Why Argue About Boxing and MMA, Enjoy them Both
For years, supporters of Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) have been "fighting" over which sport is the best. Even though both sports have their own unique traits, supporters from each side continue to argue why their sport is popular and more exciting than the other. Each side has a valid case in the debate but both parties should understand that the sports are special in their own way and each one has a large following.
So why argue about boxing and MMA when you can enjoy them both!
Boxing's Storied Past, MMA "the New Kid on the Block"
Both sports are different in the way the two combatants attack one another. In boxing, the two fighters use only their fists to fight one another while in MMA , fighters use a combination of boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, kung fu, and other martial arts to subdue the opponent. Both sports have loads of action and excitement for any fan to appreciate. It is not uncommon for an MMA fan to appreciate the qualities of boxing and for a fight fan to enjoy a mixed martial arts fight.
Boxing has a storied past dating from the "turn of the century" while MMA is considered a "new sport" that began in the late 1980s in Japan and entered the U.S. in the 1990s. While boxing has many federations (WBA, WBC, IBF, NABF, etc., ) that govern the sport, MMA is run by one organization Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Boxing has been a part of the sporting consciousness for some time, producing great champions like Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De la Hoya, Mike Tyson, and Manny Pacquaio, just to name a few. MMA has produced its share of stars from Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and Randy Couture to Georges St. Pierre, Brock Lesnar, B.J. Penn, and many others.
So why the fan animosity towards one another? It can only be explained by one thing---jealousy. Boxing fans are jealous of MMA because the new sport is gaining popularity in the American sports world. MMA fans are jealous of boxing because of its mainstream popularity, their celebrated boxing stars, and the obscene money they make.
These Two Sports Can Co-Exist, So What's the Problem?
The top boxers like Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather receive earnings starting from $10 million and up. In the recent Pacquaio-Marquez fight, the Filipino fighter earned $22 million while Marquez cashed in with $5 million. Lower-tier boxers earn substantially less which can be anywhere from 5-figures and below to six-figures and up based on their rank and if they win a title.
The top MMA fighters normally earn six-figures. MMA super-heavyweight Brock Lesnar earned $400,000 in his bout against Shane Carwin who earned $40,000 in UFC 116. Other fighters such as Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida made a reported $75,000 in their recent fight in UFC 140. In MMA, a fighter gets top earnings based on pay-per-view appeal and bonus money for a knockout or submission.
In the recent Forbes article "Top 50 Highest Earning Athletes in the World," Pacquaio was #24 earning $24 million for the year while Lesnar earned over $5 million in that span, making the top 100.
There's plenty of money to be made and usually championship fights from both sports are rarely shown going head-to-head against one another.
So what's the problem?
Different Styles but Same Objective--Knockout Opponent
Boxing and MMA may have different styles of fighting but they have the same objective--to knockout their opponent. However, most fans of each sport can agree that there are certain aspects of their sport that they dislike.
Boxing fans can agree that the sport is not interesting when two fighters are constantly holding one another or when a boxer "runs" around jabbing and moving instead of going toe-to-toe. MMA fans hate it when "the guard" is used during ground-fighting or when two fighters are stuck along the octagon fence for a long period of time.
Boxing fans and MMA fans agree that these defensive tactics tend to stifle the action, making the fight uninteresting.
Sure, each sport has had its share of stale fights and a wealth of exciting fights. The objective of each fighter is the same and the air of uncertainty of "who will win" is always there.
That's why both sports are exciting to watch.
The Future of Boxing and MMA
Most sports experts would agree that the two sports are headed in opposite directions. Boxing's popularity has taken a hit recently because of its inability to cultivate new stars like Pacquaio or Mayweather and its failure to produce any meaningful championship fights. Golden Boy Promotions is one organization that is trying to revive boxing by featuring scintillating championship fights but it must navigate through an array of organizations that govern the sport. Surely, a mega-fight featuring Pacquaio versus Mayweather would revive the sport for the next few years in anticipation of a possible trilogy.
MMA on the other hand has only one organization to answer to which is UFC. The sport is financially healthy and much more stable than boxing. MMA is blessed with a stable of star fighters which has produced some entertaining fights over the years. Some MMA supporters gripe about a fighters' low earnings when compared to boxing but most understand that the organization keeps it this way to control costs and to grow the sport exponentially.
Each sport is not perfect but most agree that MMA may have a brighter future when compared to boxing. Unless boxing can figure out a way to become united, produce good fights and new stars, the sport may be headed to oblivion.
Nonetheless, most fans agree that whether its boxing or MMA one doesn't lack excitement over the other. They are two different sports and who says you can't enjoy them both?