Dana White: Fighters don’t have to finish their opponents in order to be exciting

USA TODAY Sports

According to UFC President Dana White, you don’t necessarily have to finish your foe in order to be an exciting fighter.

While it's safe to assume that most people prefer knockouts and submissions over decision victories, finishing a professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter is easier said than done.

More often than not, fight fans will criticize a fighter's skill and abilities, based on their past finishes -- or lack thereof -- even if they are the ruler of their respective division. Just ask current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.

"Rush" has endured some very harsh criticism since 2008, seeing as how that was last time he stopped an opponent with strikes, as he defeated Matt Serra at UFC 83 in the second round via technical knockout (TKO).

Since then, seven of the French-Canadian's eight wins have come via decision, with the other victory being a corner stoppage on behalf of B.J. Penn's team at UFC 94.

But, the bottom line for White is, regardless if the fight goes the distance, as long as the fighter makes it exciting, that's really all that matters.

He explained during the UFC on FOX 8 conference call, as he attempted to defend the promotion's flyweight division and its reigning champion, Demetrious Johnson.

His words:

"What we have to do is, ‘Mighty Mouse' has been on a lot of big cards, he's going to fight on FOX again. We're in the building phase of that division. I think that Ben Henderson has fights that have gone to decisions, controversial decisions. Demetrious has gone to decisions. You know as long as they're exciting fights, there are all different types of fighters. Some guys go in and they knock people out. Some guys pull off submissions, some guys go to decisions and have exciting fights. The last fight with Demetrious was an exciting fight."

"Mighty Mouse's" previous five victories have gone the distance, leading many to downplay the smaller weight class fighter's abilities to finish a fight; though Johnson does have nine finishes on his record including six straight from 2008 to 2010.

Of his seven straight wins, UFC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson hasn't finished a foe -- and doesn't care if he does, either -- but has earned two "Fight of the Night" bonuses during that span, proving White's point that a 15 or 25-minute war can be just as (if not more) exciting than a flash knockout or slick submission.

Look no further than the epic "Fight of the Year" between Mauricio Rua and Dan Henderson at UFC 139. Both light heavyweights put on a show for the ages and proved to be tough to finish in a back and forth 25-minute classic.

The list of epic decision fights can go on and on as I'm sure the debate as to which is better, a decision or a finish, can as well. Having said that, let's get your take: Can a "decision" fighter be as exciting as a "finisher?"

Which do you prefer?

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