Expect Change in MMA Soon!

By Coach Tim Walker Ė I few weeks ago I called into a local radio talk show to voice my opinion about the state of MMA and boxing and the intensifying comparison between them. I like MMA. It is exciting. However, I love boxing. So it is obvious that my opinion could be skewed if I were not a level headed writer. When I write an article I make every effort to present the issue with an unbiased viewpoint. No exception here..

I the realm of man vs. man contact sports boxing still reigns supreme. Make no mistake though, MMA is rising and rising fast. Just look in the phone book at local gyms and the evidence is there in black and white. Having said that, and being armed with my love for boxing and my like of MMA I don't think it is necessary to compare them.

Simply said, if you pit a boxer and a MMA fighter against each other with all their tools at their disposal then the MMA fighter has a clear advantage and would probably would win most of the time. This article is about the evolving state of MMA.

One of the radio stationís points was that MMA pits good fighters against good fighters on regular basis while boxing systematically offers up bad fights. You canít argue against that. Tune to Spike TV and youíll see guys bashing each other on a regular basis. The MMA fighters train really hard and put their bodies and even their very lives on the line as do boxers.

But like every business, and if you are old enough to remember 30 or 40 years ago, boxers would fight anybody without a lot of consideration as to the money. But then boxers got smarter about the business of boxing. They didnít get smarter because they wanted to they had to get smarter. Boxers were retiring with out so much as two pennies to rub against each other. After decades of this boxers began to demand significant paydays for bigger fights.

Being a witness to the evolution of boxing and observer of the MMA culture I have deduced that there is one major factor that will reshape the sport. MMA fighters! How?

Money. It was less than 3 months ago that Randy Couture, one of the UFCís biggest names, expressed his dissatisfaction with the paydays that he was getting in comparison to other fighters in the UFC. Couture is financially secure but his financial status is the exception not the rule. After talking with a few active fighters that train in Palm Beach County I have learned that their paydays at least in the beginning of their careers are very scarce yet they enduring gym fees, equipment cost and more. At most their paydays are a couple of thousand dollars here and there. The fighters that I spoke with tell me that they are looking for easier fights so that they donít get too busted up before they make it to the big time.

Retirement is an issue that is presenting itself now as we slowly move into some of the fighters retiring. What do I have to show for 5, 10 or 15 years of fighting in MMA? Busted hands, constant headaches and various other physical problems. You work a job for 20 years and typically expect some level of retirement. MMA isnít offering that to most fighters. Itís freelance work.

Elbows. The physical combat of MMA is stimulating but how many solid elbows can one man stand. How much shorter is a career because of 20 or 30 elbows a fight? One fighter I spoke with stated the following, ďI went in for a chute, he countered my chute and mounted me. He landed about 10 flush elbows and they stopped the fight. I was busted up pretty good. Iíve had headaches ever since and a slight ringing in my ear.Ē

MMA is a growing sport but it is also a young sport and it will encounter functional changes. But it wonít be the promoters, the managers, the owners or even the fans that cause the changes. It will ultimately be the fighters themselves who demand and exact the changes for their security, their safety and their financial stability.

Article posted on 16.11.2007

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