An article from Sherdog.com today does a lot to explain one of the biggest reasons I like MMA more than boxing right now. It uses the heavily rumored Rampage/Machida fight to kickstart a discussion of promotor-based combat sports (MMA) versus the fighter-based approach (boxing).
MMA: More big fights more often.
------------------------------------------------------ Click Here (sherdog.com)
All the back and forth regarding boxing’s ills and MMA’s emergence as the dominating combat sport can really be boiled down to one thing: boxers have autonomy. Mixed martial artists do not. And while that independence may be the best thing for the fighters, it’s crushing to their industry.
Take Quinton Jackson, who has thrown repeated tantrums over the possibility of a fight with Lyoto Machida. Machida is “boring,” Jackson said, and he didn’t want to follow up a lackluster performance against Rashad Evans with another deliberately-paced bout. (Jackson may also perceive Machida as a poor match for his style, but you won’t catch him saying it.)
What happens? According to MMAJunkie and other outlets, Jackson will fight Machida in November. So much for freedom of choice.
If Jackson were a boxer, he’d happily arrange for a heavy bag with lungs in order to absolve himself of the Evans bout. After a few “warm-up” fights, he’d get serious again. Actually, had Jackson been steering his own career, he probably wouldn’t have taken the Evans fight at all: a year-plus layoff would mean avoiding any real threats until he got his fight legs back under him.
The UFC’s business model -- where brand is king and fighters go through the turnstile -- has done an incredible thing: it’s taken the ego out of fighting. There is no opportunity to emulate Floyd Mayweather, who enjoys manipulating his business and his fans like marionettes. If you’re offered a fight, you take it. If you don’t like it, you can sit and spin until you wise up. It’s how athletes wind up with 16-7 records. There’s no padding and every fight is against a killer. This is the league approach: the AFC champions don’t sit down to “renegotiate” a deal to meet the NFC in the Super Bowl. They just do it.
Can you imagine a situation in which Brock Lesnar spends nearly two years hammering out a deal to fight Cain Velasquez? Or if Velasquez fought Lesnar only if he agreed to Olympic-style drug testing? In the context of MMA and the climate the UFC has provided, it would be absurd. The sport has created an environment where everyone fights anyone, regardless of how protective they feel over their record or reputation. The inmates do not run the asylum.
Ironically, this was boxing’s MO sixty years ago: the good fights happened when audiences were ready for them. Today, careers aren’t made so much as manipulated. There’s no organization with any level of authority over fighters, which is why Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can get bogged down in levels of bureaucracy that smothers interest. Will fans buy their next respective fights? Probably. Will any of them prefer them over a Mayweather/Pacquiao showdown? Hardly.
This degree of control is not necessarily good for athletes, particularly when they feel pressure to fight hurt or take bouts outside their pay grade. (It’s safe to say Velasquez won’t make nearly as much for the Lesnar bout as Lesnar himself, a far cry from the constant arguing over even purse splits in boxing.) Fighters have become cattle, their careers steered by forces with a primary interest in making money first and coddling second. The UFC may not be a managerial entity, but it’s effectively their role in booking fights: Jon Jones is being brought up slowly; “Rampage” Jackson is thrown to the wolves. The actual managers are left to negotiate sponsorship deals and fax contracts. Say “no” to the UFC enough times and watch what happens.
It would be nice to champion fighters’ rights and moan that promotions have too much power --but the alternative is boxing’s chaotic mess of a business. These fighters fight. Boxers talk. And fans aren’t listening.
Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
There is also the small matter that Floyd Mayweather made $60 million in 2009 (according to SI.com, anyway) and that when you make that kind of dough you can work when you want. Nobody in the UFC is in Floyd's (or a lot of the top-earning boxers') tax bracket.
Having said that, I like both sports (yes, it *is* possible) and sometimes wish that boxing would take note of some of the things that are helping to make the UFC so popular. (One champion per division, for one.)
Holy fuck shit motherfucker shit. Read comics. Fuck shit shit fuck shit I sold out when I did my job. Fuck fuck fuck shit fuck. Sorry had to do it....
Revenge of the Sith = one thumb up from me. Fuck shit. I want to tittie fuck your ass. -- The Guinness. to Cerebus
I wonder if another comparison to wrestling would be due. Jackson, Evans, Sonnen and Toney seem determined to work the Lesnar style. Not that Lesnar invented smack talk in the UFC, but he certainly got the headlines when he ran his mouth. Since then, Lesnar has been muted, either by his own design or some prodding from UFC. It's made him a more likable fighter but less fun.
If a fighter has the gift of gab, he should work it. He needs to stand out from the gigantic UFC roster. But Sonnen in particular is doing more than stoking buyrates. He's veering into ugly territory.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
Originally posted by Matt TrackerIf a fighter has the gift of gab, he should work it. He needs to stand out from the gigantic UFC roster. But Sonnen in particular is doing more than stoking buyrates. He's veering into ugly territory.
Don't worry, Sonnen will be having his jaw wired shut in a few weeks.