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Where Are the Middleweights At?

Where Are the Middleweights At?

In case ya’ll didn’t know or were too busy reading about the top 5 bald southpaws in MFC or something, Bellator had a show a few nights ago and in normal Bellator fashion, they delivered.  The main event for the Middleweight title was an action packed back and forth affair and the opening rounds of the new Middleweight Tourney had everything from come from behind victories to Rock’em Sock’em style slug fests.  Make no mistake about it, I truly enjoyed to matches.

But, and here’s my gripe, or question, or whatever, very few of the fighters in the Middleweight tourney appeared to be actual Middleweights.  Far be it for me to judge a man by his physical appearance but it seemed like everything from doughy Welterweights to even doughier Lightweights to Light Heavyweights that cut so much they can barely breath after 2 minutes in the cage were represented.  Even the Champ, Alexander Shlemenko, who’s had over 50 fights at Middleweight, was being referred to as “small” and “undersized” by Bellator’s own announcing team.  As the clear cut #2 org in the US, I asked, “Why is it so hard for Bellator to find good MW’s?”

Is it just Bellator though?  185lb has long been considered a “boring” weight class who’s lack of talent has only been eclipsed by Heavyweight. Sure there was Anderson Silva, but he was always seemed more the exception that proved the rule.  Consider that both Paulo Filho (WEC) and Hector Lombard (Bellator) were both ranked as high as #2 in MW at some point and you kinda see where I’m coming from.  Now I’m not saying there are no talented fighters in the MW division, but with the UFC’s absorption of Strikeforce’s MW division, they appear to have a lock on all the best, good, and not so bad, Middleweights out there.  Which begs the question as to why there are so few (as compared to other divisions) fighters to fill the ranks of the MW division?

A 6’0″ tall 185lb athlete does not sound like much of an anomaly and yet that’s exactly what there appears to be a dearth of.  Is it because all the 200lb fighters are cutting to WW like Johny Hendricks?  Or is it because it’s easier (and possibly more lucrative if successful) to fight in the Light Heavyweight division like Rashad, Shogun, or Machida does?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that even for all it’s most recent success, as Bellator 98 just showed, the MW division is still the bastard, middle child of the MMA world.