Martial Arts versus the NFL and NBA
For centuries martial arts competitions have attracted millions of fans, not in the US but in many Eastern countries such as Japan, China, and Thailand. These countries top fighters are widely renowned, and hundreds of thousands of children carry action figures of their favorite fighters. Although, many American children can tell you how many points Kobe Bryant scored in the last game or how many touchdown passes Payton Manning threw, they could tell you nothing about Rickson Gracie, Dan Severn, and Marco Ruas. Yet adversely, to children of Japan these men are their heroes, for they are fighting legends, competing in the PRIDE Fighting Championship, which is the premier event of mixed martial arts (MMA) in Asia.
MMA is an extreme sport that incorporates elements of judo, karate, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, wrestling, and other forms of martial arts into a no-holds-barred style of fighting. THe concept being that no one style is dominant, it takes a combination of these arts to reign as a top fighter.
But since the inception of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by its founder Dana White, MMA has grown very popular in the US. For years its popularity has continued to multiply and many of its major events have had ratings that could rival NBA and NFL championship matches. No longer are the fighters unknown, most people, even those who aren't fans of MMA or UFC, have heard of Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, and Chuck Liddell. Move over Bryant and Manning, there are some new idols for America, and it looks like they're not leaving anytime soon.
-- The Curmudgeon