Mark Rippetoe (he's a popular personality in the powerlifting world) was affiliated with Crossfit in the beginning, mainly doing workshops on demonstrating basic barbell lifts. He liked how Crossfit was, at the time, a welcome antidote to the "Globo-Gym" death grip on fitness.
But he has distanced himself from Cross-fit for years now, and has a huge amount of criticism due to the emphasis on high-rep Olympic lifts. The high reps result in poor execution and injury at worst, and in uselessly light loads at best.
The first time I ever saw rhabdo was when I was sent to Outward Bound for a month as a teenager. A guy in my group wasn't very fit, and he got it from several days in a row of intense distance while backpacking. We were told how insanely rare it was when he got back, and the doctor at the time told him it was only seen in guys in boot camp.
Suddenly, a few years back, my rock climbing gym had a crossfit area. Then I start hearing about rhabdo all the time. I noticed that extremely fit rock climbers would do some of the team workouts, and then refuse to go back for the rest of the class they paid for. Their conclusion was the same as mine: any fitness regimen that makes it difficult to function in your day to day activities for days on end due to extreme soreness is not something that should ever be viewed as fitness. Fitness is something that can be integrated into a normal life.
I think CrossFit fell victim to its monetizations scheme. The original folks made their money by awarding certifications to trainers, who would then go start their own classes/gyms.
Like everything else: it started as a movement, turned into a business, and then devolved into a racket.
But the rest of your post is garbage. "Monetizations schemes" and "racket"(s)? Two things here:
1/ Any intelligent person that starts a crossfit "box" could start a big gym that appeals more widely and make significantly more money. True, they would need more initial capital for the equipment. True, they would have to operate on far lower margins. But at the end of the day they would make more money signing up 1,000 people for $25 a month than signing up 100 people for $200 a month. Gym memberships are nothing more than a subscription service which is subject to the decaying population problem. It is about scale here.
2/ The majority of the crossfit community really, really buy into the entire thing. And nothing associated with that "thing" is about money. It is about fitness and community.
The vast majority of people that start crossfit boxes are doing so because they love crossfit. Not money. Please don't respond here with the handful of boxes that are about money because at any scale you will find outliers and these outliers don't represent the norm.
Crossfit people are fanatical about fitness and community. Not money. They prescribe to a very specific workout methodology. If you don't like crossfit then attack it for the faults that are at its core. Like functional movements (including Olympic movements) executed at high intensity. Somewhat insane, yes.
Don't create additional issues that could be potential found in a minority.
Here is a request for you. Feel free to ignore but if you are serious in terms of your views then try it out. (And if you aren't then just announce your troll status and be done with it.) Visit 12 crossfit gyms. You don't have to do the workouts there, don't pay a dime, just visit them and watch the class. Then ask yourself the following question, "If I wanted to make more money (that is if I were really an industry that devolved from a 'movement and then into a business and then finally a racket' - paraphrased from you) what would I do differently?"
If you can come up half a dozen answers to this question then I submit to you that your statement "it started as a movement, turned into a business, and then devolved into a racket" is wrong.
Crossfit HQ is most definitely about the money. And, IMO, HQ is also the heart of the issue when it comes to programming, injury prevention (certification and standards) and the perpetuation of the things like rhadbo.
Further, IMO, crossfit the sport (meaning the games) has outgrown the leadership available at HQ. Glassman and Castro are notoriously bad leaders and exhibit this at nearly every turn. Crossfit the sport would be best served by being bought out by Reebok and moving away from HQ.
I completely disagree with the notion that these folks would make more money with a standard gym, and are therefore doing CrossFit purely out of passion. I'm sure they are passionate, but the standard gym market is saturated and overrun by large companies.
I get the feeling here that you just made up numbers that prove your point. And even then, the numbers are so close (25% higher revenue, which of course ignores the margins you believe to be irrelevant) that I'd be skeptical that one or the other would be clearly more profitable.
Perhaps the reason CrossFit gyms have to charge so much is because there are comparatively few people in the world foolish enough to join a gym that advocates a "fitness" program that is statistically so dangerous.