Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ISCF Adds Cruiserweight Divison, Should Others Follow?

Steve Fossum,
ISCF World  President
On March 30, the International Sport Combat Federation announced their decision to implement a cruiserweight division into their sanctioned competitions and ranking system. The organization, which is one of the first MMA sanctioning bodies, cited safety as the primary motive behind the decision.

"Today the ISCF has made it official that they have added a new weight class that narrows the massive spread between their Heavyweight division and Super Heavyweight division...

It is the ISCF [sic] hopes that other commissions and promotional companies will follow this idea for if not the issue of fighter safety, maybe the need for better competition."

The cruiserweight debate has been an off-and-on hot topic for some time now. With lighter heavies like Fedor Emelianenko and Cain Velasquez squaring off against monstrous fighters like Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin at the heavier end of the division, the ideas of safety and fair competition are a valid concern. But in MMA, much like boxing, the heavyweight division is the center of attention -- everyone wants to see the big boys tussle.

So, should MMA sacrifice entertainment for unproven safety concerns? Hell if I know. But I do see this move eventually being commonly implented into the Unified Rules of other athletic/boxing commissions and sanctioning bodies. Why, because the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions are becoming too deep. Just look at the UFC's 205 lb. division, for example -- Jon Jones, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida, Randy Couture, need I go on?

I also see the possibility of a super heavyweight division being implemented some day. This would greatly benefit the Lesnars and Carwins who actually cut weight to compete at 265. It should be noted that the ISCF has already sanctioned competition in the super heavyweight division.

I would also like to point out that the Ohio Athletic Commission implemented a cruiserweight division for amateur mixed martial arts competition last year. The implementation will run on a trial basis, however I have not heard any updates on findings or progress from Ohio lately. Still, Ohio and the ISCF, could provide the mixed martial arts community with valuable feedback on cruiserweight division implementation.

Here are how the (ISCF's) top 3 weight classes look:

CRUISERWEIGHT: 205.1 to 235 lbs. - 93.19 - 106.81 kg.
HEAVYWEIGHT: 235.1 to 265 lbs. - 106.8 - 120.45 kg.
SUPER HEAVYWEIGHT: 265.1 lbs. & Above - 120.46 kg & Above

Will we someday see a cruiserweight division in the UFC/Strikeforce, Bellator, etc??? Only time will tell...

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