It is the old right tool for the right job issue. You don't take a formula one racer to the Paris-Dakar rally right?
Jim March nailed everything, right on the nose. There is only one point that I would take exception with and that is his point about steel toughness. A fighter wants to be the same carefull balance between toughness and edge holding as any other blade.
I would add that a fighter may be sharpened to a finer edge to optimize cutting efficiency over durability. That can be easily changed though, either way.
An ultimate fighting bowie should be double edged for the most part, and you couldn't very well split a chunk of wood by pounding on a sharpened spine with another piece of wood, now could you? I have a 10" Black Cloud FB3 that I have been wanting to press into service as a camp bowie because it is much heavier than my FB4s, and it is a fair chopper, but the tip 4" or so is thinner than 3/16" because of the sharpened, double-ground clip. So even though there is plenty of spine to pound on, I wouldn't want to seriously pry with it.
You can make the argument that a big stout combat knife like the Mad Dog TUSK is a great fighter, and it will puncture and pry an ammo can to pieces to boot. True, but a TUSK will never be as fast as a Panther, and in fighting, speed is life.
If you ever held a dedicated fighting bowie like the Black Cloud in your hands, and compared it to say a Cold Steel Trailmaster, you would know the difference right away. Its like the difference between a Greyhound and a Malemute. Do you wanna' catch a rabbit, or do you wanna' pull a sled?
[This message has been edited by Steve Harvey (edited 08 February 1999).]