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Street Fights: The new way to promote MMA?

By Adam Morgan | June 5, 2007

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By Adam Morgan

Related post — Bloody Elbow.

In this video please notice the advertisements for Cage Fury Fighting Championship (CFFC) before and after the Kimbo Slice street fight. This really strikes a nerve with me. I understand that CFFC has to promote their fighters and I understand that Kimbo is best known for being a street fighter. But does CFFC need to promote their MMA card by attaching their advertisements to Kimbo’s latest street fight?

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The stereotype of MMA fighters being just “street fighters” is something that the sport has been desperately trying to get away from. CFFC is simply promoting this stereotype. Not only are they promoting this angle, they are exploiting it. The angle that the CFFC should be taking is that Kimbo is a street fighter who is now trying to legitimize himself as a true fighter. Instead, they have simply left it as Kimbo being just a street fighter, nothing more, nothing less.

Personally, I have no problem with Kimbo, his street fights, or the way he conducts himself. I do, however, have a problem with a mixed martial arts promotion advertising itself before and after a legitimate street fight. I guess it goes back to what you care about most. Selling tickets and pay per view or legitimizing mixed martial arts as a sport? There can be common ground between the two, it just seems that CFFC has decided to completely ignore the latter and just try to put butts in the seats. At $250 a pop for prime seating I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less.

But then I got to thinking: Isn’t this the same thing the UFC is doing with TUF 5 contestants Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas? UFC cares about the sport, right? I mean, how many times has Dana said that he doesn’t care about the money, just the sport? Or does he?

The backyard brawl between Noah and Marlon was hyped up in the week leading up to the episode. At the time, Dana was correct in what he said when he was at the house. It’s a disgrace to the sport for fighters to act like that, especially on national television.

So how do you punish these two knuckleheads? Never give them a chance to compete in the Octagon until they prove they can act right.

What does the UFC actually do? Give them a fight against each other on a nationally televised live event. Promote the real fight with a street fight on national television. Sounds bush league, right? Sounds like a page out of CFFC’s book.

Shame on you, CFFC. And especially shame on you, UFC.

Topics: Adam Morgan, Media, MMA, UFC | 25 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

25 Responses to “Street Fights: The new way to promote MMA?”

  1. The Gaijin says:

    GOD!!! Why do people give the completely biased and hypocritical writers out there something to actually be right about. For every one moron that tapes street fights and acts like their some MMA icon, theres 1000 guys/girls who’ve legitimately trained their butts off and made some major sacrifices to become top athletes or making their way up the ranks. But of course who do you think the news will choose to write about?

    And now there’s a friggin’ MMA promotion hyping an event based on “street fighting”?!?!? They need to be dragged out back of the shed and shot.

  2. Adam Morgan says:


    Agreed. This is ridiculous. A real black eye for MMA.

  3. The Gaijin says:

    Is there no way to control this? The sanctioning bodies should revoke people’s licences immediately for crap like that! It might be the one way to put a stop to things like that…but then again I’d hate to start encouraging commissions to take away MMA promotion’s licences.

  4. klown says:

    I love for 2 reasons: legal/business analysis of the industry, and ethical critique. (Well, that’s BS, i also like the Japan media summaries, the diversity of stories linked … but I digress.) I don’t know if the FO crew see themsleves that way, but from my perspective FO rivals Eddie Goldman for the role of ‘conscience of fight sports” except, more relevant and indepedent, less biased, and funnier. To put it in EG’s terms, I count FO as a force against “antisocial behavior” in the sphere of MMA, and I appreciate that.

  5. white ninja says:

    like in DSE and its alleged yakuza relationships ultimately destroying them when the Japanese mass market had to deal with it – you can expect a similar challenge to await Zuffa as mma becomes more mainstream

    you cant control mass media writers – they will continue to attack the sport and these attacks will only get worse for good and bad reasons (some people just dont like the violence; others have a commercial agenda)

    the points is that it will be Dana White and UFC and their actions which will make or break mma in the US. lets hope theyre smarter than their counterparts at DSE were. Personally, i wouldnt bet the house on it

  6. Gramercy Riffs says:

    Does it make the sport look like a viable mainstream sport? No, but I have never heard of the CFFC until now, so i guessed it worked for them.

  7. SamScaff says:

    This fight presents the opportunity to go one of two ways…

    Promote it through the streetfighting anlge (via Kimbo), or promote it through the legitimacy of world class boxing, ie HW champ/ Gold medalist (via Mercer). We see which way they went. But can you really blame them?

    If you dont blame the promoter for making this fight (or Kimbo fighting legit MMA), then you cant really fault the promotion for doing the best job of promoting they can.

    The fact is, some significant portion of new MMA fans do watch MMA for the same reason they’d watch a fight on the street. People want the sport to go mainstream, but then criticize the masses (and the promoters who cater to them) when they discover that they are uneducated street-fight-craving morons. You cant have it both ways. (Which is not to say that I’m not a victim of the same paradox)

    All I know is, it seems as if the days of the pure athletic competition/sport-based promotions (ie Pride) are over. The dark days of bullshit beefs, grudge matches, shit-talking, and street-fighting are upon us. It is a sad day.

  8. Adam Morgan says:

    Klown, thank you, sir. I am new to the writing staff but not new to the site, so I try to make it relevant.

    On a side note, do you think Kimbo will give Ray Mercer the gold fist necklace if he wins? It’s only fair.

  9. Asa says:

    All I know is, it seems as if the days of the pure athletic competition/sport-based promotions (ie Pride) are over. The dark days of bullshit beefs, grudge matches, shit-talking, and street-fighting are upon us.

    Wandy v. Rampage = Beef, Grudge, shit-talking
    Not to mention Butterbean, Giant Silva, and every other freak show match they ever booked.

    I’m not insulting PRIDE, which I was a fan of before I got into modern UFC. I’m just thinking we need to stay as grounded in reality as possible before the legacy of PRIDE turns into a melodramatic cult.

    I also don’t mean to insult you, I’m just trying to stop it before it gets to that level.

  10. grafdog says:

    Boy do i miss pride.

    samscaff makes some valid points…

    The cage attracts streetish (sic) crowds by its use of the cage. There’s no reason for the cage other than asthetics (or lack of). The cage gives all the fights in it a street look by virtue of its fence which of course belongs in the street not in a sporting event, baseball notwithstanding.
    UFC will never give it up because it appeals to adreneline addicted knuckle draggers (sorry, but i hear the same stupid remarks from them at all the cage fights i’ve been to).

    Strangely i’ve not heard as much of this typically boorish peanut gallery commentary in the ifl shows.
    Furthermore the 2 pride shows had very little heckling either. Although pride 33 was the most “heckle proof” show i’ve seen in years.

    I’d say adding ads for the kimbo mercer fight with the kimbo street brawl is typical of this style of promotion.

  11. Ivan Trembow says:

    If Cage Fury Fighting Championship is knowingly advertising on street fighting videos, they should be ashamed of themselves. If they’re not, they should still be somewhat ashamed of themselves for booking a show with Kimbo Slice in the main event with an MMA record of 0-0. The UFC is also not blameless on the topic of street fighting because they flat-out rewarded Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas for having gotten into a street fight on TUF 5.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    That, and booking Sean Gannon (who got slaughtered against Brandon Lee Hinkle).

  13. 1000 Cent says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like Pro Wrestling booking and promoting, especially when the promotion is using real footage to add to the myths of how much of a “monster” Kimbo Slice is.

    I mean, if this beast does this on the streets, what is he going to do in the “cage”! [/sarcasm].

    Although, this freak show has me more interested in watching it than Baroni vs. Shamrock, who from what I read had it’s own ridiculous stories going into that fight.

  14. Sam Caplan says:

    Bravo Adam!

    I don’t think it would be possible for me to agree with you more.

  15. steve says:

    I understand this thread is about street-fight promos but regarding the UFC’s decision to put noah and marlon in the final I’d have to say we’re missing the first problem. Why did UFC choose to even show us their drunken fight in its entirety? If Dana and the UFC are truly against this sort of thing then they touch on it with 3-5 seconds of them wrestling on the grass, cut to Dana’s speech and lastly of him removing the three guys. For me this would have really driven the message home and strengthened UFC/Dana’s integrity.

  16. MMA Game says:

    Everyone within MMA gets so precious about it but at the end of the day it’s just fighting… and how the hell else did you expect a Kimbo fight to be marketed? The only people that will see this “ad” are people searching youtube for Kimbo’s street fights anyway, so as far as I am concered it doesn’t harm anyone’s credibility other than CFFC and I’m sure they don’t care.

    At the end of the day lots of MMA fans are knucklheads and the higher class of MMA fans, who’ve trained or whatever, should just accept that and also accept that some marketing is bound to be targeted towards them. Anyway, Kimbo is Kimbo… he’s just a personality… it’s not like he’s going out beating up random people so I don’t really care if they use this to promote stuff. I think Lee Murray and more specifically the ass kissing he gets off the average MMA fan douchebag does MMA far more of a disservice than this. It’s not like anyone’s saying Kimbo is going to be a force – this is just a spectacle, just like his backyard brawls.

  17. Sam Scaff says:

    “Wandy v. Rampage = Beef, Grudge, shit-talking
    Not to mention Butterbean, Giant Silva, and every other freak show match they ever booked.

    I’m not insulting PRIDE, which I was a fan of before I got into modern UFC. I’m just thinking we need to stay as grounded in reality as possible before the legacy of PRIDE turns into a melodramatic cult.”

    Grounded as possible?? What are you talking about?? I said bullshit beefs/grudge matches. Wand vs. Rampage was not bullshit, it was the top 2 fighters in the weight class. I was referring to useless fights like Tito vs Shamrock or the announcer starting the fight with “And the friendship is over….” (a la Chuck vs. Tito). Pride never did shit like that. Before every single UFC fight, they have a montage of the fighters shit talking. Plus what is the problem with butterbean and Giant Silva? Their existence in Pride does not refute anything I said. Sure, they are funny looking, but both are actual athletes and they competed with no frills attached (other then the fact that they happen to be funny looking). Pride had the top athletes fighting without fake shit talking…which the UFC is notorious for encouraging, and no fake bad-blood hype and “i’ll kick his ass” propaganda. Sure, they had giants and guys you think are “freakshows”, but that didnt make it less then pure sport entertainment.

    Pride went with much more of the pure, world-class sport angle then the UFC or any other promotion ever has. Thats a fact. You completely missed the point of my post.

  18. Sam, Pride was run by a company that also ran a pro wrestling org, and it shows. Yes, there were many great matchups and moments in Pride’s history but also a lot of retarded and cringe-worthy occurances in and out of the ring. The way the UFC markets it’s product may be hackneyed and they’re willing to do some dumb things if there’s a market for it, but it’ll never hit the absurd level of the shit they pulled in japan.

  19. Sam Scaff says:

    Youve got to be kidding me fightlinker. Absurd level of shit??

    I am well aware of Pride’s connection to pro-wrestling, but as an organization they had much, much higher level of atheletes and respect for the fighters and the fights themselves, without the need for over-promotion and fake storylines. Pride had world class atheletes from every corner of the globe and the sporting world. Multiple gold and silver medalists in judo and wrestling, world class champion kickboxers. They had actual internationl talent, which the UFC has not had in significant amounts since very very recently.

    The bottom line is, I really cant blame these writers for shitting on the UFC, because they present MMA as a striking-only, brawling “dirty boxing,” american-centric slugfest, rather than the world class sport it is. The announcers are vastly under-qualified and the president of the whole organization cant utter a single sentence without at least two uses of the word FUCK. The UFC promotes in the terms of the old UFC, no matter how far they think theyve come. They cater to a low-brow, beer guzzling, relatively uneducated (mma-and otherwise) crowd. Pride just promoted their fights as pure sport and fun fights (otherwise known as freakshows). UFC is about who has the most tattoos and can be the biggest asshole. They play up the streetfighting thing as much as any other promotion, with Sean Gannon and the TUF incident. Plus dana white acting like a wannabe toughguy thug. Its pathetic.

    I dont know what “shit” Pride pulled in japan other than promoting some “freakshow” matches that really didnt hurt anyone or the sport. People feel the need to focus on those few freakshow fights while they ignore the several absolutely stacked grand prixs and fight cards that featured truly top level world class atheletes with no cage or toughguy gimmicks.

    UFC has always catered to the low brow streetfight watching crowd and continues to do so. Thats what I call an absurd level of shit.

  20. Kev says:

    “I really cant blame these writers for shitting on the UFC, because they present MMA as a striking-only, brawling “dirty boxing,” american-centric slugfest,”

    Hmm, ok. Well, how do you explain:
    – Their color commentator is a complete BJJ mark who has way too much enthusiasm for zombies and whizzers.
    – The UFC has champs like Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Sean Sherk and Matt Hughes utilizing wrestling as their primary skill.
    – Doesn’t On the Mat with Marc Laimon, doesn’t that count for something?

    “UFC is about who has the most tattoos and can be the biggest asshole. They play up the streetfighting thing as much as any other promotion”

    UFC 69 featured a Leonard Garcia and Roger Huerta post-fight lovefest while Ortiz and Evans was glancing at each other sideways. Granted the cameras weren’t aware of the confrontation, but to their credit the UFC never tried to get cameras on Ortiz or Evans afterwards.

    Back to PRIDE, look at and can you tell me was there a need to air this with the dramatic drum hits?

    A fairer man could say the UFC and PRIDE are not so different in the end.

  21. grafdog says:

    I really miss Pride.
    They achieved all their lofty goals except for, and possibly at the expense of, their continued survival.
    The Pride tourneys were the apex of the sport with no equal.

    I haven’t watched ufc since the late 40’s, except for maybe a dozen select fights on utube. I really don’t miss watching UFC; which will have to get rid of at least three of the following… cage, Rogain, Dana, Goldy to be watchable again IMO.

    UFC could care less about decorated athletes, they fired the only medalist they had in Lindland. Pure quantity over quality.

    I will be watching Ruas vs Smith next monday on IFL.

    And I’ll utube kimbo mercer because it has a certain level of intrigue.

    Say what you will about their ages, these four decorated fighters have the key ingredient “character” which is missing from the ufc.

  22. klown says:

    People, both UFC and Pride have/had their fair share of problems.

    One way in which Pride is more “antisocial” than UFC is with referee stoppages. Watching Pride, I sometimes shivered and yelled at my screen for the ref to STOP THE FIGHT. I take no pleasure in watching a bloody, defenseless, motionless man-doll being repeatedly slammed in the face.

  23. grafdog says:

    You’re right about that klown,
    I remember Frye vs Thompson, once mega punk had the “stach cornered i flashed to Frye Le Banner, and said aloud “its over, stop the fight” and sure enough 2 minutes later they stopped it. It’s that ref Yamaguchi(as i recall) who’s always letting people get their heads caved in. All the other ref’s seemed to do a great job IMO.

  24. […] days ago I ripped Dana White for allowing Noah Thomas and Marlon Sims to not only compete in the UFC but allowing them to fight […]


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