Originally Posted by Cowgirl
Way to take my post to the extreme, and not even use relevant examples. In a sporting organization such as the UFC, where their roster is already split along these weight lines, it's silly to not try to include as many world class people as they can. The organizations you name not only have no weight classes to abide by, but they also don't pit their players against each other in a combat sport where you are attempting to incapacitate your opponent. I believe I get what you are trying to say, and if the UFC had been structured differently, I would wholeheartedly be agreeing with you, assuming I understand your point correctly.
*Edit* I used the wrong font size
Ok yeah I was just having some fun with the extremes, so thanks for being a sport
Even so, I understood your point, I just think it's not entirely valid and a slippery slope as well, hence the extremes I gave.
Your main point as I see it, was that the rationale for including divisions in pro sports should be whether or not every category / weight / subset of athlete within a sport deserves recognition at the very top level for their hard work and achievements within their own physical limitations.
While I agree that this is a laudable goal for sports in general, and everyone should be able to compete and achieve personal fulfillment, self-esteem, recognition and advancement from doing so, this is not the goal for mass market PROFESSIONAL sports.
I fully support divisions, tournaments, orgs etc. for every gender, physical height/weight/body types, disability / different ability. I signed up to volunteer at the special olympics, and I think those guys n girls deserve every bit of recognition and encouragement they get for their hard work and determination.
However, this is not what the criteria for professional sports is. Professional sports exist for TWO reasons and two alone. First is to find out who the best of the best are any specific physical endeavor. Not the best in a specific subset, not the consolation best, just ... the best. This is why the (male) HW division always represents the baddest man on the planet in MMA and holds the most interest, and if the guy is really slow and sloppy maybe the LHW div champ can in theory be better if they met, so that is equally interesting. These two have and always will be the star maker divisions of MMA or any combat sport.
Does that mean I don't watch or wouldn't like any weight divisions in combat sports, the same way there aren't any in most other sports I mentioned? No, even though the heavier divs hold my interest more, I still appreciate the pure poetry of an Anderson Silva fight, or the amazing athleticism of a GSP fight. Why draw the line at LW/FW then? Why care about Anderson Silva or GSP, if they aren't really the best overall, bar none (although with Anderson who knows, he might even whup HWs). That brings me to my second point ...
The second criteria for professional sports is of course THE AUDIENCE. What does the audience want to see? To what extent is the audience willing to look at smaller and, lets face it, progressively easier or weaker subsets in a particular sport, before they are basically ... bored?
For most people, that line comes somewhere at a realistic medium. In combat sports, that medium for the audience is when the competitor, irrespective of size, is still a realistic physical threat. To take an extreme, no one cares who the best fighter is under 10 years of age, because frankly they're TEN. Most grown men would bend them over and spank them, irrespective of skill. And no matter how hard they train, they'll still look like crap next to Jones or Silva.
Are Straw-weight / Flyweight men / Bantamweight Women etc. a realistic combat threat? Maybe THE best of these divisions could beat some amateur level guys in the higher divisions, but other than that they're not. I've sparred with BWs and it was really way too easy. I could just pull with my weight in the clinch and they'd go flying down, where I could lie on them for eternity. On the feet the power and range difference was ridiculous. Of course a UFC level BW would probably whup the crap out of me, just like the better pro FWs / LWs did (I was 6'3" 200 lbs MWish btw), but with Flyweights and Strawweights even that level hardly seems like a threat. Some guy mentioned going to Thailand to test ourselves against the Straw-weights, and honestly based on my experiences I really wouldn't be worried.
This doesn't mean I don't support divisions for these subsets at their own levels or professional orgs. What I don't support is FORCING them down the audience's throats when most of the audience doesn't care about them.
By all means, create lighter weight orgs and cards, that's what the WEC was for. Create women's orgs and cards and market them. Market them to their respective audiences and watch them succeed / fail on their own merit or likeability. If you want to do them under the almighty "UFC" banner, fine, make separate cards for them so the audience can pick and choose what they want, and let those cards be funded by their own revenues.
Do NOT fire top 10 Welterweights like Fitch on the world's largest stage to make room for Flyweight super-mini-mouse vs famished-atom-ant. Do not force me to either legally stop watching MMA or buy entire cards with this piggybacked content (up to 50% nowadays, and headlined even) that I and most of the audience doesn't care as much about.
These are the facts, based on viewership numbers for lighter weight orgs vs higher weight orgs, male orgs vs female orgs, recent lighter-weight heavy or headlined UFC cards vs WW+ headlined and heavy cards.
On a side note this is the same reason they SHOULD NOT remove wrestling from the olympics with it's 24 million audience to make room for "modern pentathlon" (audience < 10 million) or "racewalking" (wtf? audience ... 20?) at the olympics. The whole "don't they deserve recognition too" is a slippery slope, where do you draw the line? You have to follow the figures and audience interest.