As I write this, the UFC is in talks about adding yet another weight class to its already inundated roster: the strawweight (115 lb.) division. Up until 2010, the UFC was doing just fine with five weight classes. However, since the demise of the WEC (Zuffa’s “other” fighting organization consisting of small fighters) just two years ago, Dana and UFC took over the contracts of the WEC fighters. That meant adding more than 50 fighters ranging from Bantamweight (135lb.) to lightweight (155lb.), and adding them to their roster, now bringing them to seven weight classes total.
I am fully aware that this is a repetitive topic, but I’m onto something here. This would prove to be a very tough thing for the company to pull off. For starters, it takes a very long time to get two new weight classes over to the public, full of fighters that are only known to the hardcore fan. Even WEC’s biggest draw, Urijah Faber, couldn’t possibly do this on his own.
Fast forward to Fall of 2012. UFC, once again, made the decision to add two more weight classes to its company: The Flyweight (125 lb.) and the Women’s Bantamweight divisions. The difference now is this: not enough talent in either division at the moment. You have a total of thirteen Flyweights (as of this writing), headed by Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benevidez as the top two stars. Then we take a look at the Women’s Bantamweight division, which many might refer to the Ronda Rousey division, with all of its marketing and advertising revolving around Ms. Rousey. Just like the Flyweights, the Women’s division, with six signed to UFC, just doesn’t seem to have enough talent to make a full division out of it. That’s not to say that they can’t. But do they really want to? Why add more fighters to these divisions that, in the long run, are guaranteed to get lost in the shuffle and have their talents wasted?
Which brings me to the upcoming addition of the Strawweight division. Count that: that would give us a total of 10 weight classes that UFC now has to market and sell to us, the fans. Let me break this down just a little bit further. Each fight card contains an average of ten fights, thus using twenty fighters per card. The basic protocol for each fighter is to fight two to three times per year. Multiply that by the now total number of fighters in the ten weight classes, which would easily surpass four hundred, and the only way to get each fighter on the roster in three times per year is to add many more shows, whether it be a Pay-Per-View, on Fuel, on Fox, or on FX. This is where a severe case of overexposure rears its ugly head, and the average fan begins to turn away due to too much product. This is where the steady decline has already begun to take place. Oh, and did I mention the recent addition of the Bellator fighters to the UFC?
Don’t get me wrong: I, personally, am a big fan of the fighters in the smaller weight classes. Highly skilled, fast as lightning, and endless gas tanks, I am all for it. But I can’t speak for everyone else, and if Dana were to take my advice (fat chance), I would have strongly advised, in hindsight, never to have added the Flyweight, Women’s, Strawweight, or Bellator fighters to the packed house that is the UFC’s total roster. At least until the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions have gotten over first.
It goes to prove that, in some cases, more does not always mean better.