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In real life, there are weight classes in combat sports.

In my world, there are sixteen species from the Homo genus:

  1. Anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens);
  2. Marine humans/Merfolk (Homo maritimus);
  3. Winged humans/Angels (Homo angelus);
  4. Horned humans/Demons (Homo demonus);
  5. Magic humans/Wizards (Homo magicus);
  6. Arboreal humans/Elves (Homo macer);
  7. Trolls;
  8. Gnomes;
  9. Ogres (Homo corpulentus);
  10. Giants (Homo gigas);
  11. Halflings;
  12. Dwarfs;
  13. Hematophagous humans/Vampires (Homo haematophagus);
  14. Furry humans/Therianthropes (Homo pilosus);
  15. Green humans/Goblins (Homo viridis);
  16. Tusked humans/Orcs.

These various human species have an EXTREMELY high phenotypical variation between them. Some examples include:

  1. Merfolk are as massive as belugas with females larger than males, they have a seal-like blubber, and bison-level strength, and, while they do have hands and feet, they are syndactyl (webbed digits) (sorry, I do not want a psychedelic-like species like merfolk from a famous Disney animated film).
  2. Giants are as massive as polar bears with females larger than males, and they also have a seal-like blubber, and they have moose-level strength.
  3. Ogres are on average as tall as the average real life NBA player with females larger than males, they also have a seal-like blubber making them weighting on average 140 kilograms, and they have gorilla-level strength.
  4. Gnomes are as small as domestic cats, and they have raccoon-level strength.
  5. Angels are as large as wandering albatrosses, they have bat-like wings, and beaver-level strength, and they can fly as well as African grey parrots.
  6. Demons have goat-like horns, weighting on average a metric ton, the queen is always the largest individual in a demon colony (they are eusocial like naked mole-rats), and workers weight on average only one kilogram.
  7. Vampires are as large as common chimpanzees, and they have chimpanzee-level strength.
  8. Therianthropes are as large as orangutans, and they have orangutan-level strength.
  9. Orcs are as large as American black bears, and they have wild boar-like tusks, and zebra-level strength.
  10. Wizards, naturally, can use magic, but without it, they have dog-level strength.

So, the question is: how could interspecies wrestling fights be fair if all the various human species are EXTREMELY different both in terms of size (volume, mass, and height), and in terms of physical strength?

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    $\begingroup$ I hate to be the one to break it to you, but professional wrestling is not a sport, but rather a performing art intended for entertainment. The people in the ring are actors; they are not fighting against each other, they are collaborating in staging a scripted routine to entertain the spectators. Pro wrestling exhibitions (that's the official word) quite often feature unbalanced antagonists. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Pelinore: That's what the word interspecific means. It is also about equally popular as interspecies; and has the advantage of being similar to the Romance form. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 21:36
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    $\begingroup$ Sort of like gladiators against lions? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 15:04
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe you should remove the word "professional" if you want answers for wrestling matches that aren't fake. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ The "strong as this animal" part is very confusing. Giants are bear-sized but have donkey strength -- is that a fancy way of saying they are weaker than they look? And gnomes "size of a cat, strength of a raccoon" seems pointless -- raccoons and cats are about the same. Reading all of those confusing animals makes me laugh -- is that intended? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 21:17

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Compete with teams of equal total weight

Rather than having each match 1-on-1 with vastly different weights, increase the numbers of the smaller creatures until their total weight roughly equals that of the larger creatures. Some examples:

  • Let's say the average merfolk weighs 1500 kg, and the average giant weighs 1000 kg. Then it'll be a match of 2 merfolk against 3 giants, for 3000 kg per team.
  • The average ogre weighs 140 kg, and the average gnome weighs 4.5 kg. That'll be a match of 1 ogre against 31 gnomes, for 140 kg against 139.5 kg.
  • The average therianthrope weighs 125 kg, and the average vampire weighs 50 kg. That's a match of 1 therianthrope against 3 vampires for 125 kg against 150 kg, or if you prefer 2 against 5 for 250 kg each.

Now, some may raise concern about injury and death to small creatures. A single ogre blow may fatally wound a gnome. I say, that's part of the appeal for the crowd. In the same way our crowds would enjoy watching John Cena do a triple backflip onto someone's skull, the more brutal the better.

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    $\begingroup$ As a human, would you rather go up against one 180lbs man, or 14 sapient racoons? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen That depends - am I allowed to bring in a load of garbage as a diversion? $\endgroup$
    – Deepak
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 8:58
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    $\begingroup$ Only if they can bring bags of money. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ Great stuff, but there's a caveat. Vampires weigh less than therianthropes, but are stronger in absolute terms. That means if you scale purely by weight, vampires have a strength AND number advantage over therianthropes. Perhaps you should have teams of equal total weight AND carrying capacity i.e. figure out how much weight each participant can lift and add that to their respective team weight. This could account for differing strength to weight ratios. On the other hand, there are so many other factors to consider, so perhaps the fine tuning should be left to the author. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 7:28
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    $\begingroup$ Things on inherently different power scales are not easily balanced by just mathing it up. How many mounted Mongul warriors would have a fair fight against an attack helicopter with plenty of ammo? At some point, the mismatch is so egregious that the other team turns into a rounding error. $\endgroup$
    – ryanyuyu
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 20:41
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You don't want the fight to be fair, you want the fight to be entertaining. After all it is professional wrestling!

Set the fight on a ring with one random picked environment, or with two environments, each where one of the two fighters has an advantage or a disadvantage. Make things interesting and fun for the public. Fairness isn't not always so.

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    $\begingroup$ Exactly. As long as no one says the F word (fake) or K word (kayfabe). $\endgroup$
    – user96146
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 20:29
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Robot avatars.

Instead of wrestling in person, they strap themselves into harnesses and engage through metal proxies.

In the old days of formula one racing, the car was everything, the team that had the most money to throw at development and refining the cars had the clear advantage, but the rules got tighter - now the cars are much the same because the rules are so strict and the race comes down much more to the drivers.

It can be much the same with the mechs used to fight with. Or if you want to take it further, the metal bodies can all be totally identical, taken by random choice from a standard pool of slave-robots for each fight - the only difference between them being the colour or numbering scheme.

It could still be exhausting for the individual players as the master-harnesses they strap themselves into could require quite a bit of strength to use, and have haptic feedback - all proportional to and standardised for their race to prevent any clear advantage.

This would still technically allow for attempted knobbling, the remote-control systems could be hijacked, the players fitted-up with performance enhancing potions etc. - but the referees would be keeping a keen eye out for that sort of thing.

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There's no such thing as a fair sporting event.

The whole point of a sporting event is to be unfair. The big guy, the tall guy, the guy (or we could go into the topic of transgender women...) - always, there's someone with an advantage.

If the advantage starts making the contest too predictable, maybe you split it into categories. That is always arbitrary, and no matter what some politicians say, there's no "right" way to do it. Someone is going to have a future in the sport and someone is going to have it taken away because of some purely arbitrary way you decide to write the rules.

Contests between species are usually spiced up with empirically defined rules. A classic example is the bear baiting that competed quite well with the Globe Theater where Shakespeare's plays were performed. A bear was chained to a post and four dogs were set upon it, with a satisfying variety of outcomes for bettors.

Now to be sure, in pro wrestling I would rather expect a troll to set on a halfling with a breakaway chair until it is quite tired, only to be topped and pummeled by the little fellow, until his ogre lover in the audience leaps in to save him, leaving the halfling dangling from the scrying crystal that broadcasts from the ceiling. Fear not, that halfling will fall back into the battle at a turning point in the next bout, and quite possibly walk away with the belt.

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    $\begingroup$ Let's make a clear distinction : The whole point of sporting and competitive events is to be unfair regarding the competitors, so as to see people come on top of another. The rules, on their hand, try to be as fair as possible. This explains why most sports like tennis and soccer have symetric spaces : it's easier to make fair rules with them. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ "The big guy, the tall guy, the guy" - but the point is that sports usually try very hard to eliminate exactly this type of unfairness, and have categories according to weight class or gender, whenever it is relevant. The goal is to ensure as much as possible, that the only advantage should be gained by how much you train. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 6:35
  • $\begingroup$ @vsz They try to some extent, but at the end of the day professional sports select almost exclusively for people with the best genetics for that sport. All the training in the world isn't going to help someone who is genetically 5'6 compete in the NBA, or someone with genetically more slow-twitch muscles win a medal in the 100m sprint, or someone with genetically slim shoulders win a medal in the 400m Butterfly. For some sports training can make up for genetic shortcomings, especially ones with more technical aspects, but for raw strength/speed sports, genetics always wins at the top level. $\endgroup$
    – Kayndarr
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 7:57
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As Other have pointed out, Pro wrestling is scripted. As a performer it is abut their ability to sell a move, tell a story and not be dangerous (for real).

If you are after classes or groupings you can go down the route of many titles. In pro wrestling titles are used as a stepping stone on the way to becoming the world champion, as a reason for all competitors, even the less popular to aim for something and titles are great for merchandising as fans love having their own replica belt.

Some sort of world/universal champion is the top title, Intercontinental/European is the lead up title, this prepares performers for becoming a world champion and below that you have less important titles such as light weight, hardcore and tag teams, although those titles can still be occupied by fan favourite performers. The same system is used in most pro wrestling companies but with regional names and specific novelty titles that are better suited to the company.

Some of the best stories in wrestling have been where the smaller beats the larger guy. One of WWE's most watched moments was Hulk Hogan picking up and slamming Andre the Giant, due to the success of that story and how it made Hulk Hogan the biggest star, the story has been repeated decades later with other stars, such as Brock Lesnar picking up the Big Show, or John Cena lifting other giants, partly because the company owner Vince is stuck in his ways and not very imaginative and partly because everyone loves the David and Goliath style story. But picking up a giant takes strength, so you need performers who are very strong but not as big as the giant they are lifting, there is only so much help a performer can get from their opponent to sell a move, so in this case they need to be strong.

The other route for your smaller fighters that are not very strong is the Rey Mysterio route, like how martial arts movies have sold the audience on believing acrobatic fighting can defeat large opponents, the performers use speed and dazzling moves to overcome the larger stronger opponents.

So the sizes and genders of the performers should not affect their ring ability as an unlikely winner can often be the best storyline.

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Teams and Ranking System

The wrestlers have teams. Teams of large people fight other teams of large people. For example a giant fights three trolls.

Teams of small people fight other small people. Five halflings can fight nine dwarfs. But a giant cannot fight 500 halflings because a single blow will kill any halfling.

Each team has a score based on number of wins. They fight other teams with similar scores.

Not all fights are fair. Bigger teams have an unfair advantage over smaller teams. Similar to weight categories in real life, this leads to different divisions.

This is not a problem. In the real world, some people prefer to watch heavyweights and some prefer lightweights. Some watch both. The fact that most heavyweights would trounce most lightweights does not damage the sport.

Likewise some people in your world prefer to watch the 0-100 division which is based on individual skill and athleticism; and some prefer the 900-1000 division which is based on tactics and team cohesion.

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Balance your species...

In real wrestling (not WWE), strength is only one factor in wrestling ability. I wrestled for around 11 years, and relied on endurance and technique against stronger opponents, with general success (made it to state every year of high school, placing 4th once). I ran cross country, just so that I had the energy for the last period, and won a lot of matches then. There's also speed and agility for measurable skills, along with a predator instinct and an ability to activate a flow state - both absolutely invaluable in a real contest. Give your less-strong species of similar weight balancing characteristics, like speed, technique, endurance, or agility, and they will be able to hold their own, under correct circumstances.

...with help from contest rules.

Just like real wrestling (not WWE), use weight brackets. Within any species, there will be an extremely large range of strengths, skills, and sizes (Athletic humans can easily range from 100-300 pounds), enough to necessitate weight classes on its own. Match weights for a start. But then, also, adjust contest rules to help weaker species. Make rings large and matches long, so they can move around and wear out stronger species. Make all dangerous moves strictly illegal, so no one gets injured, forcing contestants to use real technique, rather than goring each other. Optionally, add obstacles to buff speed and agility. For weaker flying creatures, make the ring roof a reasonable height, so the contest will continue, but the flying creatures can get a break if they need it. It'll require some groundwork on your part to develop the skills of each species, beyond strength, and techniques for each to beat each. And even then, at the end of the day, don't even bother trying to cross weight classes significantly. That difference is really hard to make up in a wrestling fight, where intentionally injuring the opponent is illegal (unlike more violent martial arts, where you can disable your bigger opponent).

Addendum - I know that you might prefer a way to avoid weight classes, but if you mean a real, physical, fair, one-on-one wrestling match, you just can't do it with your range of creatures. The raccoon-strength creature couldn't physically turn over a dead beluga onto it's back, let alone a live, struggling one.

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It's a fair fight if both contestants agree to it...

and there are lots of fun ways to arrange the required mutual agreement.

Imagine a large screen that displays the prize being offered for the next fight, which increases throughout the night. Contestants indicate which other contestants they'd be willing to fight for that prize, and a fight takes place whenever there's a match.

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Rules of various wrestling styles (no hitting, kicking, scratching, biting, ...) rather exacerbate weight differences. Fighting an opponent that weights 100 kg more then you - with winning conditions like "force their back on the floor for x seconds", "shove them out of the combat area" or "apply a joint lock till they give up" - will be extremely one sided for the heavier opponent.

Now, in your case you might have opponents that weight 5kg and 1000kg respectively - a cat-sized gnome vs a demon. There is no way to let them wrestle it out, simply because the gnome will not be able to move even a single finger of the demon.

To illustrate, at that weight factor, you could roughly put a human against a small guinea pig. The guinea pig might be able to tickle the human by licking their feet, and that is probably the most impactful attack they can manage. On the other hand, the human might be to large to interact with the smaller opponent within the rules - how do you apply a choke hold on such a tiny being without outright crushing its neck?

For meaningful contest you need completely different rules, to the point they resemble nothing like what we know as "wrestling". And still, with such large weight differences, accidental death (of the smaller opponent) is a huge risk as long as they are in close physical proximity.

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Empirically. This would all be 'back story' so you don't have to show the whole tedium, but the idea is to run prior test matches between individuals of different species. For the species that always wins (it will be one or the other most likely, and if not, you have a fair fight as it is), administer a drug that slows down their physical reaction and/or mental reaction time. Tweak the amount of the drug during the test matches so that half the time one species individual wins and the other half of the time the other individual wins. The type and amount of drug will remain consistent henceforth, so if one species starts winning most of the time, it means they are more motivated.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome Dennis. Please take our tour and browse our help center for guidance as and when. Nice idea, very scientific - sort of an LB 50 (lose-bout 50% of the time, or level-both, as you will). Enjoy the site. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 3:27
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You can use artefacts to make the wrestling more even: An extreme example would be to wrestle with bows, at distance: in such a situation, all species would have the same chance.

Any other weapon could be used to make the fight a little more fair: swords, axes....

You can also change the environment: imagine the species are fighting in the sea: they could only swim and win over the other by sending him down. In this situation, species would be more equal than on a classic MMA wrestling.

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  • $\begingroup$ Bows and sea wrestling are probably not the best example : The mermaids who have specific hands will have more troubles handling the first, while they'd likely have a net advantage on the second. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Tortliena You're right. OP mentins Merfolks, I'm not sure if they have a human or mermaid anatomy $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 8:47
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In any game, one person will always have an advantage compared to the other. In your case, I would make it even more fun by giving them different weapons and tools for fighting! Of course, we would give them tools at random and see how they fare with it!

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