round affairs. With bout agreements already in place, White said it wouldn’t make sense to try and change the terms of the contracts.