Discussion Are weight classes in MMA/boxing counterproductive? Just a money$pinner?

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Premiership Player
Jun 16, 2018
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Hear me out. I'm neither crazy nor trolling. By the end of this post you will see what I mean.

There was a thread on sherdog about this topic a couple of years ago. I recommend you check it out.

One thing which they didn't really discuss in detail is how the weight classes work against one of the most beautiful things about MMA:

Smaller guys can beat larger guys with the right technique and strategy. There is a limit to this, because if the disparity is large enough, then extra size is a big advantage, but generally speaking, technique and strategy is more important than size. Even if I was dumb enough to get into streetfights, I would never mess with a well-trained BJJ practitioner, even if he were half a foot shorter and 20 kilos lighter than me. Why? Because I know that he could still mess me up.

The problem with weight divisions is that it stops this from being demonstrated at the top level. In fact we see bigger guys going on crazy cuts just to fight at lower weight classes, where they feel they will have more success. What does that say for the art of BJJ (or MMA more broadly) that big guys are risking their health just so they can fight smaller guys?

Think about it for a moment. Think about what this says about the effectiveness of BJJ/MMA. The top athletes in the sport are deliberately trying to fight smaller guys. It is farcical.

Right now there are, by my count, eight weight divisions in the UFC. As several of the commenters in that sherdog thread point out, this is comical. It is like some kind of 'everybody gets a trophy' system. When you take a step back and think about it, the only justifications you can come up with are: a) Yeah, we want everybody to feel special; and b) $$$. More divisions = more 'title fights'.

One complaint about a potential 'no weight class' system is, 'oh but the heavyweights are boring'. This might actually be a function of the weight class system. Instead of giving exposure to dozens and dozens of the best fighters in the world, we instead see a handful of heavyweights, usually two or four per card, and the rest of the fights are assigned to the other weight classes. Guys who could fight heavier are effectively encouraged to remain smaller, and naturally bigger guys can't get a spot on the roster. Give more 'heavyweights' a pathway to professional fighting and watch the quality improve dramatically.

If you remove the weight classes, you also remove the horrible practice of cutting, which is a blight on the sport.

Of course, there will be no removing the weight classes. Too much money involved, too much intertia; if anything it seems like we are probably going to see more weight classes, not less.

But for the fighting purists out there, a part of us has to know that, in a way, this is all a bit of a joke. And it may actually be detrimental to one of the most basic elements which attracts some of us to MMA: The idea that smaller guys, with the right technique and strategy, can beat bigger guys. The weight classes are basically syaing: no, even ten pounds difference is too much. lol
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Premium Platinum
Aug 26, 2002
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
Dreamland, but tougher penalties for those who fail weight cuts and independent doctors signing off on division changes.

Too much money in combat sports, and the commissions are as corrupt as the organizations, so what we see is the status quo for the foreseeable future.


Brownlow Medallist
Dec 29, 2009
AFL Club
St Kilda
Other Teams
West Ham 76ers

We really should be seeing dc v tj

If they're all doing it, no ones gaining an advantage
If they all stopped, no ones gaining an advantage

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