Martial Arts. Ultimate Fighting Championship

The world of aggressive sports currently lists boxing as its most popular incarnation. Why not? Boxing feeds off the need for an adrenalin rush and allows for the spending of excess energy among men. For decades, boxing was king. But in the 1990s, a new sport began to emerge that would begin to challenge the popularity of boxing. Known as the UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championship, it is a no holds barred physical contact sport that is set to overtake boxing in terms of popularity and betting revenue. My thesis is that the UFC has already well on its way to becoming more popular than boxing as a sport and betting venue for gamblers.

The game was originally deemed too violent for television airing and turned off an event the men whom they thought would be cash cows for the program due to its high physical and “no holds barred” of the sport. No move or maneuver was deemed illegal at the start. In fact, the sport was so bloody in the beginning that even Sen. John McCain openly declared that it was nothing better than a human style of cockfighting.

More recently, the World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman was quoted by Sky Sports in his 2007 interview as saying, “I oppose 100 percent this ultimate fighting. It has taken boxing to the era of the caveman and the Roman circus…These are not ancient times. This fighting is fed to those fans who like aggression, blood and illegality. They are not boxing fans. Boxing fans have class.” (Sulaiman Slams Savage Sports. 2008)

Such comments and reviews send the sport into a state of decline and unpopularity that it was as good as dead. The UFC organizers went back to the drawing board and tweaked the game system by injecting some rules into it.

According to Daniel Schorn’s 60 Minutes report (2007) “These days, there are 31 fouls, and the fighters don’t come at each other bare-fisted anymore. They’re required to use special gloves with a little bit of padding over the knuckles. You can’t kick to the groin anymore, and you can’t stomp your opponent once he’s on the ground. The octagon itself is 30 feet across. There’s padding under the fighters’ feet, and they put the fence around it so the fighters don’t go rolling out onto the floor.” (Mixed Martial Arts: A New Kind Of Sport, 2007) The rule changes apparently paid off as the money came rolling in for the producers and fight organizers.

It became obvious that even though men like testosterone-driven sports, they also drew the line at how these fights should be played out. That was the reason why boxing was so popular. Even though there was physical hurt between opponents, there were still safety measures in place to ensure that nobody got deathly injured in the course of the fight. By having the UFC fighters stick to certain rules, the “caveman era” of the UFC sport came to an end and catapulted it into the front-line of contact sports and betting.

Sports aficionados openly admit that UFC has steadily gained ground among the high stakes gamblers both online and offline over the past few years. Although boxing is still the best of choice for these people, most of them wait for big-name fights before placing bets.

According to The Gambling Weblog, “UFC, a mixed martial arts fighting league which has gained considerable attention among gamblers in the past 12 months, is now poised to overtake boxing in terms of online betting revenues…After UFC 71 gained a record amount of viewers, many online gambling sites have seen a huge increase in the number of customers looking to bet on UFC fights. ” (Bodog Says UFC Will Overtake Boxing, 2007)

Obviously, UFC will become more popular than boxing at a certain point. However, that is not to say that boxing will fade away. Instead, both sports will find their niche in terms of viewership and gambling venue over the years to come.

Work Cited

Hartness, John. (2007). Bodog says UFC will overtake boxing. The Gambling Weblog. Web.

Schorn, Daniel. (2007). Mixed martial arts: A new kind of fight. 60 Minutes. Web.

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