Are weight classes necessary?

Discussion in 'UFC Discussion' started by johncola, Jul 29, 2016.

  1. johncola

    johncola Red Belt

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    Would it not be possible to do away with the weight limits, and instead just negotiate required weigh-in weights on a fight-by-fight basis? This would help greatly reduce weight cutting.

    Let's say they remove weight classes, and now for example Anthony Pettis and Charles Oliveira want to fight. When drawing up the bout agreement, they could agree on a weight, so that any cuts would be minimal. Let's say Pettis likes to fight at 170 lbs and Oliveira likes to fight at 165 lbs. They could set the limit at 165, so Pettis would have a small weight advantage but as a result he'd have to do a small weight cut. This is all an alternative to the current system, in which both fighters are gonna be going through misery trying to drain themselves down to 145 lbs.

    Titles would still be assigned to certain weights. But since weight cutting would be heavily reduced in this new system, they'd have to be shifted. So Lawler would be champ of ~190lb, Alvarez of ~170, etc. Some champs might have to be stripped if their fighting weight is too close to a different, existing champ. Or there could be a unification fight.

    I can't wrap my head around whether or not this would actually work. Theoretically let's say a fighter were to try and gain an advantage by agreeing on a weight much lower than he'd like to enter the cage at, then he decides to cut lots of water to make the weight. Naturally, his opponents would start to do it too. Then we'd be back where we are now (prisoner's dilemma). At that point though, the 2 heavy weight-cutting fighters in the example would have the option of fighting at a higher weight, and thus stop cutting so much again.

    I see titles being the problem. When fighters get close to title shots, they'll look to cut weight to have an advantage. All the champs and top contenders would be cutting weight, despite the fact that they have the option of not cutting so much. The lower ranked fighters would be the only ones choosing not to cut.

    So they should just do away with titles too. They aren't really necessary. They're just trophies. The best fighters are the best fighters, regardless of the trophies. And unlike regular sports, financical success isn't tied so much to those trophies. For example, CM Punk will get paid big time. Brock Lesnar got one of the biggest purses in history. Sage Northcutt makes more than the majority of the roster. Mighty Mouse isn't among the highest paid fighters in the UFC. You get the idea...

    The alternative to titles would just be a big P4P ranking list. One for men and one for women. All men get ranked in the same list as one another. All women get ranked in the same list as one another. Each fighters' recent weights would be noted in their ranking. So, for example, we'd see #1 Demetrious Johnson (139, 142, 140) #2 Dominick Cruz (154, 154, 151) #3 Robbie Lawler (190, 191, 193), etc. None of those fighters have any sort of title. Their prestige would come from the fans' and other fighters' acknowledgement of their skill. Why do they need a shiny belt too? It's proven to not matter so much to the business, ie Mighty Mouse not being a star.

    As you can see my opinion changed as I wrote this post. I wrote that there'sd still be champs but then went back on that. I can't be bothered to go back and restructure the post. Just enjoy my ramblings. I wouldn't care if there were no champions. I just want to see good fights. Like I said, the best fighters are the best fighters, regardless of whether or not they have a belt. I just hate weight cutting. This sport is brutal enough in the cage. I don't see why it has to be brutal outside the cage too.

    TLDR: Remove weight classes and champions, in an attempt to abolish weight cutting. Instead of weight classes, fight weights would be negotiated in bout agreements. Instead of having champions, rankings would be emphasized (and improved).
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
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  2. NoContest

    NoContest Brown Belt

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    I like championships.

    Also, this would never happen because no one's gonna tune in to watch a #1 ranked team or athlete fight a #2 ranked team or athlete for the fun of it. But if it's for a shiny cup or belt, they'll flock.

    People like prizes, it's silly but what are you gonna do?
     
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  3. MayhemMonkey

    MayhemMonkey Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    the sport requires championships, therefore the weightclasses are required also
     
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  4. wilKO

    wilKO Green, White & Gold belt

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    Titles are necessary. In every sport. There has to be something to fight for and something to identify the best with. Doing away with titles would kill any sport. I do think more catch weight fights would be cool though. For guys who aren't really in the immediate title picture
     
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  5. ButtonMasher

    ButtonMasher Banned Banned

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    And while we're at it do away with age restrictions.

    I'd like to see Lesnar vs. 50 toddlers.
     
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  6. Pacemaker Joe

    Pacemaker Joe Silver Belt

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    There's nothing wrong with having weight classes, but there has to be some sort of incentive or regulation in place to make sure guys are cutting only to make it to the closest weight class, not to have as large a size advantage as possible going into the fight.
     
  7. johncola

    johncola Red Belt

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    MMA is a star-driven sport. 2014 was bad because they no longer had Brock, GSP, Anderson, and Conor and Ronda were only on the rise. 2015 was great because Conor and Ronda did great.

    Conor/Nate, a non-title fight is the biggest fight of the year so far. The rematch could be even bigger. A Ronda Rousey return fight would be among the biggest fights of the year, even without a title. The next biggest fight so far was probably Lesnar/Hunt. Even Punk/Gall will be one of the biggest fights of the year, as embarrassing as that is.

    Titles aren't necessary for the very biggest fights. I agree that they add something to the regular 300k-level PPV's. But they aren't vital to the company's revenue. The company lives and dies by the 800k+ PPV's. And I think the lower level PPV's will be phased out by growing TV revenue anyway. In the future I think only those Conor/Ronda/whomever megashows will be on PPV. Everything else will be on TV or an Internet equivalent like Fight Pass.

    Also, there could still be other ways to officially recognize elite fighters. There could be yearly awards. Kind of like the ATP year-end world number #1. It'd be prestigious just to be ranked in the P4P top 10. That'd almost be like being champion.
     
  8. johncola

    johncola Red Belt

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    Conor/Nate isn't for a title. Not only does that not kill the sport, the opposite is actually true: the UFC needs the Conor and Ronda shows to survive. And the titles aren't a big deal in Conor and Ronda's drawing power. Ronda Rousey became a star in part because of her dominance. She built a reputation in armbarring everyone within a minute. That'd still garner respect even without a belt. Conor was one of the biggest stars of the company, KOing everyone, before he even fought for a title.

    Money is a thing to fight for. Rankings and yearly awards would be a way to officially recognize the best of the sport.
     
  9. NoContest

    NoContest Brown Belt

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    You're right. When it comes to the money, your point makes sense.

    Personally, I don't give a fuck about pro wrestlers or women fighters. I wish Conor was defending his title instead of that pointless fight.
     
  10. Dr Who

    Dr Who Hmm

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    Weight classes are required to protect everyone else from Mighty Mouse Johnson if the hype the UFC constantly puts out is true.
     
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  11. Guardian MMA

    Guardian MMA Purple Belt

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    Your example is literally how it already works lol.
    "Agree on a weight"... They agreed on the weight class they are at. " so they only have to do a little bit of cutting"... Uhh ?

    Lawler cuts down to 170 because he is able to make 170 and smashes the everliving shit out of other 170ers... He would not just fight at 190 because he wouldn't want to cut... Because then someone like, say, Jacare would say "oh ID love to fight Lawler for the 190 belt"... Jacare can make 190 and is MUCH bigger than Lawler. If Lawler refuses everyone will accuse him of ducking.

    Look man, I hate weight cutting but this would do nothing to stop it. Pre-agreed weights between two individuals of different sizes is just a catch-weight fight.

    I like it how it is now... If Robbie, Joanna and Conor lose I wouldn't care about shaking up the champs at all and would be down for a " you must weigh in adequately hydrated and your weight has to stay within a 5 lb range the week leading up to the fight"...
     
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  12. Mochan

    Mochan Saku Belt

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    Your "flexi system" makes no sense because you still want Titles to be assigned to the appropriate weights. So how is that different from what's happening right now?


    What you describe already exists.



    I think what you are more after is people not sticking to weight classes and flitting up and down depending on who you want them to fight.

    Now if weight cutting is your issue, I've been saying this for the last 15 years. Just weigh them in on the day of the fight, nay the night of the fight, and be done with it. Miss your weight, you can't win the Belt, and get fined 50% of your purse. If you're champ and miss weight, you are stripped of the title, if challenger makes weight he gets it ("Interim").

    Nobody is going to dare to weight cut at all.


    As for that P4P List -- sorry that's just stupidity. A sport with no champions is no sport at all. Sports are inherently about competing to find out who's the best. You need to crown champions. P4P lists don't cut it -- we already see how meaningless P4P lists are here on Sherdog. You need a real belt and a real champion.
     
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  13. Abazzdeboom

    Abazzdeboom Legend in the making

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    Let them open weight
     
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  14. Guardian MMA

    Guardian MMA Purple Belt

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    Every night, Stipe goes to sleep with a sigh of relief knowing that Mighty Mouse can't make the minimum weight for Heavyweight.
     
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  15. LazyViking

    LazyViking Blue Belt

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    I do not think weight classes should be removed, but I have to compliment you for adding a TLDR section, as I am far too intoxicated to read all that.
     
  16. Hoop

    Hoop Black Belt

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    From the original post; you hear fighter's talk about how they'd perform better at their natural weight and not cutting a shed load of it. That for me is the better option than Aldo's coach - which was an unbelievable thing to say, imo - and fans who are in favour of the ridiculous notion that fights would be much more entertaining if they were allowed to use PEDs.

    It sounds like a hard thing to structure and organise. And then it might get Boxing-esque when you have 1 of the fighter's not agreeing to his opponent making a set weight.
     
  17. Mochan

    Mochan Saku Belt

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    You're missing something here.

    People who are tuning in for Conor and Rhonda aren't "Sports Fans." They are Reality TV Drama Queens.

    Real fans of the sport want to see who the best is.
    Reality TV Emo Queens just tune in to charismatic trash talkers.


    The sad truth is that there are more drama queens today than sports fans and they're what move the needle even in this sporting domain. You can argue that "that" is what the sport needs to survive but I would rather the sport die out than evolve into that kind of rubbish.
     
  18. johncola

    johncola Red Belt

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    Weight cutting in MMA is an example of Prisoner's dilemma. Let's say Fighter A and Fighter B are the same weight. Neither of them cut weight. Then, all of a sudden, Fighter A tries to gain an advantage by cutting weight and fighting Fighter C, who's smaller than A and B. Soon, Fighter B follows suit and does the same. Fighters A and B drive Fighter C out of his weight class, forcing him to cut weight too. Now, at the end of all that, we're back where we started; Fighter A is still fighting Fighter B. Fighter C is still fighting at a lower weight division to A and B. Yet they all go through a miserable weight cut the week of their upcoming fist fight against a trained fighter. They never had to do that before.

    I gave an example of how I think my idea would play out in practice. In a system with no weight classes, if we were to ever end up where we are now, with everyone cutting weight to fight fighters of a similar weight, then those fighters would have the option of all just stop cutting, since it's pointless. For example, take your Jacare/Lawler example (however I'll remove the belt, because I agree that belts probably don't work with my system, as I realized while writing my main post). If Jacare is cutting from 210 to fight 190 lb fighters like Lawler, then the 190 lb fighters will start cutting to face the 175 lb fighters. Jacare would no longer have any 190 lb fighters to face. So he'd stop pointlessly cutting weight. He'd go back to fighting other 210 lb fighters. It's probably be cyclical, where we'd see periods of no weight cutting, then all of a sudden fighters start trying it, then it resets. Hopefully, most of the time, there'd be no weight cutting.

    Also, to add to the long paragraph above, fighters shouldn't agree to fight fighters bigger than them. If fighters are cutting weight and fighting men much smaller than them, then it'd become obvious, and fighters would just stop signing to fight them.
     
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  19. Mochan

    Mochan Saku Belt

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    You're missing something here.

    People who are tuning in for Conor and Rhonda aren't "Sports Fans." They are Reality TV Drama Queens.

    Real fans of the sport want to see who the best is.
    Reality TV Emo Queens just tune in to charismatic trash talkers.


    The sad truth is that there are more drama queens today than sports fans and they're what move the needle even in this sporting domain. You can argue that "that" is what the sport needs to survive but I would rather the sport die out than evolve into that kind of rubbish.
     
  20. TIMELESS TRUTH

    TIMELESS TRUTH Time Traveler

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    Not THIS thread again... yawn
     
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