I am sure we have seen this article 1 too many times. Even applauded and/or are disgusted by it. But seriously, it’s okay to hate boxing. It's okay to not get into MMA. Seriously, you are no better or worse off for not know the other.
How many diehard Red Sox fans are actually Patriots fans, or vice versa? Can you honestly see many Cowboy fans out there rooting for the Texas Rangers? Dodgers fan and... Okay never mind on that one. But you get my drift... they are too different animals with one thing in common; 2 men going one on one in combat with rules in place. That’s where the comparison stops. This isn't WWE vs. WCW or TNA, it's more like NFL vs. MLB. Or better yet, Football vs. Baseball in general, because this "transcends" leagues...
Many boxing fans have called MMA glorified street fighting, or modernized gladiators fighting till death or serious injury. Maybe in its very early days, but no longer does that even exist. I doubt any of these people have seen or even heard of Vale Tudo, so MMA as we know it is nothing like it any longer. The UFC had a vision for MMA, and it has become the premier league in the world, able to outlast the mistakes of its predecessors & other competition due to their ability to evolve into today’s mainstream sport landscape. MMA is no more or no less violent than boxing. As a matter of fact, it has been deemed "safer" of a sport than boxing is. Boxing focus on the head and upper body only. Causes brain damage in its most glorified competitors. MMA utilizes a whole body approach and/or attack if you will, and there is no 10 count, if you're out you're done.
But that is as technical as I will get, because I know only true boxing and MMA fans get on this site, it only needed basic explanation. MMA, more specifically the UFC has something they can do. Go the way of boxing and have many promotions featuring paper champions and a mythical undisputed champion that never really means anything. or have 1 to 2 major promotions where the fighters can meet in a super fight. UFC is at a major crossroads and I like how they've handled things so far. But then there is Affliction. They have the potential to function like the UFC and feed off its leftovers. They are trying to create 1 uniform promotion across the world in WAMMA, and the UFC is the only holdout. UFC has every right to, don’t get me wrong. But hey, WWE vs. WCW wasn’t a bad thing. WCW just was headed by a corporate faceless giant who didn’t care but a CEO who did with a big wallet.
I am neither in support or opposition to WAMMA and what affliction is doing. Who wouldn’t want to see the best teams in the world face each other? NBA Champions vs. NBL Champions Australia Pro Basketball). MLB Champions vs. NPB Champions (Japanese Pro Baseball). Heck that’s what soccer does, they have champion’s leagues all over the world in combination with World Cup type events, and maybe that’s why they are the best and most watched sport in the world save for the US.
As you can see, WAMMA has potential, but it can also go dangerously the way of boxing. Does anybody know who the main 3 Heavyweight Boxing Champions are right now? Can you actually name the 3 main boxing leagues out there? Now name me the top promotions just in the U.S. Great job, now tell me every single weight class in order. Did I lose you yet? If I haven’t, I want you to tell me, the last 5 champions in boxing that held all 3 of the major title simultaneously in any weight class?
Thats not even the real problem in boxing. There are actually 4 recognized giant promotions in boxing and only being the champ of 3 of them recognizes the fighter as the undisputed champion. The last heavyweight undisputed champion was Lennox Lewis, in 1999. Before him, Riddick Bowe in 1992. And in any weight class, the last was Cruiserweight David Haye, who held 3 of them, in May of 2008, but said he was going to move up to heavyweight, so had to vacate one of the belts. The most recognizable fighters to ever hold all 4, Bernard Hopkins at Middleweight, the 1st man ever to do so in any weight class. He lost to the 2nd man ever to do it after earning his 1st in September of 2001 and never losing it in 6 title fights in 6 years. The fighter that beat him after 6 succesful defenses was Jermaine Taylor who lost his status after beating and defending against Hopkins who was basically stripped of one and vacated another within a year of winning it.
Now I want you MMA fans to do the same for the former top 2 promotions in UFC and Pride. Who is the only man in Pride and UFC history to win both belts? Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira ladies & gents, and not simultaneously. That’s it. That makes MMA no better or worse than boxing, it just means boxing has more history, #1 and #2, boxing, although has many promotions, does not see itself in league sense, as UFC and Pride did and Affliction is beginning to do (or should do) now.
Boxing, well it may be too late to shore up its act, but for those MMA freaks, boxing will never "fold" or "die" much like baseball. It may just take a tough to swallow 2nd place like it did to football years ago. The product is just better. Not because of the level of action or the type of game, but because of the meaning of the regular season, the backbone of the sport. Boxing just is too big a monster and cannot improve itself without angering a great many within the sport.
MMA, however, has not gotten there yet, but UFC is doing its best to expand and Affliction is riding its coat tails for the time being. I don’t mind if Fedor vs. Randy never happens, I understand. I want to see it, I really really do, but not if Randy loses his title, it loses the luster. Stone vs. Goldberg didn’t happen. Rock vs. Goldberg did because he joined WWE finally, and no titles were involved at that point. But that’s just a tidbit for you wrestling fans. WWE vs. WCW was good, very good. You wish and dream of super fights but when they did happen, it happened on one leagues terms (WWE) and overall did not play too well. But that’s not real, its just fun... Affliction vs. UFC is about to become very well, especially since EliteXC folded. But bring it on.
We will dream of the cross-promotion super fights all we want, but as I stated earlier, would you rather see MMA go the way of boxing, with way too many big dogs and not enough time for the big fights and respect the up and coming contenders or would you rather it stay completely exclusive, put on 2 strong similar shows and do its best to sign the best free agents? Yeah.. As I would hope you answer
2 big dogs in the yard are a lot better than one when you’re a fan of fighting... and a way lot better than several, lessening the talent pools in a just upcoming sport.
There is a reason football is only in the U.S. as a meaningful sport, and a reason why soccer never really made it big to break the top 4 most watched sports. The interest at an early age is not there... yet.... for MMA. But don’t blink, it’s getting there. And with the already dwindling numbers of youth picking up the boxing gloves in favor of the MMA gloves, and the still many promotions out there, boxing is about to see less and less big meaningful talent. UFC, might as well be the polar opposite, if they learn from boxings' mistakes.