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The Case For Interim Titles

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Many fans have been complaining about Interim titles and how them mean "nothing". I don't understand the dislike for interim titles. UFC 114 Rampage vs. Evans is the highest grossing PPV that didn't have a title on the line. What if the interim title was on the line? Would more people buy it? If not, who cares? You are telling me you would not like to see two more rounds of that fight? Even if you think the interim title is a fake title, it still gives the elite fighters a chance to go five rounds. An opportunity all elite fighters should have at this point. I was very surprised when I came across this article from Ben Fowlkes:

As if fans haven't had enough of "fake" titles lately. As if any fight becomes instantly more important as soon as there's some chunk of hardware at stake. The latest MMA figure to ask for an interim title fight is manager Ed Soares, who suggested this week that while Rua heals up from knee surgery, Lyoto Machida should fight Rashad Evans for the interim belt, with the winner to take on Rua once he's ready to return to action...

But finally, and most importantly, interim titles hold no actual value. A championship belt is like one of those antique armoires you see on PBS: it's only as valuable as other people think it is, and that value is inextricably tied to how rare it is... Let's just forget about interim titles altogether for a while. They are the participant ribbons of MMA. They mean nothing, and they're a little condescending. If a champ's going to be unavailable for an unreasonable amount of time – and no, less than a year is not unreasonable – and the organization feels it needs to move on without him for the time being, fine. Strip him of the title and put it up for grabs.


In this day and age when elite fighters don't go five rounds I think anytime the opportunity is there the UFC should do it. Fowlkes says interim titles holds no value, in MMA we like clarity. We want to know the best fighters are fighting equally great competition. With interim titles you get a clear #1 contender. Now would I want to see Lyoto vs. Evans right now, no. I would however like to see Antonio Rogerio Nogueira fight Evans for the interim title. Is anybody against this? With interim titles you can possibly avoid the Leties vs. Silva title fights of the world. I want to see Machida vs. Jackson go five rounds. We are already robbed of potential great five round fights, is it so bad that we ask for more elite fighters getting the chance to go five rounds?