CagePotato put aside the whoopie cushion and put on their thinking glasses to compile a dataset on the UFC’s finishing rate from 1993 to present:
How many UFC fights end inside the distance? The overall percentage is 60%, which includes fights all the way back to 1993. But at the halfway point of 2013, that number is only 50%, year to date. I’d say “roughly 50%” but it’s not — it’s precisely 50%. Out of 176 fights so far in 2013, 88 have been finished by (T)KO or submission. That’s exactly half. How does that stack up with prior years in the UFC? Well, here’s the annual finish rate for UFC fights by year, with 2013 recorded through UFC 161.
The most interesting trend to note is that despite the slimming trend for UFC fighters, the overall finish rate has completely stabilized since 2010. As we saw earlier smaller divisions generally finish fewer fights, due primarily to less knockout power, but the dropoff stabilizes in the smallest divisions. So despite more and more fights in the flyweight through featherweight divisions, the finish rate is no longer dropping with the declining share of heavier fights.
50% ain’t bad at all, and better than you’d think we’re doing if we didn’t have the stats right in front of our face. You’ve got the best fighters in the world competing against each other, and even at this high level guys are still getting spectacularly knocked out and submitted on a weekly level. You’d figure it’d be more like a baseball situation where the improvements in pitching meant a .300 hitting percentage was hall of fame worthy. Meanwhile, we’re here in the UFC crushing it with half of all fights ending via satisfying stoppages.