An old argument was brought back to life over the weekend at UFC Fight Night 68, aka UFC Fight Night: Boetsch vs. Henderson… aka “The Night of Ten Finishes.”
The event, which took place in New Orleans, featured what is known in some circles as the UFC’s “smaller cage.” It’s a 25-foot version of the famous Octagon, rather than the usual 30′ cage.
It was also an event which saw an unusually high ten of twelve bouts decided within the distance.
As we discussed last year here at Caged Insider last year, in the article “UFC’s Inconsistent Octagon is a Sizable Issue,” the difference in surface area is substantial — and that has often led to a greater rate of finishes.
It’s not hard to figure out why. Fighters with less room to circle around one another end up being forced to engage. That often leads to more action, and more chances to finish.
Author Reed Kuhn, who penned the book Fightnomics, published an article last year which compared the UFC events with the larger cage to the events with the smaller cage. He discovered a 48% rate of finish for the larger, vs. 60% for the smaller.
One of Dana White’s signature declarations is “never leave it in the hands of the judges.” This call to action is paramount to the fight business that sells excitement as a core product. The UFC specifically rewards fighters at each event for exciting performances with explicit bonuses announced at press conferences, which are even tracked as a badge of honor… the fighters who finish more often are valued the most within the promotion.
So what if I told UFC president Dana White that there was a way to increase the excitement of the UFC’s core product, literally overnight?
So, why not? Why not move to the smaller cage?