COMMENTARY | The virtual battle between MMA and boxing has gone on since the moment the UFC became more than a novelty show for pro wrestling fans too old to wear their Hulkamania t-shirts.
Dana White and his crew at the UFC have done a wonderful job in marketing their product to the extreme and creating a true force in combat sports. Now, just about twenty years after being founded, the company has built itself into being a legitimate sport with a real international presence.
However, the aggressive anti-boxing stance White took when first seeking to create an identity for the company has left plenty of bad blood between fans and practitioners of both sports. In just about every other country in the world, both sports co-exist perfectly, but not in the United States.
In the U.S., there always seems to be some gripe between representatives of both sports. And, among fans, there's hardly an MMA/boxing article comment section in existence that doesn't have at least some bickering between the two factions.
The latest headline-maker was the UFC's Chael Sonnen, who used his commentator position on Fox Sports Live to bash Floyd Mayweather, recent conqueror of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez via majority decision in Las Vegas.
"Look, Floyd (Mayweather) needs to keep doing what he's doing, which is fighting complete tomato cans that we've never heard of before," Sonnen said. "I've never seen anybody in the history of America get so rich and so famous off of having complete wimps throwing punch at their faces."
Sonnen would go on to make a crude joke, comparing Mayweather-Alvarez to the domestic abuse case of musical artists Rihanna and Chris Brown. Fox would later issue a public apology for Sonnen's offensive joke.
Good taste notwithstanding, this is merely the latest in a seemingly never ending series of attack quotes fueled by ignorance for each respective sport.
"I'm really not too big on MMA," said undefeated welterweight titlist, Adrien Broner a little over a week ago. "I really don't look at it as a real sport because anybody can come into MMA and learn that…Listen, you can't just come in to boxing and be a world champion...Like you [he addressed the interviewer], right now, you can go into MMA, learn all the submission moves and be a world champion. It doesn't matter how long it takes. I don't give a [expletive] what you do, you can try to come over to boxing, and you won't ever be a world champion."
Broner would later issue an apology, but the statement was made and, most likely, accurately reflects his actual opinion.
Mayweather himself has a long history of MMA-bating, often going straight for the jugular.
"You can't take my shoes off, and take my shirt off and throw me in a cage. You do that with animals, you don't do that with humans," Mayweather told CBS Sports way back in 2009. "It takes true skills to be in the sport of boxing."
Last month, UFC great Anderson Silva called Mayweather "Papa Smurf" and said that he had no respect for the five-division world champ after taking offense to a video interview where Mayweather claimed to have never heard of Silva.
And the quotes could keep coming as athletes and well-known figures from both sides of the debate add their two cents to a debate that really doesn't even have to exist.
Both sports can exist together just fine. The success of one should have nothing to do with the well being of the other.
The fact of the matter is that MMA vs. Boxing makes about as much sense as a go-for-the-jugular fight between baseball and football fans. While both are classified as combat sports, the similarities between boxing and MMA end there.
If guys like Sonnen and Broner could ditch the public ignorance and Dana White could distance himself from the us vs. them rhetoric, both sports could actually feed into one another, helping both grow bigger and better.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, The Las Vegas Sun, Bleacher Report
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Dana White
- Floyd Mayweather
- Chael Sonnen