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Boxing versus UFC

By Zach Arnold | April 28, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

Keith Terceira has a great article on titled Boxing losing the battle of evolution to UFC. A must-read article, and I want to hear your feedback about it in the comments section of this post. Money quote from Keith’s article:

Writers have been pointing out boxing’s deficiencies for years only to be blown off by promoters as sensationalism. The difference now is that an alternative is available that excites people and absconds with our fan base. Now the UFC is successfully recruiting our most intelligent executives.

Topics: All Topics, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 5 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

5 Responses to “Boxing versus UFC”

  1. Jeff says:

    Thanks for pointing out that article, good find. I’m sure that many a boxing promoter is starting to feel that MMA is not going to be good for their business.

  2. jalapeño says:

    “Absconds with our [boxing’s] fan base”?!

    My impression is that MMA’s increasing popularity comes from younger males who are probably NOT boxing fans first and may never have been boxing fans even if MMA hadn’t come along. Meanwhile, the demographic for boxing tends to be older. In other words, my impression has always been that MMA’s growing popularity and boxing’s decline are NOT attributable to a simple case of fans switching from one sport to the other. I thought MMA was drawing in a new, different fan base. But, hey, my impression could be completely off-base.

  3. jalapeño says:

    I enjoyed this article and was happy to see a writer at Fox Sports deal with MMA. But one other critique:

    Terceira praises the UFC’s NFL-like business model, which he says promotes the sport more than individual stars. I’m not sure that’s right. I mean, anyone who’s followed MMA knows how star-driven it is, knows that big names sell pay-per-views, knows that TUF is designed to cultivate/create stars, knows that in a one-on-one sport cultivating stars is inherently part of the plan. (Probably even the IFL will need “stars” if it’s to succeed.) What the UFC and PRIDE have been good at is filling cards with many stars or at least many very very good match-ups, rather than the boxing way of topping cards with a big headline event and an uninteresting undercard.

    The other thing is that there is pressure in the MMA fan base for stars to fight each other. And right now the MMA business model — which is company driven — doesn’t always allow for it. If MMA has an NFL-style business model, it’s the NFL from the early 1960s when professional football had to prominent leagues (the NFL and the AFL). We have UFC and PRIDE and the best in each company do not fight each other. That’s not the happiest of business models for the fans.

  4. Roadblock says:

    I’m 28 and work with a bunch of guys from about my age up to 55 or so who are big time boxing fans. I’m always lending them MMA tapes and have gotten them into the sport over the past few years. The general comment I get from guys is that they really like how UFC and Pride put on a whole night of fights 5-9 fights over 3 hours as opposed to boxing where it is often 1 fight on HBO or two on Showtime or 1 fight you want to see and 2-3 jockey fights on PPV.

    Also Boxing is such a mess with all of the different Alphabet organizations and there is no chase for the title or payoff for the fan. Really there is no reason for a casual or new fan to invest his or her time in boxing. I only watch boxing still because I have been hooked on the sport since I was a kid. I’m watching Andre Ward versus Kolle on HBO right now. UFC even though it doesn’t have the best talent as far as MMA fighters goes, the titles mean something. There is a progression to the shows. GSP fights BJ and the winner WILL get a title shot. Sylvia beats Arlovski and they rematch 3 months later. That is what fans want.

    With that said, I am a little worried about the direction UFC is going. Their shows are starting to resemble boxing PPVs. One good main event match, a decent undercard match and a bunch of filler. That and the price is only $10 less than the absurd boxing PPV prices.

    Oh god Andre Ward is killing Kolle. I gotta watch this.

  5. steve says:

    When I was a kid in the early eighties my mom would take me to the grocerey store and I would run to the magazine rack to read Ring magazine (I would also read Pro Wrestling illustrated and as a nine year old I could never quite figure out what womens apartment wrestling was).

    Anyway Twenty five years ago I could rattle off the top 15 heavyweights and tell you who the top boxers were in each division. Now I can’t even tell you who the heavyweight champions are nor did I know who Samuel Peter was before I turned on my TV Friday night. Boxing has just worn me out.

    Meanwhile MMA has evolved into a very exciting sport. The question is will fighters and promoters build on the success they have had in the U.S. in the last few years or will the self destruct as the sport of boxing has done.


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