When the UFC was established 30 years ago, it faced the daunting task of gaining recognition and acceptance for mixed martial arts. Initially, the sport was virtually unknown, with minimal rules, no weight divisions, and no attire requirements. This led to unconventional matchups and a significant size discrepancy among competitors.
This is a tradition that BJJ keeps alive to date thanks to the existence of the open weight class also called the Absolute division sometimes.
While many insist that open weight shows whose BJJ is the purest, it’s also something that should be potentially phased out as the sport becomes more serious.
UAEJJF instituted maximum allowed weights and eliminated open weight class for this reason several years ago.
In its early years, the UFC had few regulations in place. Participants were not divided into weight classes, and fighters could wear attire of their choosing.
Royce Gracie, for instance, competed in a gi, while some wrestlers even wore shoes. This lack of structure resulted in matches featuring significant disparities in size and weight, making it challenging for fighters to strategize effectively.
Recognizing the need for structure and fairness, the UFC introduced weight divisions and rules over time. At UFC 12, weight classes were established, offering fighters the opportunity to compete against opponents of similar size and strength. This development significantly enhanced the sport’s legitimacy and leveled the playing field for athletes.
Additionally, certain rules were implemented to ensure safety and maintain a fair competition.
Recently, a video went viral, further emphasizing the importance of weight divisions in combat sports. The video captures a dispute in a gym between a larger, older man and several younger men. The conflict arises due to perceived disrespect, with the younger instigator holding a large plate, likely the subject of contention.
Despite attempts to defuse the situation, the tension escalates, and a brawl ensues. One of the younger men, displaying some wrestling skills, attempts to gain an advantageous position using double underhooks. However, his smaller stature hinders his ability to control the larger opponent effectively.
Struggling to execute a takedown, the wrestler realizes the limitations imposed by the vast weight difference. The bigger man capitalizes on this and manages to mount the wrestler, despite the latter’s efforts to avoid this outcome. In a surprising display of strength, the larger man dominates the ground encounter, even landing punches on his mounted opponent.
Nevertheless, the burly man exhibits restraint and allows the smaller individual to escape from beneath him. Although taken aback by the wrestler’s persisting cockiness, the larger man avoids escalating the situation, demonstrating admirable composure.