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MMA: is it better than Boxing?

MMA SBG Ireland showcase their belts. Source: Straight Blast Gym Ireland

MMA SBG Ireland showcase their belts. Source: Straight Blast Gym Ireland

MMA Vs Boxing. Which is better? John McAuliffe takes the side of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

 

Mixed martial arts offers a platform where fighters can pit themselves against each other in the art of unarmed combat and submit their opponent through a series of submission techniques, boxing and kick-boxing skills.

 

MMA is an ever growing sport in Ireland. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Conor McGregor has raised the profile of the sport in this country dramatically and has inspired the next generation of fighters to enter the octagon themselves.

 

There are many reasons in my opinion why MMA trumps boxing. UFC is the main organisation in Mixed Martial Arts. This is where the biggest and best fighters perform on the world stage. Conor McGregor joined the UFC roster in February 2013 and since then, he has fought his way into a title fight with Brazilian fighter, Jose Aldo. McGregor is known for his personality outside the octagon as well as his fighting skills inside it. His trash talk is what makes him different, and gets people to pay attention.

 

This brings me on to my first point: character. Boxing has had legendary characters in the past such as MIke Tyson and Muhammad Ali, but I think that some UFC fighters are edgier and more aggressive to each other, which makes for better entertainment. McGregor would be an excellent example of this, and others like Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones would also be very entertaining on a microphone. These fighters attract attention when they try and embarrass each other with insults, which adds to the general excitement of the sport. In recent years boxing has failed to deliver any real characters worth watching.

 

The UFC run events nearly every week across the world which is in stark contrast to Boxing events.It offers fans the chance to see their favourite fighers in action multiple times during the year. It’s pay-per-view events have grown bigger and better, producing a strong fan base and large amounts of revenue. The Fox network in America signed a new deal with the UFC, which allows it to televise events for years to come. The UFC is providing more exposure to the sport than boxing because boxing only arranges a handful of title fights during the year . MMA maintains a consistent pace with big events taking place monthly while boxing lacks the same amount of fights.

 

It can also be argued that fighters come in to fights more prepared than boxers.

It is common practice to ‘stay ready’ in MMA as fights are so frequent. It is easier to get knocked out in MMA because of the flying kicks and ferocious punches. The cost of losing for MMA fighters is not just money. They have to be ready to fight on short notice, unlike boxers, who train for months for one big fight. The weight classes in the UFC are simplified unlike boxing, where there are many different weight classes. For each weight class in UFC, there is only one belt. The best fighter is the champion, simple as that. Boxing has different belts at each class,which allows poorer fighters to hold a belt.

 

MMA produces elite athletes who are martial arts experts and have higher fitness levels then many normal athletes. Fighters are usually trained in at least two fighting styles, such as jiu jitsu or tae kwon do. There are many fighters who are black belts in multiple martial arts, which shows that they are more skilful than boxers, who only focus on footwork and punching. MMA fighters are conditioned better than boxers. They are put under more pressure in the octagon and arguably put up with harder hits than boxers. Groundwork is very important and the art of submission is practiced daily.

 

The popularity of MMA is largely due to the interesting matchups seen in fights. Wrestlers could take on kickboxers or muay thai fighters take on jiu jitsu fighters. Sometimes fighters cannot beat their opponent using their favourite martial art, so they may have to use their secondary skills to overcome them. It is more likely that there would be an upset in an MMA fight than a boxing match, which adds to the entertainment. MMA fighters are always capable of changing matches with their skills.

 

The UFC arguably has a better marketing structure than boxing does. In boxing, big fights are routinely hyped up for a few months before the fight. The UFC promotes the sport more continuously with the ultimate fighter television series. The public no longer has a perception of the sport as being a blood sport or a reckless sport lacking precision and control, thanks in part to this show. Compared to MMA, boxing is a ”me” sport.

 

There are more ways to win in MMA than boxing, and that means there are fewer fights that lead to decisions. Most of the MMA fights end in a knockout. In boxing, there are too many fights that end in controversial decisions. This is much less the case in MMA. Even when there is no knockout or submission, it is easier to tell than boxing who is winning.

 

MMA is a relatively new sport in Ireland in contrast to boxing which has been hugely popular for many years, but it is growing thanks to the Irish invasion of UFC. At this rate, MMA could overtake boxing as a more popular sport in Ireland. MMA offers fans more entertainment and a more professionally run organisation which leaves no hesitation in my mind as to why it is better than boxing.

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