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Media quote of the day

By Zach Arnold | August 30, 2006

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From boxing promoter Bob Arum:

The reason Arum feels the UFC has not hurt boxing is simply, the audience makeup is different. He feels that the UFC audience is made up of mostly white males, while boxing caters to Hispanics, African-Americans and “a few whites.”

“We have a totally different audience. The demographic of UFC are young white males. To cater to that audience, you basically only see white men who fight. Our audience for boxing is Hispanic, African-American and maybe a few whites.”

The last two UFC events (UFC Fight Night and UFC 62) featured Diego Sanchez and Renato Babalu in the main events. The two shows also featured Jorge Santiago, Nick Diaz, and Hermes Franca.

Topics: All Topics, Boxing, Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “Media quote of the day”

  1. Chuck says:

    I guess Arum hasn’t seen very much PRIDE or Pancrase. Because the business is still pretty much dominated by the Japanese. That is less so today, but still.

    And last time I checked, Gracies and Machados are Latinos too, even though they are Brazilian. Correct me if I am wrong though,

  2. soulrise says:

    I don’t agree with Arum’s assessment at all. Just which fans exactly are Arturo Gatti’s fights catered towards? Vitali Klitchko’s? On the flipside its indisputable that boxing has more Latino and African American fighters. But that doesn’t mean that boxing caters more to their audiences, the sport has simply been around longer. Before Jack Johnson and Joe Louis there were hardly any fighters of color. In the short time that MMA has been in existence the diversity of its fighters far exceeds those that boxing had in boxing’s early days.

    One side note though, just because a fighter is from Brazil or any other country from South America does not mean that the fighter isn’t white. Brazil, which was colonized by Portugal, has many families of Portugese descent. Same with Mexico being colonized by Spain, etc etc. My point is you wouldn’t call a white fighter from America a descendent of an Indian tribe. Similarly calling Babalu or any of the Gracies non-white isn’t really accurate.

  3. Chuck says:

    I never called them non-white. I know most Mexicans are a mixture of Spanish (which is still white/caucasian) and Aztec Indian. I am just going by the vague term ‘Latino’. More or less the cultural term, not the “racial” meaning. Because Latinos are usually referred to Spanish speaking peoples, not so much Portuguese speaking people.

    And the name Gracie is actually Scottish. The first Gracie to enter Brazil (this would be Royce’s great-grandfather, I think) was from Scottland.

    Hell, another Brazilian that isn’t ‘Latino’ or even white is Antonio Inoki, who is Japanese. Then again, he was BORN in Japan. I can name probably a billion more examples, but I will stop there.

  4. On this Arum is more or less correct. In the 21st Century, MMA in America, at least Zuffa/UFC, has a much lower percentage of Black and Latino athletes than boxing. It is not the Jim Crow era when Jack Johnson and Joe Louis fought. By its music and overall presentation, Zuffa is largely targeting young males who look like them. Arum’s comments, though too sweeping, were about UFC, not Pride or Pancrase.

    UFC 62 had Liddell-Sobral and Griffin-Bonnar as main events. Few boxing ppv’s have three of four fighters white.

    Also, U.S. culture has little understanding of the difference between “race” and nationality. Latin American culture views these differently. All these are social definitions which change over time, political climate, etc. That is why white Brazilians are not usually accepted as whites by race-conscious Americans.

    This is all another of UFC’s dirty little secrets.

    Also, Arum is among the most race-conscious promoters out there. He mainly promotes Latino fighters, and is now funneling some of his top but not star white fighters to the OLN shows.

  5. Mister Saint Laurent says:

    While Arum is correct in pointing out why UFC is not CURRENTLY hurting boxing, I’d imagine any boxing promoter must be uneasy about UFC’s seemingly unstoppable growth.

  6. LOOSE CANNON says:

    hmmmm…maybe that’s why the current 4 heavyweight champions are Russian

    doesn’t get any whter than that….

    if you’re FROM Brazil, you’re probably not considered white. But if your parents are from there and you were raised in “white culture” (suburbs, primarily a high economic standing/schooling), then you’re considered white.

    Race is a touchy subject. But yes, based on speaking to my fellow coworkers, only one black male was really in-touch with UFC. The rest of the minorities (my job is split half and half, white and black/latino) aren’t really educated up on it like they are with boxing, but by the day I’m slowly converting people of all races toward MMA. For instance, two of my black friends at the gym have been asking me about training MMA…and they are really exciting with the uprise of the sport. One even reffered UFC 62 as to “having people over for the FIGHT.”

    MMA is here. For everybody.

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