The news broke quietly over the weekend thanks to all of the fallout from UFC 131. Zuffa Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner told MMAfighting.com that Strikeforce will proceed with the Grand Prix tournament with a new rule in place to prevent any potential controversies.
“Strikeforce, has decided that all tournament fights ending in a draw will now be settled by a fourth sudden death round. There will not be a fourth judge assigned to the tournament fights anymore.”
I may be reading more into this than I should, but I think this is fairly big news. My hunch (again just a hunch) is that this is a testing ground for a potential UFC rule change. Now keep in mind that draws in MMA are actually fairly rare, but they are a reality. The UFC now has two divisions in limbo as a result of two recent UFC draws and a draw is something that would tarnish a tournament. This new rule will help keep the tournament moving forward, which has been a challenge in itself due to a variety of reasons.
The new sudden death rule will be implemented beginning this Saturday with the conclusion of the tournament’s opening round. Now granted with so many heavy hands competing in the Grand Prix quarterfinals Saturday, I’d be shocked to see either fight go to a draw (or even a third round). But you never know, and kudos to Strikeforce for the rule change.
From the very start, Strikeforce has tinkered with the tournament. Originally, the Strikeforce heavyweight championship was to be on the line in all tournament fights involving the champ, thus making some fights five rounds while the others would remain three. That did not happen and of course, Strikeforce ownership has changed hands since the tournament kicked off as well. I wouldn’t expect any more rule changes in the tournament from this point forward.
Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.