CrossFit’s Weight Class Debate

There are some who have said as the sport of CrossFit becomes more professionalized there may be a need for weight classes. Countless professional and amateur sports have added them so they argued CrossFit should follow suit.

I am of the belief that weight classes would only detract from the sport and hope it never happens. I love seeing the likes of a Chris Spealler going head to head with someone of the size of Tommy Hackenbruck. Yes, on power lifts and pure strength components, larger competitors may have an advantage. Yet this is balanced out when gymnastics, body weight movements or even a run is added to the equation.

One such sport that does have weight classes is the UFC. This past week the UFC’s Melvin Guillard was the headline event against Jim Miller on FX. Unfortunately for Guillard he suffered a submission loss to Miller but his team has posted a video of him cutting weight before the fight.

The idea of course is cut as much water and weight before the weigh-in in order to make your specific weight class. Weigh-ins are usually held the day before the fight so you have that night and the following day to eat and rehydrate and hopefully show up to the fight bigger and stronger than your opponent.

I have seen few weight cuts in my time and this video is pretty tame by comparison. Although what it does show is how taxing it can be on fighters. By the end of the video you can see Melvin on an elliptical trainer and stationary bike looking extremely exhausted and fatigued.

Anyone that has tried to sit in a sauna for an extended period knows how hard it can be and for me just seeing a video like this is another reminder why I hope this never happens.

Check out the video below.

Michael McCoy

Michael McCoy

Founded The Rx Review in 2011 after discovering there were no news and product review websites catering to the functional fitness market. A contributing writer to the CrossFit Games and CrossFit Community websites, he was the 2012 Head Writer for the Australian Regional for CrossFit Inc.,  2013 and 2014 CrossFit Australian Regional Media Director and is also a contributing video producer for CrossFit Inc. He grew up in Sydney, Los Angeles and Wisconsin (go Badgers) before coming back to Sydney to finally complete his Juris Doctorate.
Michael McCoy
  • Matt

    I also would not like to see weight classes, however if the Wods at the CrossFit games are not balanced out evenly there will be a significant advantage to certain athletes.

  • Michael McCoy

    Yeah your right Matt thats always the issue. I can see the argument for weight classes but I love seeing athletes of all shapes and size going head to head. I also think seeing that huge disparity in size can make for some great T.V and amazing narratives.

  • http://www.crossfitgeo.com.au Adam

    Mikey, I’m with you man. There is nothing better than watching a WOD with heavy weights and body weight movements in it, and seeing how the lead constantly changes between the big guys and the smaller guys. Speal is the guy I draw the most inspiration from out of any of the elite guys. His drive, focus, and motivation is unmatched. He may never win but people know he is an absolute machine.

    • Michael McCoy

      Well said Adam. I think anyone who saw Speal pushing the sled that weighed more than his own bodyweight with his head at this years Games realised how interesting the size disparity makes these competitions. The same could be said for Annie when she had that enormous clean and jerk moment. I really dont think it will change but stranger things have happened. For the moment lets just hope it stays this way!

  • Anna Muras

    I am too. Although I’m more Buddhist than anything else, I do love the concept of David and Goliath, pure courage, spirit and self belief. Weight classes would certainly take that angle away from the competition. And in Crossfit, your size does not determine your level of fitness, we see that time and time again.

  • Fitness101

    No offense bu this article is not that good and only has one example of why there shouldnt be a weight class. The argument of weather or not there should be a weight class is a very good discussion. So, to the writer of this article, basically the only person that could be the best cross fitter that can consider himself the fittest person in the world is Mr 260 LBS Stacked with pure muscle and a lady that weighs 180 LBS also stacked with weight. This sport elliminates any other perfect athlete that may not fall into the same body build. Think of any weight lifting sport “because majority of the heat of cross fit consist of weight lifting”, ALL HAVE WEIGHT CLASSES” and fitness is determined by a person’s body weight and capability of strength for that size. We might as well toss ARNOLD into this sport when he was on his prime and no one else can compete. Basically by keeping the weight class out of it, this so called “SPORT” is only I mean ONLY for people that are BIG, YOKED, and chances are unaturally that size. BY HAVING WEIGHTCLASS, this enables to have much more competitors that is challenged based on fitness for their weight class “body Type” just like any other weight lifting sports. BOOM Sorry writer from the top, you just got called out. Sounds like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • AllNatural

    If the UFC had a 124 lb person fight a 250+ lb person… yeah that seems fair (sarcasm). i agree with Fitness101, you have one example ,and its fairly lame. What other sport doesn’t have weight classes that include lifting weights and/or fighting (strength being the best advantage)? Yes weight classes will happen soon with more and more people wanting to compete in the Games.

    • AllNatural

      Everyone will be doing the same events anyway. In a running race they have ages competing against each other but also have and OVERALL standings. Crossfit could do the same. You win your weight class but maybe not the overall. You would still ultimately have one person better than all.