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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Explaining the Weight Class in UFC: Understanding Catchweight

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Now that you know all there is about Catchweights in the UFC, these next articles will be right up your alley:If the on-weight fighter decides not to go ahead with the matchup, they could still receive some money from the UFC at their discretion.So a Catchweight matchup is going ahead, but there can be a few effects from it. Let’s go into more detail about them.

How Catchweight can happen

It’s just one of the harsh realities for MMA fighters, and particularly why many people consider UFC fighters underpaid.A fight which was originally contracted at Middleweight (185 lbs), the Vettori Vs. Costa matchup in 2021 was abruptly changed when Costa was unable to make the weight.Some fighters have easier cuts than others, and it can be related to their history of weight cutting, age, and general health.Vettori edged it with a unanimous decision victory and put himself back on the hunt for a contender spot in Middleweight.But Ryan Bader got the job done and won by unanimous decision.If a UFC fighter misses weight for that matchup, they’ll often introduce the Catchweight to keep it on the card.This means that it won’t affect UFC rankings, but it’ll give both fighters a fight purse which is often the biggest incentive for fighters.Latest MMA Shorts from the Hive…There are plenty of occasions when this has happened in UFC’s history and how they happen, so keep reading to learn exactly what those are.The commission might require a fight to enter a Catchweight to effectively increase the weight limit for the fight to ensure one or both fighters are going into the fight in a healthy state.Let’s say two fighters agree to a Lightweight bout, where the upper limit is 155 lbs.But this was because Anthony came in over the weight limit of what was supposed to be a Welterweight fight of 170 lbs.Let’s talk about some of those common scenarios that involve the Catchweight.Alexander was the biggest favorite on the entire card that night. But Shane still went toe to toe with him for three full rounds, forcing out a decision from the judges.So we were hoping for quite an exciting matchup that had knockout written all over it.Usually, matchups between two fighters are booked months ahead to allow both camps to train well and get in fighting shape and, of course, weight.

Fighter misses their weight class’s upper limit

Back in the early days, Silva was fighting in the Light Heavyweight division (205 lbs), and Franklin was commonly fighting in the Middleweight division (185 lbs).It also means that if the original fight was for a championship belt, it completely negates that opportunity. Instead, it’s just a fight for glory, money, and for the fans.The main reason that the Catchweight exists is to ensure that a matchup still goes ahead.It also could put you out of Dana White and the UFC’s favor if you flake out of your contract and skip a fight. You might just end up with fewer opportunities in the future.Bader did the respectable thing to keep the fight going and agreed to a Catchweight at 211 lbs.Those rules could change from state to state and even country to country. So every weight cut for a fighter could be unique each time.Every weight class has a lower limit and an upper limit.When a fighter agrees to a matchup, they’re signing a contract with the UFC and are expected to be able to make that appearance.But that’s not always the same for every weight class, like Heavyweight.The UFC will then approach the opposition and offer them options of what they want to do.

Weight class upper limits

So being unable to shed the last extra pound or two can be a struggle.Both sides need to get paid!

Weight Class (Division) Lower weight limit (lbs) Upper weight limit (lbs)
Flyweight >115 lbs 125 lbs
Bantamweight >125 lbs 135 lbs
Featherweight >135 lbs 145 lbs
Lightweight >145 lbs 155 lbs
Welterweight >165 lbs 170 lbs
Middleweight >175 lbs 185 lbs
Light Heavyweight >195 lbs 205 lbs
Heavyweight >225 lbs 265 lbs

This probably put Yoshida at a considerable disadvantage in this fight. Rumble knocked him out within the first minute of the first round.Once the fight is scheduled, fans eagerly anticipate it while fighters prioritize getting paid. To ensure the match takes place, fighters may consent to a Catchweight, which requires both competitors to weigh within 5 pounds of each other.If one fighter has been unable to make the originally planned weight, and the fight gets moved to a Catchweight, then the offender has to give up around 30% of their fight purse to the opposition.So for the fighter’s financial interests, they’ll do everything they can to make sure they can walk into the cage on fight day.

Fighter Weight
Jon Jones 248 lbs
Ciryl Gane 254 lbs
Sergei Pavlovich 256 lbs
Stipe Miocic 234 lbs
Curtis Blaydes 262 lbs
Tom Aspinall 251 lbs

But how things often go in these matchups, fighters cancel each other out and the style and pace completely changes.

Forced by the sports commission

It was an absolute slugfest of a fight where both struck their hearts out, landing all kinds of head strikes throughout.A few shaky moments for Bader, as was always to be expected with the powerful hands of Rampage.From time to time, during a UFC fight night, you may come across a bout that is categorized as ‘Catchweight’. What exactly does this term mean in the context of UFC?No one is forced to fight in this kind of situation, but you’d bet they are encouraged to accept the Catchweight to keep the show running smoothly.But that’s not all, because the overweight fighter will also lose the opportunity to win any of the fight bonuses, which will instead be given to their opponent.The state’s Athletic/Sports Commission may require the fighter to request a Catchweight in the location of the fight.So this is where the Catchweight comes in.

Catchweight fight already agreed upon

For example, Jon Jones entered the Heavyweight class recently, weighing around 248 lbs, and his opponent, Ciryl Gane, weighed around 254 lbs.If a fighter doesn’t show up to fight, they don’t get paid. It’s that simple.In the week leading up to the fight, which is when fighters cut weight the most, one fighter could be sitting at 158 lbs and struggling bad to get off the last few pounds.

Effects of a Catchweight fight

The most common cause for a Catchweight fight is when one, or both, fighters miss their designated weight class.

Lose a portion of earnings

Fighters normally have to answer to the demands of the sports regulations, which ensure that competitors are safe and healthy going into combat sports matchups.But leading into this fight, both they and the fans wanted to see what would happen when the two locked heads.Sometimes a Catchweight happens simply because that’s what both fighters want.In UFC, Catchweight refers to a mutually agreed upon weight between two fighters before their match. This typically occurs when one fighter is unable to meet the weight requirement in the week leading up to the fight, and both parties consent to a Catchweight in order to proceed with the match.

Fight doesn’t affect rankings

When a fighter doesn’t earn any money, this can considerably impact their ability to pay bills, like their coaches, nutritionists, and doctors that get them from one fight to the next.They might do this if one fighter’s history has shown they struggle to make weight for the designated weight class for their upcoming fight.Shane weighed in at 147 lbs, and Alexander at 149 lbs. So despite the Catchweight, Volk still had the upper hand on weight.

Famous Catchweight bouts in the UFC

In the Heavyweight division, fighters can be between 225 and 265 lbs, the broadest weight potential of all divisions.

Marvin Vettori Vs. Paulo Costa (UFC Fight Night 196)

So to make it possible, both fighters agreed on a Catchweight of 194 lbs and successfully weighed in at 194′ for their weigh-in.In 2009, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (may he rest in peace) fought Yoshiyuki Yoshida at a weight of 176 lbs.

So to help the fight go ahead, both might agree to a Catchweight fight at a specific weight in pounds.That includes sponsorship money and performance bonuses like ‘Fight of the ‘Night.’Quinton “Rampage” Jackson missed weight for the first time in his matchup with Ryan Bader, originally intended as a Light Heavyweight (205 lbs) fight, in 2012.Wanderlei Silva won unanimously on the judge’s scorecards, but both created a special moment for us in UFC history.This fight had plenty of big whacks and even spinning head kicks, but in the end the battle went a full five rounds of slugging it out.

Quinton Jackson Vs. Ryan Bader (UFC 144)

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[embedded content]Rumble came in already overweight, and he was always a thick and muscular fighter who carried extra pounds easily.

Fighters want to be in that final pound of their limit for most weight classes simply because having the most weight allowed gives them a better advantage in the fight.Ryan played his strategy smart for the fight and kept Quinton at enough distance until opportunities opened up to rush him against the cage and tally up lots of grappling control time.Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski faced the UFC-first-timer Shane Young at a Catchweight of 150 lbs in 2017.MMA fans know all too well how both these athletes like to lock in by standing firm to the ground and throwing absolute wild swings at their opponents.

Alexander Volkanovski Vs. Shane Young (UFC Fight Night 121)

Take a look at the full range of weights in the Heavyweight division:Or they might enforce random hydration or weight checks on either fighter at their discretion in the lead-up to a fight and may not be happy with their current health analysis.

This usually happens when there’s a lot of encouragement from fans and the MMA community to see two fighters throw down, but their natural weights may be too far from each other.Yoshida agreed for the fight to continue at the Catchweight, but he likely couldn’t put on more weight with little time for it.Plenty of fans for Quinton Jackson say that prime Rampage would have demolished Ryan Bader — but it’s all in the past now as it’s unlikely to see that matchup ever again.

Anthony Johnson Vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida (UFC 104)

That’s a 28 lbs difference from the lightest to the heaviest, which is a lot of extra weight to take straight on your face with a knockout punch.If the camp of the overweight fighter thinks that they won’t make weight, they’ll usually warn the UFC and open the door for either a fight reschedule or a Catchweight.

Shane stepped in on a week’s notice to make the fight, which is probably why it was made into a Catchweight so that he could be fight-ready within such a short time.If a Catchweight fight goes ahead, it won’t be an official fight for the original weight class.First, let me tell you about a few ways the Catchweight can happen.

Wanderlei Silva Vs. Rich Franklin (UFC 99)

But Volkanovski won by unanimous decision, having controlled Young with a clinical display of striking and grappling against the cage.This can happen if the commission feels that the athlete’s safety or health is in jeopardy.If the fighter backs out of the fight, they miss the opportunity to earn their fight purse and any other bonuses — like sponsorship, winning, or performance bonuses.

Instead, the fight was agreed to continue at a Catchweight of 195 lbs, with Paulo Costa giving up 20% of his fight purse to Marvin Vettori.I have selected some of the most exciting Catchweight fights in the UFC for your viewing pleasure. Take a look at them below.

What to read next

It’s another incentive for the fighter who made weight successfully to continue with the fight because even if they lose, they’d still be getting out a juicy pay packet from it.What Is A Catchweight In The UFC? Weight Class Explained

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