Ireland’s leading UFC website www.PowerhouseMMA.ie’s editor, Alan Murphy presents the for arguement for UFC in the UFC v Boxing fight! Hit back and comment below.
Before I start I would like to state that I am a boxing & MMA fan.
To me the story of boxing has gone like the last ‘megastar’ boxing produced, Mike Tyson. Everyone knows about the early days of boxing from Marciano, to Ali etc. Then we had Mike Tyson, he made his pro debut in 1985 at age 18, in 86 he wins the WBC title and in 87 he wins the WBC, WBA and IBF titles. Everything was going great for ‘Iron Mike’ before he hit a skid personally and found himself in jail in April 92. Tyson was released in March 95 and by the end of 96 he won back his WBC and WBA title’s, against Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon respectively. The next few years we all know, we had the Holyfield ear incident leading to losing, to Lewis and to his last bout against Kevin McBride in 2005.
The reason I compare how boxing has went to Tyson’s career is that they both followed similar paths. Great early years leading all the way to the 80’s, then a lull period before suddenly revisting good times leading to the early 00’s. The heavyweight division in boxing is what draws the most people and is generally viewed as the grand stage of boxing, the last great heavyweight fight we have seen was in 2003 when we had Lennox Lewis v Vitali Klitschko.
Boxing is dying a slow death, and it saddens me to say that, boxing knows this and that is the reason most of the authorities in boxing dislike MMA and the UFC. Another reason I am stating dates in Tyson’s career is that while he was in prison the UFC held its first event. The UFC started out small and very violent with little or no rules in their fights. The UFC was bought by Zuffa LLC in 2001, after this acquisition we saw the UFC and MMA in general become one of the fastest growing organisations and sports in the world. The takeover in 01 happened around the same time that boxing started to fall into decline, is this a coincidence?
In the 7 years pre-Zuffa the UFC held 33 events, the 7 years after the takeover the UFC held 70 events and from that time till the present day they have held a further 100 events. All the 170+ events held by the Zuffa owned UFC have all been major events. The reason why boxing is in the decline is that most title fights are a complete mismatch and that boxing is failing to provide value to the paying customer. Take for example the recent heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Jean Marc Mormeck, Mormeck was an 18/1 outsider in a world title fight and the fight ended within four, one sided rounds. This, like many “World Title Fights” in recent years, is an embarrassment for the sport of boxing. There are no names left in boxing apart from Mayweather and Pacquiao (the only fight left in boxing that could overshadow any event from any sport worldwide) and the Klitschko brothers (who have no one to fight).
The only good thing boxing has going for it nowadays is ‘prize fighter’, a tournament held in one night to crown a winner. This is a leaf taken from the UFC’s early beginnings. The UFC held one night tournaments in its early days. However prize fighter is not getting the major exposure as it should and therefore the prize money is low and therefore will not attract any of boxing’s few remaining stars. Could you imagine an event with Amir Kahn, Lamont Peterson, Manny, Floyd, Mosley, Ortiz or even look at a possible heavyweight tournament featuring Haye, the Klitschko’s, Fury, Toney, Chisora and whoever you personally think would look good in there. The names are not the most appealing individually but when but into one tournament it looks pretty interesting.
Back to MMA, UFC is essentially MMA. They have gotten so big that they have bought over all of its major competing organisations (Pride, WEC and Strikeforce). They are the biggest organisation in the sport and the best fighters in the world fight there. This is why MMA has a brighter future than boxing; the UFC is a single organisation. With a single organisation you have control over every aspect, who fights who, when and where. Could you imagine if one singular entity had that control in boxing? We would have Manny v Floyd in 4 months, Haye v Chisora (a fight that should happen simply to help boxing following the media field day that happened) or any other interesting match-up that did not happen through the years.
If you had one main organisation for boxing, like the UFC is for MMA, then you have the control and there will be value for fans. No boxing fan would deny that boxing would be better if that was the case. The UFC is the main event, however the structure of MMA has evolved into a nice fighter friendly progression ladder, for example; a fighter learns and trains, has a couple of amateur fights, competes on regional events, turns pro and competes on national events, competes on small international cards, has an impressive record and fights in major MMA cards such as Bellator, Shark fights, Bamma etc and if they perform well there they would attract the attention of the UFC (obviously some people advance through faster than others) and fight there. This structure helps create better, more rounded fighters and gives the UFC the chance to constantly great fights, there are no majorly one sided matchups like Klitschko being 1/80 to beat Mormeck the other night.
I understand that some people may not like what MMA has to offer, i.e. the ground action. I understand that two people rolling around does not appeal to some people, but that is what the sport is all about. It is about being a complete form of fighting, boxing is one form as is jujitsu and wrestling. Seeing two people grappling on the ground is the same as seeing two boxers feel each other out and stick and move, it is essentially a chess game with both sides trying to get that checkmate, sure grappling can seem boring at times but so can a boxing match.
So there it is. I do hope boxing can pick itself back up in the near future. I miss the days of Eubank and Collins, Naseem and McCullough and Tyson v anyone. But if boxing keeps going the way it is then I am afraid it will die a slow and painful death because the UFC and MMA will just continue to grow and grow and people will invest their time and money into a sport that provides value for time and money.
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