Mixed Martials and Boxing: Action Plenty

By Tom Donelson
Updated: May 17, 2007

IOWA CITY, Ia. – I am a boxing aficionado, but I understand the appeal of the Mixed Martial Artist. While boxing has the advantage in the action department, it is not that Mixed Martial Arts is devoid of action or suspense.

What makes sports the great theater is suspense and drama. Boxing is one sport that is endowed with both suspense and drama. The sudden knock out can happen any time and boxing history is full of suspense.

Rocky Marciano stealing victory from defeat with one of boxing most dramatic knock out over Jersey Joe Walcott.

Mixed Martial Arts have similar drama.

The right kick or punch can end a fight quickly.

The Octagon adds atmosphere to the proceeding.

To be good at the Mixed Martial Arts means that you have variety of weapons to draw from and you have to be good at all.

Any weakness in any system will doom you.

Like boxing, the MMA elites are excellent athletes in their own right.

The fighters combined these styles in a synergic fashion that flows together as one unique style. Each fighter combines the various arts into their own unique style.

What MMA lacks is boxing history and tradition. There is no Louis, no Ali or even the MMA version of Mike Tyson. There are no names that transcend the sport and reaches beyond it. There isn’t even a Oscar De La Hoya.

MMA is still a niche sport with devoted audiences but there is no star that yet has the power to land on a Wheaties Box. There is not to say that day will not come; but it is a reality.

Mixed Martial Arts does have two advantages. First, it has managed to capture a hold on the younger demographic. MMA has made significant inroads upon men 18-35, which means that the sports have the potential to grow in the future.

The second advantage is the proliferation of karate dojos nationwide. Many youngster are learning about self defense and this provides a training ground for future Mixed Martial Artists.

The real question that faces boxing is that if they can recapture some of the Mixed Martial fans or at least appeal to them as a sport that supplement the Mixed Martial Arts.

Both MMA and boxing have one major problem, the interference of the political class and many within the sports world who view both sports as barbarism that should be rooted out.

These are not sports for the genteel soul but yet, there is nobility of happens within the square ring or Octagon.

The athletes are the best advertisements for their respective sports.

The same who clamor for the abolition of the Mixed Martial Arts never seem to find the time to complain about football. High school athletes every weekend during the fall entertain their families, friends and various local towns across the United States through one of sports more dangerous enterprises –American Football.

Death and serious injuries are just one tackle away and yet no one complains. Nor does anyone feel all that concern that every weekend, men will ride upon horses going full speed or race cars at speed tripling the average speed of any American highway.

Jockeys can easily be bolted and trampled by their horses and one false move can land a race driver headlong into a wall.

Death is always a constant companion to a race driver.

Mixed Martial Artists are developing their own tradition but as a sport, it is a worthy as any other sports. Boxing can learn from the Mixed Martial Artist when it comes to promotion but both sports have plenty to share with each other.