Home Kickboxing Glory Are One-Night Tournaments Good or Bad for Combat Sports?

Are One-Night Tournaments Good or Bad for Combat Sports?

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(Royce Gracie in UFC 1, photo: Holly Stein / Getty Images North America)

One-night tournaments provide combat sports athletes with a way to put it all on the line to achieve greatness. Respective organizations have used or continue to use the one-night tournament format to determine tile contention, championship winners and more in one action-packed evening. But is requiring so many athletes to compete multiple times on the same night good or bad for combat sports?

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Upsides

There are a variety of ways to determine the structure of a one-night tournament. Glory kickboxing, for instance, seeds its fighters in one weight class in the tournament based on the GSI point system. The highest-ranking kickboxers have the advantage of facing more lower-ranked opponents to advance further in the tournament. On the opposite end of the spectrum, UFC 1 was an 8-man tournament unrestricted by weight class, many foul restrictions, timed rounds, and it required either a TKO or submission finish to advance.

No one can doubt that one-night tournaments are a great sell and make for an action-packed evening of entertainment. There is no contention about who should have fought who, or why fighter “x” does or doesn’t deserve a title shot, the fighters advance based solely on their own merit. If an organization does rank and seed its competitors, it gives the advantage to the best fighters while also giving an opportunity to those who are lower in rank. Perhaps the most prevailing quality about seeded tournament format is that lower-ranked fighters get a shot at a higher-ranked opponent that would never have happened under the standard matchmaking process.

Downsides

From the health perspective, one-night tournaments take an extreme toll on competitors’ health. Winning the tournament means beating 2 or more competitors in one evening with little time to recover from the damage of your earlier matches. A competitor could lose a match that would have been otherwise won with the standard time to recover from a fight. By the time you get to the final fight of the tournament, the top competitors are going to have the energy of 3 or 4 fights taken out of them. Tournament finalists simply will not be able to pack the same punch they would in the standard matchmaking format. Most tournaments are restricted by weight class, which means less variety as to the types of fights you’ll see in one night. One of the best qualities about a match-made night is that you get to see the best of multiple weight classes. There is overall less variety when it comes to the size and type of fighter you’ll see when there’s only one competing weight class.

Are one-night tournaments here to stay? Do you think they are ultimately good or bad for combat sports?

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Kurt Tellez
Kurt Tellez is a Southern California-based writer and musician. He first developed a passion for writing and literature in high school that carried through to the completion of a B.A. in English from Cal State Fullerton in 2013. Inspired by Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson, Alan Moore and Hunter S. Thompson, he has pursued a career in writing through contributions to online magazine publications, blogging, and social media management. His musical studies began at thirteen, and has since played in garage bands, concert bands and jazz bands everywhere from Honolulu to The Matthew Street Beatles Festival in Liverpool. Kurt has followed MMA since becoming an avid listener of the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Inspired by Eddie Bravo's appearances on the show, he became a member of Tenth Planet Jiu-Jitsu in 2014.