According to MMA Junkie, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will be looking to fine tune their ruleset when they convene on August 17th. NSAC has provided a copy of the potential changes here. Among the changes, NSAC proposes to increase leniency with regards to length of bouts. Here's the text (bold indicates proposed change):
2. A championship contest of mixed martial arts or any other mixed martial arts contest or
exhibition which the Commission considers to be a special event must
[be]not exceed five
rounds in duration.
I've written about my support for more five round fights before. Just within the past year, one only has to look at the Franklin/Henderson, Franklin/Silva, and Condit/Kampmann fights as examples of why the option for five round non-title fights is necessary.
Our quirky friends at Fightlinker disagree:
Five round non title fights? Say it ain't so, Keith! While I'm sure many people are high fiving over the possibility of fights like Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin or Randy Couture vs Big Nog going 25 minutes instead of 15 (and I say 'like' because these aren't in Nevada), just wait till the five round fight becomes the new three round fight. Anything that pushes MMA closer towards boxing's never-ending bout syndrome is bad fucking news. How about we add the option to stick another period onto hockey games while we're at it?
I'm not really sure how adding ten potential minutes to a mixed martial arts contest is pushing the sport closer to boxing, nor am I sure how that's inherently a bad thing either. With that said, what are the benefits?
- More decisive finishes - From my previous post on the topic, I showed that - in a limited sample size - five round title fights are finished 77% of the time as compared to the MMA average of 67% for three round affairs. More fights avoiding the mysterious hands of the judges the better.
- Less importance per round - In a three round fight, each round makes up 33% of a judge's score card. A round in a five round bout is only worth 20%. For example, in the Caol Uno/Spencer Fisher fight at UFC 99, if you score the first two rounds (which were very close) to Fisher, Uno has to win a dominant 10-8 third just for a draw. With two additional rounds, Uno would have ample time to make up lost ground (if not finish his opponent).
- More quality at the top of the cards - I'm an extremist. The more five-round fights, the better. I understand that's a minority position, and unlikely to come to fruition in the event that NSAC opens the five-round door. That said, if the UFC utilizes the five round fight for all main and co-main events, that's potentially 20 additional minutes of high-level MMA. Who can argue with that?
As a final note, I think it's important to take a look at the wording of the proposed clause (emphasis mine):
or any other mixed martial arts contest or exhibition which the Commission considers to be a special event
It looks like the NSAC is taking measures to ensure they have oversight over a promoter's wants.