Replay, five-round fights approved in Nevada

Cro Cop vs. al TurkJosh Hedges/Zuffa

Would Mirko Filipovic's eyepoke-aided win over Mustapha al Turk have been overturned by replay?

MMAWeekly was first with the scoop: The Nevada State Athletic Commission -- site of the occasional boxing/MMA bout -- has officially instituted instant replay. An official will have the opportunity to review footage of a fight-ending blow and determine whether it was a foul. The expectation is that injuries to athletes caused by eye pokes, groin strikes, back-of-the-head shots or shotgun wounds won't count against their record.

Officials won't be allowed to evaluate footage until the fight's conclusion, and can only arbitrate suspected fouls that forced an end to the action. (It will not be used to rewatch really, really cool karate and San Shou techniques, though undoubtedly that will be the temptation.)

This is a slippery slope. Even after review, a strike might still be ambiguous enough that a decision can't be rendered. And the stretch when an official deliberates could pad some broadcasts that are already tightly scheduled, meaning some pre-taped preliminary fights might get bumped from the air.

New Jersey instituted instant replay in 2007, but promoters are expected to provide their own equipment and there has yet to be an instance of use in a high-profile bout there. In Nevada, replay is expected to go into effect within 30 days, meaning the next major show that conceivably could be affected is UFC 106 on Nov. 21.

The NSAC also approved five-round bouts for fights deemed championship-caliber. It's a mystery who will determine which fights are worthy, but the rule presumably will be limited to contender bouts. I find that to be the weakest of the revisions coming out of the midweek meeting; title fights are the pinnacle of competition and should merit the greater duration -- more so than arbitrary bouts that are subjectively dubbed intriguing or title-shot-worthy.

Half the time, the promotion doesn't even know what is a contender's match and what isn't. And if an influential fight happens to be booked somewhere other than Nevada, are the fighters just out of luck?