Q&A Thursday #48: What Do You Think Of Mixed Martial Arts?

Question: “I have noticed that your a pro wrestling fan and with that in mind, are you a Mixed Martial Arts (or MMA) fan? Do you think MMA will eventually overcome boxing in terms of popularity?” — DMaestas

Answer: I’ve always enjoyed martial arts movies and when I was in college, I spent about a year taking Southern Longfist Kung-Fu classes (Yes, not very many people teach that in the United States. My instructor was taught by a guy from China). But, it was good exercise, a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed the sparring.

So, when the Ultimate Fighting Championships went live, I loved the whole concept. Fights, with no gloves, where the only rules were no biting, no gouging the eyes, and no fishhooking the mouth. The first couple of UFCs were really eye openers. Kicks didn’t work well, most of the fights ended up on the ground, and Royce Gracie? Wow. Some guy who outweighed him by 50 pounds would end up on top of him and next thing you know, Gracie would be strangling him out.

Unfortunately, once the competition improved and people got a better feel for the fighting, it got deadly dull because every fight would end up on the ground for 10 minutes. So, after the first 3 UFCs, I sort of tuned it out.

Then, after they changed the rules to make it more exciting, I watched a couple of UFCs, but it just wasn’t the same somehow. So, as of late, I’ve just watched 2-3 of those “best knockout” tapes, which are fairly entertaining.

Will MMA ever become more popular than boxing? Well, boxing has been around a long time, but the glory days of the sport seem to be in the past while MMA is still getting more popular. But, my gut instinct is that MMA won’t ever get as popular as boxing, because it’s easier to relate to boxing. Not only have there been great champions that people still talk about, but any guy can throw a punch. But, all those kicks and grappling techniques? They’re not so easy to pick-up. In a way, it’s sort of like Muay Thai fighting. Is it a better show than boxing? Yeah, probably. So’s kickboxing for that matter. But, neither of them have really caught people’s imagination in the United States.

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