Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why MMA Will Overtake Boxing

Hey guys here's an article I wrote awile back about why I think Mixed Martial Arts will overtake boxing. Below is the article in its entirety.

Boxing has long been the king of the pay-per-view airways, and that still holds true, just barely. Although the recent superfight between Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. grossed a record breaking $120 million, this was not the fight to save boxing. This was not even a great fight. The fight sold well on massive hype and the fighters names, but a fight you tell your grandkids about it was absolutely not.

"This puts to bed this theory of boxing being in trouble, or being dead or dying," said Ross Greenburg, head of HBO Sports. "This fight would have never materialized if boxing was dying." Sorry Ross, but he knows whats going on and he knows exactly why his sport is struggling so much. It has become tradition for HBO boxing announcer Jim Lampley to say something derogatory about Mixed Martial Arts, saying after the De La Hoya vs Mayweather fight that "Mixed Martial Arts is entertaining. The kind of skill level you saw in the ring tonight - there's nothing in mixed martial arts which is within light years of what Mayweather and De La Hoya are able to do with their hands."

Cheap shots aside, Lampley knows MMA is winning some battles in the war. Colorful UFC president Dana White knows it too, saying in his 60 minutes interview "When you start watching the UFC, boxing sucks, boxing is boring". He may be right on the money with that statement. Why watch 2 guys use one form of fighting discipline on each other, when you can watch 2 guys not only use boxing, but Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Sambo, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, submissions and many forms of wrestling. If Lampley wants to talk about skill level why don't you ask a boxer to take 4 or 5 leg kicks without crying, protect against a shoot and takedown or avoid getting arm-barred, choked out or leg-locked. Boxer's only have to worry about getting punched and throwing a punch. So don't bring skill level into the discussion.

Lets take a look at the main reason boxing was popular in its hey days. The most often overlooked aspect of boxing's popularity is the presence of one true champion, usually heavyweight. These days we have no clue has to who that is in part because nobody's good enough to completley dominate. Its the allure of being labeled "unbeatable" that draws people to that kind of champion. Where would golf be without Tiger Woods and what happened to basketball when Michael Jordan retired the first time. In MMA there is this "unbeatable" champion, Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor is a mild-mannered stone cold fighter who is versed in every aspect of the MMA game. He is considered unbeatable by most, which makes it all the more appealing to watch his fights. If he ever loses it will be a major shock to anybody watching, which is why people tune-in. This affects all the fights because you watch an up and comer and think "could he be the one to take down Fedor"

UFC owners Zuffa {owned by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta} recently bought their biggest competitor, Japanese promotion Pride Fighting Championship. From the perspective of die-hard fans Pride was considered to have the best fighters in the world. It was extremely popular in Japan, until Fuji TV terminated their contract. Pride couldn't handle the loss and had to sell. With Pride on board many superfights that was thought never to be possible are. Popular fighters such as Fedor, Wanderlai Silva, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and before the purchase Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson are now able to go up against the UFC's elite such as Randy Couture, Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, Rich Franklin, B.J. Penn and Matt Serra. Being able to promote these kind of superfights will further cement MMA as a true young contender to an old champion, boxing.

One more aspect overlooked by skeptics is the fact that MMA has less serious injuries than boxing. Its not like in boxing where you may take over 100 punches to your head and midsection. Furthermore if you get knocked out in boxing you can get back up and take more punishment, in MMA if the ref thinks your knocked out for a second the fights over. So Lampley and other skeptics can moan all they want, but the facts are the facts and pay-per-view has a new shining prince waiting to be crowned king.

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endocet325 said...

i like how the ice man always has that belly sticking out. he doesnt look like the typical muscular type but man he can bang with the best of them.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but hopefully this argument over which is better mma or boxing or whether mma will overtake boxing in popularity just goes away. Does it really matter? There's plenty of entertainment dollars to go around and people will watch either sport provided that each manage to put on great fights and better shows. These two sports maybe alike given they are both one on one combat sports and they both share a similar discipline which is boxing. However, MMA fighters are not just capable of boxing but also wrestling and ju-jitsu which makes them different. In other words, they are still very different with very different rules. Just stop the argument and let those who enjoy either one or both enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

boxing wont be able to keep up i mean it is boring compared to mma, it's not as realistic and now with the popularity of mma on the rise boxing will become more and more just a single aspect of a sport instead of a whole sport of its own. over the years i've heard the most ridiculous things from those who like boxing more, saying garbage like mma fighters don't have as good of hands, or that they are not as classy as boxers. Please. boxing is archaic now people will wonder if the boxing champs could even be that skilled if they can't even kick, grapple, you know, realistic fight stuff. Come on even the size of gloves is more real about mma and their athletes dont have as many injuries as boxing with their bigger and safer gloves.

in my opinion boxing appears like human cockfighting, not mma...because people have brains, to fight with intelligence and use difference strategies and basically nowadays a lot of people know mma, you can't really ignore that fact and just punch and expect to earn the same kind of respect. :]

so mma will continue to be more exciting has so much more depth. so many more moves and situations to entertain people with. boxing people that speak ill of it are just jealous and need to get over it.