Boxing vs. MMA: Why we shouldn't have to pick a side

quinton jackson(Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, in photo) 06.08.07 - By Brandon Desmond: In a recent article on written by David Cavalli, a very important point was made. A boxer would never agree to a fight with an MMA fighter with MMA rules. And an MMA fighter would likely feel the same way about a boxing match, so why would anyone argue about who would win?

A completely useless argument indeed. I feel, though, that a more important point needs to be made: Why must fight fans be made to choose a side? Scouring the internet, you will find article after article claiming that either Boxing or MMA is the "better sport." Every last article (at least that I can find) chooses a side and attempts to steer the reader toward that particular sport. I think this is ridiculous.

Before I make my case, I want you to know that I am not a writer. I blog a little on Myspace, but I've never been to any school for any type of writing. (Which will explain my slightly rambling style and bad grammar.) I'm writing this piece because I am frustrated by sports writers who want me to choose boxing over MMA or vice versa. With respect to David Cavalli, I was happy to see his article get published and read, however, he still makes sure to throw a couple of jabs at MMA: "Boxing is still the sport, it's got the history and the respect that comes from being around for generations. Boxing also has the depth and quality of talent in each and every division, something that the MMA organizations don't have because of their not being around as long." This is a good point, but it doesn't allow MMA to defend itself. Guess what, MMA has its own arguments as to why it is "the sport." Like Mr. Cavalli, I am a life-long boxing fan. Although I've really never been interested in K-1 or kickboxing, I was extremely intrigued by the UFC's earliest events on PPV, and have been a fan of the UFC ever since.

Now what do supporters of Boxing say about MMA? What is the reason Boxing is the superior fight sport? They may tell you that MMA events are brutal, and too dangerous to be considered a viable competitor of the sweet science. But these same supporters will undoubtedly leave out the fact that there has only been one death as a result of injuries sustained in an MMA event (Douglas Dedge died two days after being knocked out in an event in Kiev, Ukraine in 1998). Compared to over 1,100 deaths related to boxing, this is an eye opening number. They would probably also leave out the fact that the UFC, MMA's most popular brand in the United States, has changed their rules extensively to make their sport more safe by leaps and bounds. Boxing supporters may also tell you that MMA tends to have fights that are long and boring. Who wants to watch two guys wrestle all tangled up on the matt for five five-minute rounds?

What about MMA supporters? What do they have to say about why boxing can't hold a candle to the UFC or Pride FC? I'm willing to bet that the first thing you hear is something about Boxing's fan base dwindling. "Boxing is on its way down; MMA will be there to take over." I tell you what. Look into the Pay Per View numbers from fights just in 2007, and that will blow this argument clean out of the water. 2.15 million PPV buys for De La Hoya vs. Mayweather, along with more high profile fights being made for the second half of the year (Mayweather vs. Hatton, Cotto vs. Mosley, to name a couple) tell me that Boxing is enjoying fabulous success and is doing just fine. In fact, in some cases it is breaking its own attendance and pay per view records. Another argument you may hear from MMA supporters? Boxing is full of long, boring dance/clinch-fests. Who wants to watch two guys dance and hug each other for twelve rounds?! As I stated before, Boxing purists have a similar argument against MMA. The fact is that both Boxing and MMA have the possibility to bore the B'Jesus out of any hardcore fight fan. But on the same token, both sports have the ability to end quickly, suddenly, and explosively.

Another thing I want to point out is that Professional Baseball and Football have peacefully coexisted for more than 80 years. Have you ever heard a sports writer attempting to get you to choose Baseball over Football? In the case of team sports, it's even harder to coexist because of the nature of their respective schedules. Some teams share stadiums/fields, and yet both sports are enjoying indefinite success. Major boxing matches and MMA events typically only happen on Saturday nights maybe two or three weekends out of the month. Surely they can find a way to keep from stepping on each other's toes. Why can't we put a Boxing ring right next to a UFC Octagon at the Mandalay Bay Event Center? Alternate the fights on the same card! This would be a good step to bring fans of both sports together, and would be a special treat for people like me who can't get enough of either one.

The bottom line is, both fight sports have their pros and cons. Some people are naturally going to stick with boxing, and some people are going to prefer MMA events. All the arguments are there, and they are all valid, but all the arguments can be offset or discredited somehow, so why bother? If I can be a fan of the Seattle Seahawks AND the Seattle Mariners at the same time, then I can definitely find a way to be a fan of both, Boxing AND MMA. Can you be a fan of one without bashing the other? That is why it is a dead argument.

Thanks for your time, tell me what you think in comments, or write me on Myspace:

Article posted on 06.08.2007

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