If Georges St-Pierre had things his way, there would be no rounds in MMA, and fighters would continue to compete until there was either a knockout or submission.
The current rules in place seem more geared towards boxing than anything martial arts related.
As a traditional martial artist, St-Pierre admires the older and grittier version of MMA, where there was no time limit in place. There weren't any controversial decisions or unsatisfied endings between bitter adversaries. Fighters would keep fighting until someone finally broke.
In St-Pierre's eyes, this way of fighting truly determines the better man.
The UFC welterweight champ was a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast on Tuesday, where he discussed changes he would make if he ran things:
"There's a lot of things I would change in the sport. First of all the time: there's no time, no rounds. I believe it's stupid, the rounds. We want to see who's the best man. Let them fight...Why are there rounds? Why are we trying to be like boxing? We're not boxers. They did rounds to be like boxing to be accepted as a sport."
Who could ever forget the epic 90-minute battle between MMA greats Royce Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba?
The fight went on as long as a standard Hollywood movie, and if not for Gracie's corner finally throwing in the towel, it would have continued.
St-Pierre makes a valid point in his claim that fights would have more desired outcomes without the limitations of rounds. There wouldn't be any post-fight trash talk concerning bad decisions or point scoring. Fighters would be more willing to take chances with a stoppage being the only way to win a fight.
Unfortunately, the negatives far outweigh the positives to even consider discontinuing rounds.
Fight cards would have to be condensed considerably to allow time for bouts to play out. The UFC may even have to consider dropping the undercard altogether to ensure enough time to fit in main card bouts, which would in turn lead to the termination of many jobs.
Another thing to consider is the possibility of bad fights. The vast majority of the prolonged fights won't mirror Gracie and Sakuraba's classic showdown. Anyone remember the UFC 119 heavyweight main event bout between Frank Mir and Mirko Cro Cop?
How would you like to see 90 minutes of that?
The old system may not work in today's MMA, but its existence in the past is what makes fighters who competed in that era so special. They were true gladiators in every sense who made a lasting impact on many careers, including St-Pierre's:
"100-percent [I would do it]. I would rather fight in a rule like this. I think it would be more honest, like who's the better man, let them fight. [Back when Gracie fought Sakuraba], that's when it used to be the real thing, back in the day. That's why I have so much respect for these guys—Royce, [Mark] Coleman, Dan Severn.
It was a time when I literally watched a fight back in the day and thought someone could die. You needed to have so much courage back in the day to step into the Octagon, much more courage than nowadays."