Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting has just about finished boxing. With MMA groups like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Pride and WEC the level of skill and excitement has risen way above anything boxing can produce.
Boxing was once upon a time, a multi-million dollar business with the best boxers in the world providing excitement ring. People all over the world would sit around there TV watching the fight of the year. Then a decade or so later we had heavy weights like Iron Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield. They were big exciting boxers that pounded each other. They usually provided good action and knockouts. After these boxers retired or faded out we lost boxers with size and moved to boxers with skill like Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather etc. This era of boxing was great but it always ended in a decision. It started to take the fun out of watching boxing and people were getting tired of paying good money for a non entertaining fight and no ending with a KO.
Then in 90s along comes this Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament where eight men are pitted against each other in a caged octagon ring, with a winner at the end of the night winning the tournament. There were only two rules, no eye gouging and no biting. You could do anything else to win. To get the win you either knocked your opponent out or submitted him. There were many different styles of fighting, anywhere from Kung Fu, to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, to Muay Thai and Bar Room Brawling. Thats why its so entertaining because anybody who had fighting experience had a chance. When it first started there were a lot of mismatched though! At the end of the day though, this was great entertainment to audiences. People started paying to watch these fights and with the media putting a negative spin on it, UFC blew up. In 2001 the UFC was sold to new owners and Dana White was named president.
Dana White is responsible for making UFC and other MMA events so popular today. He changed the fighting rules, so it would be less barbaric and also so that there were two fighters competing for the win, instead of a tournament style fight. Also there would be 6-7 fights on a pay-per-view event. So that means on a pay-per-view event you have the chance to see 6-7 people get knocked out or submitted. Unlike boxing where you watch 12 rounds of boxing to get a bad decision.
Dana White decided to increase the popularity of UFC even more by introducing The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show in which the winner gets a contract to fight in the UFC and a shot at stardom. This show has a firm grip on guys in the age range of 18-34. It has been recorded that, in this age range, the shows ratings have surpassed NBA and MLB playoffs. As for the pay-per-view money, in 2006 the UFC made $ 223M, HBO made $ 177M and WWE made $ 200M. Dana Whites definitely doing something right. Fighters are getting more popular than ever as their fan base increases. With popular fighters like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Lyota Machida
So why is UFC more popular than Boxing? Its simple. The UFC offer fast paced action which usually ends in a submission or Knockout. Instead of watching 12 long rounds of Boxing just to end in a decision. One of the great things in MMA is you just never know whos going to win. All it takes is someone to get a lucky shot in and his opponent drops like a sack of potatoes. Boxing hasnt produced that in a long time. Thats not to say UFC doesnt have its faults.
At the end of the day, UFC is offering viewers what they want. I think boxing will be around for a few more years but MMA will beat boxing out of business sooner rather than later.
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