WEDNESDAY, March 30th, 2011, AT 3:20 PM/ PST

ISCF Makes Move For
Fighter Safety & Fair Bouts

As one looks at the unified MMA Weight Classes, all seem pretty good until you get to the HEAVYWEIGHT Division. Seeing Randy Couture fight Brock Lesnar back in 2008 should have opened the eyes of every MMA Fight fans as well as MMA Officials and if not, the simple question would be WHY?

While both were in the official "Heavyweight" divisions, Lesnar topped the scale at 265 while Couture's weight was 220, a massive 45 lb difference.

In stand up fighting, we see massive spreads all the time in the Heavyweight Divisions, especially in most Boxing organizations where Heavyweight begins at 200.1 Lbs. In Kickboxing there is a Heavyweight as well as a Super Heavyweight division where Super Heavyweight begins at 215. However, in MMA, unlike "Stand-Up" fighting, MMA of course incorporates a ground game. Still, many admit that the weight spreads for MMA (being still a very new sport) have been somewhat of a "Trial" basis since the rules started to be regulated, which was by the ISCF as the first ever MMA Sanctioning/Regulatory body for the sport. The ISCF rules were created from a mix of individuals who had already been doing MMA as an underground sport, however, their new desire was to see safety and fairness regulations. From these individuals came the beginnings of the ISCF and the first "Regulated" MMA rules. These rules of course evolved over the next few years and soon, over time, with "Many" MMA Officials, Fighters, Fans and even Promoters, these rules eventually evolved into what is today known as the "Unified MMA Rules."

After the ISCF had started in 1999, soon after State Commissions were introduced to what they were told were these "Unified MMA Rules." These rules were simply improvements for fairness and safety from the first ever UFC, through the growth of the ISCF and eventually from input of those many others who loved the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. However what many reading this don't know is exactly where the "Unified MMA Rules" came from and when you hear the facts, you may be a bit surprised.

Many have "Claimed" to be the founders of the "Unified MMA Rules" but the truth is, NONE of those "Claiming" the title can really take the credit. Years before the States regulated MMA, a man named Rob Lynch was the Executive Director of the California State Athletic Commission. One of their state boxing/kickboxing officials was an individual named Dan Stell. (Left) who ended up playing one of the most hidden parts of the future evolution of MMA as we all know it today.

Lynch saw the potential for MMA as a fight sport both economically and fan wise for the State of California and beyond. So Lynch would take Stell, Who had an extensive martial arts background already, to watch what was called back then "Underground MMA Shows". Over time, the two compiled notes and rules from all the various MMA Promotions. When they had compiled enough of them, Lynch turned over the massive amount of paperwork to Stell with one request... "Unify what we have here for California to regulate this as a legal sport."

Stell spent weeks on the project and soon came back to Lynch with a unified set of rules comprised from all the different promotional companies. From there, Lynch took the "Unified MMA Rules" to the California State Commission to vote on them to be added in as rules for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts for the State of California at a CSAC Meeting in April of 2000. What surprised Lynch, and many others was that although the rules were approved, the sport was not. The board claimed that the sport fell outside the jurisdiction of the CSAC, however, in reality they came to the conclusion that the sport would be too costly for the CSAC to fund.

This of course took the wind out of Lynch's sails and basically made him feel he and Stell had did a lot of work for nothing. So, Lynch mailed off the "Unified MMA Rules" that Stell had created to other commissions, and other MMA associates and the rest is history... Several others "CLAIMED" they founded the unified MMA Rules, but in reality, they were given a "GIFT" created by two pioneers of the sport, Rob Lynch and Dan Stell.

So, where does this bring us today in the ISCF Rules? Safety!
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. Today the ISCF has added the new weight division to their MMA Rankings (Pro - Amateur) the weight class of Cruiserweight. It is the ISCF 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.

When the ISCF split up their Heavyweight division, adding in the new Cruiserweight Division, it didn't take long to realize the new weight class opens up a completely new competition/contender category. No longer will some of the best MMA fighters under 235 lbs. need to face off against fighters 265 lbs. and even larger. Instead, we may someday see a new "Cruiserweight" Champion in all MMA Promotions. If so, maybe the MMA World should look at the other MMA Weightclasses as well. We're not saying they need any adjustments, but it wouldn't hurt to look...

Here are how the 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