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Friday fight headlines: More MMA talk in boxing articles

By Zach Arnold | May 3, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

Here is the CompuBox Analysis of De La Hoya vs. Mayweather for this Saturday night.

Pro Elite Inc. stock – four times the price as the IFL stock and 200 times the price as the Art of War stock. How will the Pro Elite stock hold up to future scrutiny?

Results from our latest site poll question: In a UFC Heavyweight title fight, who wins?

  1. Challenger: Gabriel Gonzaga – 53%
  2. Champion: Randy Couture – 47%

Hmm… I guess if I were an oddsmaker, Gonzaga would be -160 and Couture would be +140.

We have a new poll question on the right side of the main page. I want you to vote honestly on it.

An age-old question: Do people care about ethics in the fight business?

Luke at Mad Squabbles talks about the prospect of ‘getting rid of boxing’ for good. One passage I want to focus on from his article is this:

For my tastes, I’m of the latter group. I’m as excited about the Mayweather – De La Hoya fight as anyone. Most of my beef with boxing centers very little on the sport itself and more on the unethical and incompetent handling of the business. And those problems are well-documented, so I need not explore them anymore here.

It’s interesting to see both the parallels and differences between boxing and MMA fans in regards to the issue of scandals and corruption. Boxing has a checkered past with negative stories on that front. MMA has skeletons in its closet, too, but the reaction from MMA fans towards those scandals often comes out of the pro-wrestling fan playbook – ignore the scandal, dismiss or slime the person writing about it, and try to minimalize a scandal as not important.

The Japanese fight game has had two – count them – two major scandals this decade (the K-1 corporate tax evasion scandal and the PRIDE yakuza scandal) and neither scandal has registered much of a significant blip on the top English MMA web sites. Kazuyoshi Ishii, the Godfather of K-1, is sitting in a jail cell right now. Nobuyuki Sakakibara, the front man for PRIDE, is in Las Vegas right now as Dream Stage Entertainment Inc. is preparing a defense against a lawsuit filed by former PRIDE USA President Ed Fishman. I’m sure Sakakibara and others associated with DSE and UFC are just thrilled about the prospects of deposition hearings.

The Japanese MMA scene on a national level is crippled — and it was MMA in Japan that helped cripple Japanese pro-wrestling as a national powerhouse industry in that country. All within the timespan of two decades.

I just want everyone to keep this in perspective as you see more and more MMA scandals develop and how supporters of the industry try to rationalize these events when they take place. MMA media writers and fans share a lot more in common with pro-wrestling fans than they suspect or want to admit to — for better or for worse.

Onto today’s headlines.

  1. The Times Online (UK): De La Hoya still the people’s choice
  2. LAist: Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! (talking about De La Hoya-Mayweather)
  3. Lay and Pray: More UFC bashing by sports journalists
  4. The Prescott Daily Courier: Boxing resorts to low blows attacking UFC
  5. The Houston Chronicle: At least – a high-profile fight, is Mayweather-De La Hoya the bout that can save boxing?
  6. USA Today: ‘Golden Boy’ won’t catch ‘Pretty Boy’ on Saturday
  7. Yahoo Sports: Change of plans (article on Randy Couture)
  8. Yahoo Sports: Larry Merchant to stay with HBO?
  9. The Los Angeles Times: Boxing vs. MMA? Everyone can win
  10. The Savannah Morning News (Georgia): Corbbrey prepared to put on a show
  11. New York Newsday: Will PPV sales for De La Hoya vs. Mayweather match hype?
  12. Yahoo Sports: Selling the Super Bowl? (De La Hoya-Mayweather)
  13. The Los Angeles Times: Down for the count – boxing is fighting the perception that its declining popularity signals its imminent demise
  14. The Chico Enterprise Record: From Left Field (boxing vs. MMA)
  15. The Post Star: Wrestling clinic to feature UFC champ Matt Hughes
  16. The Oregonian: Sportfight comes of age as a Portland attraction
  17. Yahoo Sports: Meet Jason “Mayhem” Miller
  18. The Idaho Mountain Express: Lee Anderson to defend ultimate fighting world title at Qwest Arena
  19. The Newcastle Journal (UK): De La Hoya-Mayweather Fight will be ‘saviour of boxing’
  20. The Portland Press Herald (Maine): And suddenly, boxing has a hollow ring
  21. The Orlando Sentinel: Bout will be pretty golden for these boys
  22. The New York Daily News (Bob Raissman): Larry battling Max factor (about Merchant & Kellerman on HBO)
  23. The Los Angeles Daily News: Howard Lederman leads with his shrill
  24. The Fightworks Podcast: Jeff Monson and Marcio Feitosa among more last minute ADCC changes
  25. Sporting Life (UK): Era-defining fight to light up Vegas
  26. UFC Mania: Godzilla Gabe responds

Topics: Boxing, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Yakuza, Zach Arnold | 10 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

10 Responses to “Friday fight headlines: More MMA talk in boxing articles”

  1. Body_Shots says:

    If Pro Elite was a publicly reporting company their stock would be in the same boat as the IFL’s. They aren’t making any money yet either.

  2. D. Capitated says:

    The problem comparing the issues with boxing and MMA is that MMA’s issues have been essentially relegated to a single country that no one really follows (Japan), and that they haven’t really affected the fashion in which the fights themselves are carried out. There haven’t been legions of awful decisions for major bouts that would burn crowds and turn them away, unlike what has happened in boxing.

    The claim that MMA is “crippled” in Japan is a massive overstatement. You’d think by saying such that K-1 is doing 5.0s and not 17.0s for their TV shows. Tax evasion didn’t kill K-1: In fact, HERO’s came after that and has been wildly successful. That their ratings haven’t been as astronomical in recent months have more to do with Kid Yamamoto’s Olympic dreams and greased up judoka than yakuza involvement.

  3. Grape Knee High says:

    The stock price itself does not matter when comparing the value of two companies; it’s just an arbitrary number. You want to look at total market capitalization, which is share price multiplied by the total number of outstanding shares.

    In this case, the market caps look like $514 million for Pro Elite versus $150 million for IFL, so the market is saying Pro Elite is worth about 3.5x more than the IFL.

  4. Grape Knee High says:

    Actually, if you really wanted to be really precise, you ideally want to look at the Enterprise Value of a company over Market Cap, because that tells you exactly how much net capital you would need to pony up to buy the company (since this number includes adds debt and subtracts cash from Market Cap).

  5. Grape Knee High says:

    Oh, and with regard to your scandal comment, you seem to have trouble separating a “media scandal” from a genuine “business scandal” that has the potential to affect the bottom line.

    Steroids are a media scandal; people still watch cycling, the Olympics, baseball, football, hockey, etc no matter how many performance enhancing substance scandals there are and no matter how much sports writers opine about how terrible it is.

    Also, you seem to be oblivious to the fact that US sports fans are much more tolerant of social scandals than Japanese sports fans. Witness the fact that Ray Lewis was tried for murder and is still very popular. Michael Irvin: the pot, the hookers, the cocaine. Still an NFL commentator on FOX. More arrests this past year of NFL players than ever, yet the NFL is more popular than ever. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    As MMA becomes more and more US-centric, what Japanese society feels is an issue (Yakuza) is less and less relevant to the UFC. I don’t know why other people might be minimizing these little mini-scandals you’ve been bringing up over the past few weeks, but in my opinion, they simply do not matter because it will not affect Zuffa’s bottom line (ie, PPV buys).

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    HERO’s is a secondary, if not tertiary product right now for K-1. I would not be shocked to see K-1 give up on it or spin it off to someone else.

    The core product for K-1 is kickboxing and will continue to remain so. That’s their bread and butter. K-1 will never be a pure MMA play in Japan.

    Pure MMA plays in Japan – you’re talking Pancrase, Cage Force, etc. Groups that can draw 2,000-6,000. The days of consistent shows over 10,000 for MMA in Japan right now are finished without a major TV network backing a promotion.

  7. Liger05 says:

    Out of all the MMA/Puroresu orgs in Japan, who gets the biggest gates on a consistant basis then. Is it Noah with there monthly Budokan shows?

  8. Euthyphro says:

    Seems to me like Pro Elite can justify a higher share price than the IFL. Solid TV deal, great allegiances within the industry, fan goodwill from their webcasts, name fighters on their cards. They’re better positioned than the IFL in almost every way — the exception being the network TV slot, although the IFL has grossly misused that “advantage” thus far.

  9. D. Capitated says:

    HERO’s is a secondary, if not tertiary product right now for K-1. I would not be shocked to see K-1 give up on it or spin it off to someone else.

    Of course K-1 still highly promotes their kickboxing product, but that they’d give up on HERO’s? What is this based on? They’re still drawing strong numbers and strong crowds for it. That its often features freakshow bouts should be thrown out the window, given that PRIDE had more than a few of their own.

    Pure MMA plays in Japan – you’re talking Pancrase, Cage Force, etc. Groups that can draw 2,000-6,000. The days of consistent shows over 10,000 for MMA in Japan right now are finished without a major TV network backing a promotion.

    So HERO’s doesn’t count because its not “pure MMA”, whatever that’s supposed to be, so MMA in Japan is dead? Of course, this depends on your belief that Zuffa will never actually operate PRIDE, and that’s nothing more than rampant speculation on your part, or that no one would jump to fill the void.

  10. Mike says:

    Zach, no offense, but I didn’t vote in that poll because I don’t see things as being that black and white. I mean, yeah, if it turned out that a leading promoter was a child molester or something, I’d probably stop paying money to watch that promotion. But I think everyone goes in understanding the fight game is a rough and tumble sort of business.

  11. […] guess Mr. Whitley should meet Kazuyoshi Ishii right now. MMA does have many advantages over boxing, not the least of which is it’s run by savvy […]


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