Convicted Artist Magazine

Dec 02nd
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james_tony_randy_coutureWith this Saturday's UFC 118 matchup between Randy Couture and James Toney, naturally the boxing vs. mma debate is stirring again.  First, off, the discussion is ridiculous in a literal sense.  You can never have boxing vs. mma.  You can have a boxer attempting mma, or a mixed martial artist trying to box.  James Toney is changing sports, and fighting one of the best in his debut.  This is not new to the world of combat sports.  It is new in western civilization, however. 

Muay Thai fighters routinely switch sports to boxing, and fight for world titles within a few fights.  In fact, all of the top few fighters in the record books, for fastest ascents to world titles, are Thai fighters.  Granted, this is a culture-wide phenomenon in Thailand, so fighters and fans alike are used to it, but it still requires a period of quick adjustment.  For boxing and mma, however, there are more differences.  They don't even use the same ring.  There are many divides in the two sports, and although they are closing, the biggest one seems to be the big elephant in the room that no one is discussing.

When is the last time you can recall a west coast white guy or a brazilian making serious noise in boxing?  Greg Haugen and Acelino Freitas are the only names in the modern era that come to mind.  Yet, the sport of mma is chock full of west coast white guys and brazilians.  The asian-american population is also much higher in mma.  Blacks and Latinos make noise in both sports, but going after these demographics abandoned by boxing was a brilliant move. 

The reasons for a boxing fan not to like mma are numerous: It's sloppy, it's often over too soon, there are long stretches of nothing happening either in stand-up, or on the ground.  However, the same things can be said about boxing by the uneducated watcher.  When comedian and commentator Joe Rogan had a brief televised debate with promoter Lou DiBella, he summed up his sport very accurately as "the sport of fighting".  It sounds simple, but that is what it is.  Several disciplines at once.  What one man calls sloppy, can also be called 'well-rounded".  Often, the boxing fan's disdain for mma comes from the lack of respect by many mma fans.  It's not just an ethnic divide, it is an age divide.  The average mma fan's assertion that boxing is "going to die out" because of them, is insane, and shows a lack of historical knowledge.  Karate, kick-boxing, kung-fu were all supposed to replace boxing, but never did.  What hurts more is that some generic sportswriters have jumped on this ignorant bandwagon, as many of them have had a vendetta to destroy boxing with then pen for many decades. 

However, lack of respect is why mma fans also feel disrespected.  Mma fans feel boxing fans do not give them their credit for doing something no other fighting sport has been able to do: namely, compete with boxing in the ratings.  Now, boxing has been forced to compete with PPV numbers by having the best face each other, it has made a fan out of many boxing afficianados, if for only that reason.  Say what you want about Dana White and the UFC, I believe tournament style boxing was invented to compete with their numbers, and renew interest among younger fans. 

This fight will bring many boxing fans to a UFC card, and if this fight doesn't sell them, perhaps BJ Penn's attempt to win back his title will in the main event.  UFC fans will be watching as well, and perhaps will be reminded that there are still throwback fighters like Toney around, and this sport of boxing they are dismissing has never survived on one star.  We have more in common than people think, and these cards, if nothing else, will highlight that.

Chris Strait

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Violet Stoeckert  - BOXING VS. MMA?? |
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Vernia Oliveri  - BOXING VS. MMA?? |
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TNT898  - boxing and mma |
I think boxing puts every fighter on the same playing field. MMA is much more unpredictable most of the time
MMA702  - MMA is the sport of fighting |
MMA fighters have more weapons than a boxer. There really is no comparison, boxing is a sport with its own unique rules. While MMA is the sport of fighting and just about anything goes ( punches, kicks, knees, elbows, ect..
Kendra  - Got to give it to the Boxers |
Boxing is the most significant ingredient in the recipe of MMA
Rufus  - Boxing vs MMA |
Excellent article. I'd love to be lucky enough to attend UFC 118 but I'll just have to watch it on pay per view. Nevertheless, this is going to be good!
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