UFC president Dana White confirmed the promotion’s top executives have talked about the possibility of booking five-round co-main events.
This weekend at UFC 256, the co-main event is an incredible lightweight matchup between Tony Ferguson and Charles Oliveira that could very well determine who fights for the UFC lightweight title next. However, despite the high stakes for the bout, it’s only set at three rounds, something which has left fans unsatisfied. Had Ferguson vs. Oliveira headlined its own Fight Night card it would have been five rounds, but being the co-main event behind Deivieson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno means it’s three.
Apparently, that could change going forward. Speaking to TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter, White said that he and the promotion’s top executives have been discussing five-round co-main events for the future. White cautioned that nothing is a done deal yet, but he confirmed that there have been discussions at the UFC headquarters about it.
“I mean, we’re sitting here, we’re in the matchmaking room right now. I’d be lying if I didn’t say we’ve talked about it. You know there’s fights — listen, me, Sean (Shelby), Mick (Maynard), and Hunter (Campbell) are fight geeks, too. We love it as much as the fans do. Um, it’s just tough. It’s tough to pull off a co-main event with five rounds. But we have definitely talked about it,” White said.
The UFC wouldn’t necessarily have to book every co-main event going forward a five-round fight, but for important divisional bouts like Ferguson vs. Oliveria, especially on PPV cards, the option to have these key fights for five rounds would make these matchups even more interesting. Having co-main events booked as five-round fights means that bouts billed as title eliminators will carry more importance and intrigue.
However, White says that having two five-round fights could create timing issues. Although the UFC occasionally holds PPVs with two or sometimes three title fights on them, White said that having a co-main event for five rounds behind a title fight in the main event is a tough sell, and it’s the reason why the change hasn’t been made yet.
“The reality is if you look at this card on Saturday night (UFC 256), we’ve got five really good fights on the main card. You’re making somebody lose a slot on either ESPN or on PPV if you do two five-round co-main and main events,” White said.
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