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DEEP to Switch Weight Class Structure?

Jordan Breen at Sherdog.com reports:

DEEP big boss Shigeru Saeki has announced that he is set to make a plethora of changes in an effort to remodel DEEP in 2008. Perhaps most interesting, he is strongly considering revamping DEEP's weight classes to suit those of the unified rules of mixed martial arts used in North American regulation and sanctioning.

Currently the only promotion in Japan that uses the unified rules in any form is Greatest Common Multiple, which employs the full unified rules for its Cage Force series. Although Saeki has not elaborated on his desire to move toward the unified weight classes, it would appear that he is intent on keeping the current rule structure of DEEP, which includes stomps and soccer kicks while prohibiting elbows.

In a recent interview regarding upstart company World Victory Road and the establishment of the Japanese MMA Association, Saeki said he loathed the idea of homogenizing the rules of MMA in Japan. He feels rule structures are essential in providing the "flavor" of various promotions.

DEEP currently has championship titles at 143, 154, 168 and 181 pounds, and at106 pounds for female competition. The promotion's weight classes are less defined, however, as there are a considerable amount of both open-weight bouts and bouts contracted at catch-weights. Though that may not change, under the unified rules the divisional titles would be revamped to 145, 155, 170, and 185, and to 105 in the female case.

....

Saeki is not alone in his vision of weight class reform in Japan.

Pancrase officials have also announced that they are very interested in the idea of using the weight structure provided in the unified rules of mixed martial arts, to "aim at a more worldwide Pancrase."

Not exactly Earth shattering news and it won't really make much of a difference except maybe at 185 where those extra four pounds could be a chance for a slightly bigger fighter to make the cut.  But, it probably isn't even a big deal in that case.

I just find it interesting to see two major Japanese promotions coming more in line with the "Unified Rules" used here in America.  The sport will benefit from a bit more joined up thinking between the different promotions (thanks again Gary Shaw...you're a peach).  This doesn't mean that all rules need to be the same but seeing common weight classes will allow fighters to really establish themselves at a proper weight regardless of what promotion they find themselves in.  Some guys can't safely go below 185 and if they know that is the standard weight class they will know how to get there without risking their health.  If all of a sudden that fighter goes to fight in another promotion and need to get down to 181 there can be a lot of problems.  I'll say it again; standardization of this type is never a bad thing within a sport.

I'm sure most don't see this as quite as big of a deal as me.  But it's interesting none the less.