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UFC 131 Press Conference Recap: Five-Round Non-Title Fights Added, Flyweights Coming, Diaz Vacating Strikeforce Belt + Much More

(Dana White runs down some current events with Ariel Helwani following the press conference. Props: MMAFighting)

The UFC hosted a press conference in Vancouver yesterday in advance of UFC 131, but the most interesting announcements had nothing to do with Saturday’s “Dos Santos vs. Carwin” event. Here’s a recap…

Five-round non-title fights: UFC president Dana White announced that the UFC will make non-title main event fights five rounds from now on; previously, only title fights were worthy of the five-round distinction. The rule doesn’t apply to non-title main events that are already booked — Dos Santos vs. Carwin, or Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis at UFC 133, for example — but it will apply to every non-title main event signed in the future, even for UFC Fight Night and UFC Live events.

Flyweight division in the works: According to White, the UFC will be adding a 125-pound division “really soon,” possibly by the end of 2011. He expected that some of the UFC’s current bantamweights would make the drop.

Nick Diaz to vacate Strikeforce welterweight title: When Diaz returns to the UFC to challenge Georges St. Pierre for GSP’s welterweight title in October, he’ll be leaving his own belt behind. Said DW: ”[Diaz] will give up his Strikeforce title. He will come in and fight Georges St-Pierre, two guys will fight for the vacant belt in Strikeforce and we’ll go from there.”

Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson slated for September: The rumored light-heavyweight title scrap between Bones and Rampage will take place at UFC 135 (September 24, Denver), pending medical clearance for Jones’s hand. Diego Sanchez vs. Matt Hughes is also expected for that event.

UFC still looking at China, Sweden for future events: Though the U.K. is getting shut out this year, Dana White announced that he hopes to bring the promotion to China “within the next 18 months.” The UFC also has plans for an event in Sweden sometime after 2011.

TUF 14 hype-up of the day: “The fights to get into the house happened Tuesday,” White said. “I’m going to figure out a way to make sure every one of those fights airs on TV. The best fights ever in the history of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’…There’s some nasty guys on this season. Just the show open is better than the entire last season’s fights.”

Cagepotato Comments

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Anhonestmoose- June 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm
I think everyone is missing the point here, at no point in this interview did Dana White threaten the life or health of Ariel Helwani.
dranokills- June 10, 2011 at 2:05 pm
gotta love that interview.
Dana White is the man...demographics? Get rid of Dana?
Bad for MMA?
Null Kuhl- June 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm
Finally, we get the flyweights!! WAR Uncle Creepy!

Anyone think Benavidez and Mighty Mouse will be dropping ASAP?
siksik6- June 10, 2011 at 10:41 am
@RwR - You're right, it's not a fate worse than death. But it's absolutely a personal "sit on it and spin" directed at Rashad. To me, the thing that makes it shitty was the fact that the fight with Jones had been made official. lt wasn't like they were trying to sort out whose shot it was. Then Johnny says "Oh, geez, you know what? l can't fight that soon." 45 minutes later when his hand has miraculously healed, Rampage gets the shot. Dana White obviously doesn't have to consult with me before doing whatever the fuck he wants, but you would like to think that the spearhead of the fastest growing sport in the world wouldn't get into a pissing contest with one of his employees.
RwilsonR- June 10, 2011 at 10:07 am
@ siksik - no, I think you summed it up. But it also isn't as bad a punishment as you make it out to be. It isn't like Dana said he blacklisted Rashad from a title shot for life. He just wants him to fight again before he gets it. Rashad wasn't this clear cut number one contender anyway, since he had a lackluster win over an out of shape Rampage, and a loss to Machida that he never redeemed himself from. Rashad thought he could put everything on hold, and he told his boss the conditions under which he would fight. His boss just said, "Uh, no, I make the decisions around here." I'm sure if Rashad wins, he will be right back in line for a title shot.
k-onda- June 10, 2011 at 9:59 am
and rules changes? come on now, it's gettin like the damn elephant in the room
and I think it's funny how he just took a complete dump and that whole season of TUF like that.
Gladheateher- June 10, 2011 at 9:55 am
Dana's sick. He said prior to the press conference that hes coming down with something.
MonkeyNuts- June 10, 2011 at 8:46 am
Dana is coked up! The constant sniffing and lip smacking. He's also a lot more chatting than usual. Hmmm, maybe thats how he lost all that weight...
youenjoyzedella- June 10, 2011 at 8:42 am
I can't say I'm terribly excited to see 125 pounders smack each other around. The lower in weight you go the more decisions/less finishes you see. Don't get me wrong, Dominic Cruz is one of my favorite fighter to watch, he's incredible. But for the exception of a very few guys 145 and below, the guys in these weights are landing haymakers that don't do shit. Exciting to watch for the first round or two.
youenjoyzedella- June 10, 2011 at 8:35 am
TUF are the little guys. Either Feather or Bantamweight. maybe both.
siksik6- June 10, 2011 at 8:02 am
@ RwR - Outside of not wanting to fight a teammate and sitting until his title shot, was there anything else? l could be missing something, and if l am, my bad. But in my humble opinion, those two things aren't egregious enough to launch a personal "Fuck you" attack on a dude. Cut him if you've got it out for him that bad. lt's not like he's a big draw or anything.
coolperson- June 10, 2011 at 7:51 am
haha what the fuck...

Bones Jones mentally broke down... and couldn't say "here we go" in a Buglight commercial.

That's hilarious.
RwilsonR- June 10, 2011 at 7:37 am
@ siksik - rashad did it to himself.
RwilsonR- June 10, 2011 at 7:36 am
Exactly what I was thinking, ccman.
825IVER- June 10, 2011 at 7:31 am
TUF should be a tourney with the UFC's LW Sharktank. I would actually watch/dvr the dam thing.
SnackDaddy- June 10, 2011 at 7:07 am
All good news. But i do think it's unwise for Diaz to be vacating his belt. He could have built his legacy at Strikeforce.
Fatty McDickbutts- June 10, 2011 at 6:58 am
Dana White is a kind and wise ruler..
DangadaDang- June 10, 2011 at 6:56 am
Thanks brah.
siksik6- June 10, 2011 at 6:56 am
l'll be the first to say that l'm not the biggest fan of Rashad Evans. But shit man, he's getting bent over a barrel with this whole title shot thing. l don't know if he Brett Favre'd Dana's wife or what, but damn. You watch, Rashad will beat Phil Davis, Bones will smoke Rampage, and Machida will get the next title shot.
bgoldstein- June 10, 2011 at 6:48 am
@ DangadaDang: 135/145
Kimbos Bread- June 10, 2011 at 6:42 am
@ ccman

No doubt this is a major reason why the sport has grown so quickly over the past decade or so.
DangadaDang- June 10, 2011 at 6:42 am
What weight class is this season of TUF?
ccman- June 10, 2011 at 6:31 am
I totally see why the media wants dw out now. Only sport with a prez whose an actual fan. The rest just found lucrative paydays. Seriously does another fan not see everything we want in these announcements and not see dw's fingerprints on the decisions? Well minus sweden.
Pen Fifteen- June 10, 2011 at 6:24 am
Good to here TUF 14 has kicked off with a bang, I can't wait to not watch yet another season of this show.