Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last 20 years, you will have heard about something called Mixed Martial Arts.
People call it MMA, Cage Fighting, UFC, Vale Tudo, No Holds Barred and many other variations. But other than a few minor rule deviations they are all one sport.
The growth of MMA is astounding. In essence, it started way back in Denver Colorado on a November night in 1993. There we saw fighters battling each other inside what they called 'The Octagon'. The result changed the way we all thought about fighting as we saw a skinny Brazilian Kid named Royce Gracie dominate and destroy all comers, including a heavily muscled Ken Shamrock.
The sport was called barbaric, and numerous attempts were made to get it banned. However, it kept going and gained worldwide fame and notoriety.
Today, this is almost a thing of the past as MMA looks to become mainstream and the UFC was recently sold for $4 Billion.
But even though this has happened, people are still unsure of where MMA is heading and in this article we hope to firmly plant your feet on the ground and explain why MMA is going to become bigger than boxing.
Ready? Let's do this;
It might surprise you to learn that only 40% of the world currently has an Internet connection. This is key when establishing the long-term projection for the growth of MMA.
The internet era fuels the growth of MMA and as this expands the sport of MMA will naturally grow, why? Well, this has a lot to do with both the characters in MMA and the type of action we have seen.
Can you recall the brutal broken leg of Anderson Silva? The internet can, if you search on YouTube, you can find a variety of videos showing the incident.
Check this one viewed over 1 Million times.
Explosive moments like that are plenty in the sport of MMA. From the Judo throws of Ronda Rousey to high kicks, submissions and even the toe to toe battles like we saw when Conor McGregor fought Nate Diaz.
But if this wasn't enough to make you see that MMA is going to be bigger than boxing, take a look at Google trends.
If we put into the search engine, the sport of MMA and the sport of Boxing we see that in the USA boxing is ahead slightly regarding interest.
But if we change this and add the search term UFC we see an entirely different result.
While Google trends might not be an exact science it does give us a good indication of where things are going.
One of the major talking points of MMA is that the pay of fighters is quite small. I have heard of fighters on small hall shows being paid as little as $100 for a fight, some even fight for free.
When you factor in this things such as training time and costs, equipment, diet supplements you see that becoming an MMA fighter is not a path paved with gold.
Yes, we have the likes of Conor and Ronda earning big pay cheques, but for other fighters, we know how small they can be even in the UFC.
But when will that change?
Fighter pay is all about attention. McGregor earns a lot of money because he has the world looking at his fights, largely down to his pre-fight antics.
Traditionally you would say that a sport like MMA needs to avoid becoming a circus, but in actual fact, MMA brings in with it two distinct types of audience. Fans of boxing and fans of wrestling.
By that nature, the fans not only like 'trash talking' but almost expect it. The sport would be boring if everyone just shook hands and was nice to each other. Persona's such as Bisping, Rousey, the Diaz brothers, McGregor, Tito Ortiz and even Ken Shamrock have grown the sport with their pre-fight chat as much as they have with their fighting skills.
With the success of McGregor we will soon start to see more of these characters emerging in the UFC, and with that, we will see greater coverage on traditional media. This will lead to bigger purses, and more high-quality athletes will be tempted to try MMA.
Amateur MMA is only just starting to grow, and we have seen the emergence of the IMMAF which is trying to become a globally recognised governing body for MMA. This includes actively growing Amateur MMA, and it is believed they have UFC backing.
But what does this mean for the sport?
Well, we will end up with higher quality fighters because they are ultimately going to become more experienced over a longer career path.
For example in boxing an amateur fighter can have a long career learning how to box, learning from defeat and picking up experience along the way. By the time they turn pro many of them have had 40 to 100 amateur fights.
In MMA there is not a huge amateur scene. The result is that many fighters end up learning 'on the job' after a few amateur fights, and then they turn pro to earn some money.
With the growth of amateur MMA comes fighters who are more experienced, better prepared and of course this will lead to more explosive, high calibre small hall events.
It is inevitable that better fighters will draw larger crowds and this will, of course, allow for greater pay.
While there maybe boxing fans who will not like or agree with this post it remains clear that MMA is still very much in its infancy. The sport only really became publicly known in 1993 and in only recent years has attracted major brand sponsors.
However, it will and can grow on a global scale to far greater heights than it is now.
This will not be bad for boxing. Instead, I see it helping boxing to attract a new audience because it is just a matter of time before we see another top boxer try out their skills in the cage.
What do you think? Let us know what your thoughts are.
The Human Weapon Team
We see martial arts all the time. In films, on TV and now the UFC has taken them mainstream.
However, even though we see countless MMA gyms popping up, the small struggling traditional martial arts have been going through a drought. But it needn't be that way, nor do I think it will be forever.
In fact, in this article we look at why Traditional Martial Arts are making a big comeback.
|Men's Body Length||27.5 - 28||28.5 - 29||29.5 - 30||30.5 - 31||31.5 - 32|
|Men's Chest||36 - 36||39 - 41||42 - 44||45 - 48||49 - 52|
|Women's Body Length||25.375 - 26.5||26 - 27||26.5 - 27.5||27 - 28.5||27.5 - 28.5|
|Women's Chest||29.5 - 32.5||31.5 - 34.5||33.5 - 36.5||36.5 - 39.5||39.5 - 42.5|