Why MMA Is More Popular Than Boxing

PARTS UNKNOWN– By Jordan Levine

Around the world, people love boxing and mixed martial arts, MMA. Boxing has existed for thousands of years, with the history of world championships going back over a century. MMA has only existed for a little over a century and did not gain mainstream popularity until the 21st century. Boxing was on top and now the sport is in a decline. What has happened? When you think of combat sports, why are there people who only love boxing and not MMA and vice versa? Why is MMA the more popular sport?

Personally, I do not watch MMA, but I understand its appeal. Two fighters step into the octagon for an all-out war, where there are very few rules. It is barbaric. It is killer. It is appealing. Also, an MMA fan does not think of being an MMA fan. Rather, that person is a UFC fan. President Dana White has turned a sport with very little relevance into a phenomenon across the world. One only has to look at competitors like Elite XC, Affliction, WEC (now owned by the UFC, and Strike Force to understand how powerful the UFC is. When someone asks who is the MMA heavyweight champion, no one will respond with, “What promotion?” Instead, you will hear the answer of Brock Lesnar. But, when someone asks who the boxing heavyweight champion is, there will be multiple answers.

That is boxing’s problem. There is one recognized unified body of MMA and not of boxing. If White tells two fighters that they are going to fight on a UFC pay per view and they don’t want to, tough. They have to fight each other. There’s no way out of it. When it comes to boxing, it is a bit more complicated. Why has Pacquio-Mayweather not happened yet? Boxing fans are salivating over this fight. There are 100 million reasons to do this fight. However, when it comes to boxing, you got multiple promoters and multiple champions. No fan takes belts seriously and fans cannot see the truly great matchups because of politics. It is that simple. This past year has seen the promise of Pacquiao-Mayweather twice and boxing fans have been disappointed twice. Why? Because Bob Arum, Don King, Gary Shaw, Oscar De La Hoya, Lou DiBella, or anyone is not in charge. Rather, they all must work together to put on great fights and that cannot always work out well. This is why you rarely see fighters fight outside their promotion anymore.

Boxing fans, journalist, commentators, analysts, and boxers must all unite and say one person has to run the show. Until then, we will not see the fights we want to see. It is harder to make a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight than a Pacquiao-Margarito fight. Why? Bob Arum represents Pacquiao and Margarito but not Mayweather. This is our problem that we must fix. I encourage everyone involved in boxing to unite and say one belt is enough, one promoter is enough, and give us the fights we want to see!

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