Houston, we have a problem…
Or rather Nevada, and any other state that currently sanctions Mixed Martial Arts competition. We have a growing problem of ringside judges determining fight outcomes as draws.
Normally I would wouldn’t touch this topic because draws were few and far between. But it’s not normal anymore. Draws are being handed out in what seems like once every fight card. Frankie Edgar fought Gray Maynard at UFC 125 to a disappointing draw, B.J. Penn went toe to toe with Jon Fitch for a tie at UFC 127, and last weekend’s contest between Gegard Mousasi and Keith Jardine also ended with no clear winner.
Why is this a problem? Because nobody likes ties in sports. Not in football, not in basketball, and certainly not in Mixed Martial Arts.
This sport is built on excitement, old school gladiatorial excitement. Two warriors entering a cage, going toe-to-toe, to determine who is the best. Having fights end in draws is the opposite of excitement. The unpopularity of ties in sports is reflected in the saying, “A tie is like kissing your sister.” That phrase was first used by Navy football coach Eddie Erdelatz after a scoreless tie against Duke way back in 1953, but it holds true today.
What was the point of all those weeks of rigorous training if the fight yields no winner? It’s a complete letdown.
UFC President Dana White is on the same page and has been quoted as saying, “I hate draws. I think it’s just such a waste of everybody’s time and energy,” and he’s certainly open to figuring out a way to eliminate them. On The Ultimate Fighter Aftermath, Stephen Bonnar asked White if he was open to possibly adding an “overtime” round to bouts to determine a winner. White responded, “It’s something that I would definitely explore.”
Well let’s explore this thing, Dana. Get on the phone and get this ball rolling.
The only problem that could arise that would hamper this change would be athletic commission opposition. The Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctions the exhibition fights in The Ultimate Fighter, so the NSAC apparently doesn’t have any objection to adding an extra round. However, Ultimate Fighter fights are only two five-minute rounds, with overtime rounds only coming after the fighters have fought to a draw in the first ten minutes, which might lead to the athletic commissions opposing the idea.
I don’t see anything wrong with adding another round. If you are on the other side of the fence (the wrong side), I’ll ask you this: What would be more exciting than watching two fighters compete in a “winner take all” round? Nothing, that’s what. Ask any fighter, if it came down to a draw or fighting another round, I would bet the house they would all choose another round. If the NSAC will approve the change, others will surely follow.
Dana White wants it to happen, the fans want it to happen, and I highly doubt any fighter would object. While this won’t eliminate draws completely (overtime rounds could possibly still end as a tie), adding an overtime round is the perfect way to limit the amount of draws, and it should be implemented sooner rather than later.