It seems obvious why there are weight classes in combat sports - bigger fighters have an advantage over smaller ones.

But it also seems obvious that some physical attributes confer an advantage in other sports. For example, tall players have an advantage in basketball. Why aren't there "height classes" in basketball then?


2 Answers 2


Safety, mostly

A basketball team that loses very badly is humiliated. A boxer (or wrestler, mixed martial artist, etc.) who loses very badly might be severely hurt or even killed. Per Wikipedia, weight classes were originally established in boxing because "size mismatches were dangerous for the smaller boxer and unsatisfying for the spectators".


To have more champions.

It would be boring to have only one UFC champion, but in basketball there are 15 people on an NBA champion team. Now the UFC can have 4-5 champions per gender. Otherwise the best fighter from the heaviest class would most likely be lone champion.

  • 2
    Is tennis therefore boring because it has only one champion (per gender category)? The same applies to many other individual sports where physical size is an advantage.
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 11:28
  • There is no competitive edge from being bigger in tennis I believe that is the first requirement of having weight classes.
    – Lightsout
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 18:08
  • Medvedev: 1.98m, Zverev: 1.98m, Nadal: 1.85m, Tsitsipas: 1.93m, Alcaraz: 1.85m, Ruud: 1.83m, Djokovic: 1.88m, Rublev: 1.88m, Auger-Aliassime: 1.93m, Sinner: 1.88m (all heights from Wikipedia). The country with the tallest males in the world is the Netherlands at 1.825m. Every single one of the world's top ten players is taller than average of males in the tallest country in the world. I submit that your statement is false.
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 18:27
  • There are many female champions in tennis that are short and some of the greatest. Rodger federer and nadal are also pretty average height. This is not a sport like judo where the bigger person would slaughter the smaller one.
    – Lightsout
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 6:42
  • 2
    The whole point of arts like Judo is that it enables smaller people to defeat larger people. Ask any judo player. Your argument is grossly inaccurate.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 17:40

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