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Mixed martial arts is already bigger than boxing?

Bill Syken from SportsIllustrated.com overheard an interesting question at a recent party:

I was at Mix Lounge, on the 64th floor of The Hotel at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. It was around 9 p.m., and the lights on the neighboring Luxor pyramid were starting to shoot up the sides and up into the night. This was early June. I was chatting with a group of people, which included a guy who promoted events at the MGM Grand.

“Tell me something,” someone asked the MGM guy. (Pardon me if the details are vague, but this was one of those cocktail parties where the drinks were brought around with greater speed and frequency than the food.)

“Yes?” the MGM guy said.

“Do you think Ultimate Fighting will ever be bigger than boxing?”

The MGM guy smiled.

“It already is,” he said. “I mean, we love Oscar De La Hoya. But unless it’s him, Ultimate Fighting is already bigger than boxing.”

There you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.

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2 Responses

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  1. Many of the people at Sports Illustrated just hate boxing anyway. And how many boxing people go to all these fancy-ass cocktail parties, anyway? Nonetheless, it is true UFC is gaining on boxing. Part of the reason, however, is boxing’s continued self-destruction. I’ve documented that all over.

  2. Chris said

    Interesting.

    I like MMA, but I’ve always liked boxing too. It’s just too bad that boxing could never get its act together. I recall the Olympics in South Korea in what – 1988? Some of the US boxers (and others) got robbed when the judges put South Korean boxers over.

    In MMA, the fights are usually much more clear as to who wins (obviously).

    MMA is just more interesting to watch. You never know what’s going to happen. If the UFC handles things right, it’s gonna explode in popularity.

    They need to present it as it is- a sport, and try to be totally professional about things. Obviously you need to build hype for fights, but they can’t go the pro wrestling route and sink to a sideshow status.