mma / Columns

How To Save MMA: Height Classes

January 5, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert

This idea comes courtesy of commenter Beef Jerky Hooker Bot who said, “Bellator should hire him open a new division for him. The Missed Weight division. Open to any fighter under 6ft tall. No weigh-ins, the fighters just show up at whatever weight they want and fight it out.”

MMA needs to scrap weight classes and open up height classes. We’re all tired of hearing about guys and girls struggling to make weight and how it’s killing them, right? We all know that weight cutting is very dangerous and can drastically effect a fighters performance. So, get rid of weight classes. And start booking fights based on height classes.

Here are the height classes: The Giant Silva Class (Over 7 feet), Semmy Schilt class (6’9’’ to 7’0’’), Bob Sapp class (6’5’’ to 6’8’’), Kimbo Slice class (6’1’’ to 6’4’’), Tank Abbott class (5’10’’ to 6’0’’), Jens Pulver class (5’6’’ to 5’9’’), and Team Alpha Male class (anything under 5’5’’).

Classes are named after legendary fighters because MMA should never forget where it came from and we should always respect the icons.

All you have to do is fall within that height range to fight in the height class. If you want to move down in height, you have to limbo your way down. If you are able to pass the limbo test in order to drop down in height, you must fight the first two minutes on your knees in honor of Rich Franklin. This discourages limber fighters from limboing their way into a lower height class and having an unfair advantage on fight night. It’s also a much safer practice than cutting a large amount of weight.

If you want to move up in height, you can wear lifters in your shoes on height-in day. There is no penalty for moving up in height because you are already at a disadvantage due to being the smaller fighter. In fact, moving up in height rewards you with an undisclosed fight night bonus. And you wouldn’t believe how much we give out in locker room bonuses.

Weight classes are a thing of the past. The best fighters are not the biggest in size, they are the tallest in height. Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Georges St. Pierre, etc… were all good fighters. But they won thanks in large part to their height advantage. The greatest UFC heavyweight champion of all-time, Tim Sylvia, was a slow and plodding goof. But he was tall. And you, can’t, teach, that.

Height classes would allow fighters to truly fight to their true potential. We won’t see drained fighters gas out in the first three minutes because they lost 20-pounds in a week. Fighters won’t be as worried about making weight either. They’ll be free to train and eat like a normal person. If Johnny Hendricks wants to enter the cage at 190-pounds, let him. It’s his body. He’s a former champion. Let the man enjoy that nightly steak.

You might be worried that this would lead to some mismatches. That Jose Aldo and Tyron Woodley fall into the same height class, but Woodley looks much bigger than Aldo. Don’t worry about that. Trust me when I tell you that the weight is virtually identical.

If you don’t like you potential opponent in the height class, don’t accept the fight. It’s not like you’ll be buried at every turn and called a pussy if you don’t accept the fight. That never happens.

If MMA is going to evolve and remain safe, weight classes have got to go. It’s just not worth it anymore. Too many fighters think that by dropping down in weight they are improving their chances at victory, but it’s simply not true. It’s a myth. And a risk.

We can no longer sit idly by and accept weight classes. How many major fights have fallen through because two fighters couldn’t agree on the weight? We’ll never get Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg, not because Ronda was scared, but because Cyborg couldn’t make 135. We never got Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva because GSP needed two years off to put on the weight, “the right way.” He could have just worn some lifters on height-in day, and boom, the fight is on.

We can see Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 3. With weight classes, Nate is a massive welterweight who never should have been allowed to fight a small featherweight in the first place. But with height classes, Conor just needs 1-inch lifters, which he can definitely afford, and all of a sudden they are the same size.

We can no longer allow the iron to cool. We must strike while it’s hot. We must implement height classes.

article topics :

Bellator MMA, UFC, Jeremy Lambert