The Unified Rules of MMA, thanks to the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC), have now added four new weight classes to mixed martial arts.
The addition of the new weight classes was codified into the Unified Rules of MMA on July 26 at the annual ABC conference in Connecticut where the vote to add the weight classes was unanimous.
The four new weight classes are the following:
- Super lightweight (165 pounds)
- Super welterweight (175 pounds)
- Super middleweight (195 pounds)
- Cruiserweight (225 pounds)
Even with these additions, don't expect major MMA promotions such as UFC and Bellator quickly follow suit and create brand new divisions. Sean Wheelock, chairman of the rules and regulations committee said the new additions won't have an impact on UFC and Bellator's weight classes.
“Just because cruiserweight now exists doesn’t mean that the UFC or Bellator or anybody else has to put in a cruiserweight division,” Wheelock said. “MMA promotions run their own belts — you can do a title at a 162.2 pounds if you want."
Despite two of the weight classes being five pounds less and more than the welterweight limit of 170 pounds, the welterweight weight class is still in the Unified Rules. The additions were approved after being brought to the ABC by the Andy Foster, the MMA rules and regulations committee and California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) executive officer.
Foster said promotions may start looking at creating the new divisions after it's been used in the amateur and regional levels in mixed martial arts.
“When California club shows and Texas club shows and others have 165- and 175-pound divisions and fighters are locked into those, then I think we’ll see a change,” Foster said. “It could take four or five years, maybe shorter than that.”
The new weight classes follow a similar weight class format that boxing has in which there "super" or "junior" versions of standard weight classes (i.e. super bantamweight, junior middleweight).