One of my favorite things to read are various Boxing forums, especially those concerning undefeated Welter Weight Champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao. After reading through line by line of fans’ comments (some intelligent, but most ignorant and vulgar) I realize that many have come to a consensus that Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, will soon overtake the sport of Boxing. Since I never take the time to respond to someone on the other side of a computer screen, I will take my opportunity to express my own thinking. In the words of the great Philosopher, Pink, “NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NAAAA-I WANNA START A FIGHT!” I know my argument won’t get much agreement or popularity, but I can also back it up with facts.

BOXING vs. MMA: In my Couch Sports Expert opinion, BOXING is the superior sport. I’m not saying that I like it better, or that the future doesn’t hold the potential for MMA to eclipse the sport. I’m just judging by what I see now. Trust me, ever since I saw Brad Pitt and Ed Norton in “FIGHT CLUB”, I, like most men, have fantasized about being a part of such a club. Imagine getting off work, ripping off the suit and tie, driving down to some underground garage, and getting paid to break someone’s jaw. That movie made us all love MMA before it became what it is today, but I still think Boxing is in a class of its own.

Here are 3 reasons why Boxing still holds more interest over Mixed Martial Arts….

1. POTENTIAL
Most people who say that MMA is taking over the reigns of Boxing have that opinion for one reason alone: the Mayweather-Pacquiao saga. I’ve heard a million times that MMA makes the fights that their fans want to see. I tend to disagree. I too want to see a mega fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, but I also recognize that I haven’t seen a match-up of that magnitude from the MMA ranks either. In my opinion, Andersen Silva, Jon “Bones” Jones, and George St. Pierre are on top of the “Pound 4 Pound” list in MMA. Any combination of match-ups with these three fighting one another would be perfect……but I don’t see it happening. I don’t care how many casual fans claim they are done with the May-Pac drama, the mere mention of a possible match-up brings them all flocking back. The potential of that bout is enough to keep the sport of boxing afloat. And if it ever happens, a potential rematch will trump anything MMA can put on the table. Boxing seems to always come out with young, hungry, fighters who could potentially be the next “P4P King”, or potentially be the one to take down Mayweather or Pacquiao. That POTENTIAL is enough to keep us all very interested.

2. NUMBERS
I was once told, “Men lie….and women lie….but numbers don’t lie”. When you compare the two sports, the numbers don’t lie. In the few times that MMA has gone head-to-head with Boxing with a Pay-Per-View event, Boxing has clearly won. The first incident was the 2009 match-up between Floyd Mayweather (there goes that name again) and Juan Manual Marquez. Floyd was coming off a 21-month retirement, and if there was any time for MMA to out-shine the sports’ largest figure, it would’ve been that night, after a long lay-off, and against an opponent that the public was not calling for. UFC 103 recorded a buy rate of 375,000, while Mayweather-Marquez achieved 1,050,000 buys. (and UFC 103 was a cheaper event to purchase) If you need more NUMBERS facts, just look at the earnings of the top fighters from each sport. So far, Tito Ortiz has been the top earning UFC fighter in 2011, earning $1,045,000. I don’t think I need to even continue on this point when Sugar Shane Mosley made $5 million for the beating he took against Manny Pacquaio. These numbers clearly show a greater interest in one sport over the other. The NUMBERS don’t lie.

3. EXPOSURE
In the sports industry, it is proven that too much of anything is bad. A perfect example is the fact that the NFL is worth more than the NBA and MLB together. This really makes no sense on paper, because the numbers don’t seem to add up. In football, you have 32 teams, playing 16 games each. That’s a total of 512 games. Major League Baseball has 30 teams, who play 162 games each. That’s a total of 4,860 games. That equals 4,348 more chances to bring in more revenue. If you add in the NBA’s games as well, it is crazy to think that the NFL outweighs them both. The reasoning is simple. When you give the fans too much, they get complacent. You’re not worried about missing one baseball game in the middle of the season, because that single game is probably irrelevant, and you have a million chances to catch them on a different night. I can’t remember the last time I watched a full baseball game that wasn’t in the postseason, or that didn’t have postseason implications. MMA is to BOXING, as the MLB is to the NFL. You can turn on the TV any day of the week and find a mixed martial arts program. Not only that, you can usually find a replay of a fight between UFC’s elite fighters any day of the week. With that much exposure, you lose some of the hype around your sport. Are you really dead set on paying $45 on a Jon Jones fight, when you can see him fight at least 3 days a week, and you know he will be involved in at least two more Pay-Per-View events in the same year? Maybe. But, in boxing, you get to see the “ELITE” about twice a year. (If you’re a Mayweather fan, once every two years) You get one shot, unless you have HBO, and can catch a replay a few weeks later. Those rare moments will always keep fans salivating for the next big event.

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Comments
  1. I’m not sure which TV shows you are referring to. Spike and FX have cut down on the number of UFC Unleashed events since Fox signed a deal with UFC.

    I don’t think you can draw an effective analogy between NFL/MLB and Boxing/MMa. Here is why:

    The NFL and MLB have both consolidated their leagues to the point where there is no question about which leagues holds the most celebrated title. There are minor leagues, in which players are routinely called up and dropped to.

    Zuffa has effectively copied the process taken by the NFL by sequentially buying and shortly thereafter eliminating all fight leagues except for the UFC. Upon purchasing Pride, Zuffa gained the rights to a number of world-class fighters (mostly Dan Henderson though). The two leagues were then unified. Then, the UFC purchased WEC, and during unification also added two more weight classes at 135 and 145 lbs. Finally, Zuffa recently purchased Strikeforce, but for all intensive purposes, appears to be keeping it on as a minor league equivalent.

    All of this has left a sort of channel in which fighters can travel:

    Bellator—>Strikeforce—> UFC

    I’m not so bold as to claim that the champions of Bellator leave for Strikeforce and those for Strikeforce leave for UFC, but successful veterans tend to take this path.

    Boxing, in fact, is the only “major” sport to not have consolidated all of its leagues. I use quotations because I’m not entirely sure that boxing is a major sport anymore. For example, what percentage of the population do you think knows what weight Mayweather generally fights at? How about Pacquiao? Do you think that more than 50% of the population knows who 5 of the big players are in heavyweight at this point? I don’t think so.

    Moreover, exposure, today is ever increasing, almost always without the consent of sports leagues, whether it be the NFL, UFC, MLB, NBA or whatever the most prolific boxing league is. Thanks to websites like Justin.tv, ch131, allthebestfightvideos, Ubisoft, or a load more, anyone with an internet connection can see any fight they want to. They can even watch them without getting a virus so long as they have a Mac or a decent anti-virus program.

    Your points on potential are interesting, especially considering Jon Jones’s two brothers. They play football. Why is this interesting? It may not be a trend that develops that well, but it shows that athletes growing up wrestling, playing football, running track and field, etc, now have more than one option. No, they are not going to be professional boxers. Why would anyone with 4+ years of wrestling experience start all over in a sport where a clinch calls for a restart? The potential, as you say, for anyone to become the next big thing, has already been realized, actualized and exploited by the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter. Moreover, fighters like Jon Jones prove that your point is equally true to both UFC and boxing.

    Numbers are great, but how about the fact that UFC probably had three or four other programs that month? How about that contract that the UFC just signed with Fox? I’m not sure if boxing would take this opportunity if presented with it, but the bottom line is this: the UFC will now be paid for by advertising on Fox, no longer exclusively by PPV. This means that the UFC has reached a level of popularity that boxing could not acquire.

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