Boxing: A sliver of MMA
When I think about boxing compared to MMA, I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favorite (and highly under-rated) TV shows, King of the Hill. When Bobby Hill joins the track and field team, resident conspiracy theorist Dale Gribble suggests that “Track and field is like the leftovers from a bunch of other sports.” Now I was on a track and field team in high school, so I’m in a position to dispute this, but in all honesty, he’s right. Do a little running here, a little jumping here, throw this ball-like object; these are the segments of other athletic endeavors that each comprise their own distinct event in track and field…
Now, let’s extend the metaphor to fighting. MMA (mixed martial arts) is so called because it includes a variety of fighting styles and techniques. It includes wrestling, submission holds, muy thai, judo, kickboxing and, yes, regular stand-up boxing. It truly is a complete discipline, the mastery of which requires skill in multiple techniques.
Compare this to boxing, which doesn’t permit kicking, grabbing, elbowing, head-butting, or anything besides punching. If you were to ask Dale Gribble, he’d say boxing was one of the leftovers from MMA.
After watching an MMA fight (or even before), boxing looks slow and boring, as most punches are blocked, and the fighters frequently stop the action by apparently hugging each other, only to be broken up by the referee.
…And a dying sport
I’m sure boxing has its merits, and that what looks boring to the untrained eye is actually a closely calculated display of skill and footwork and timing, etc. But I honestly don’t see how this sport will survive when there is such a more stylized, dynamic, exciting fighting discipline that is shown on more TV channels and gets more sponsorships and youth interest and viewership.
So I was puzzled when our 1World data returned the results of our poll question “Will MMA spell the end of boxing?” 62% of all voters said that it would NOT. How could this be? I wondered.
Then I looked more closely at the statistics. First of all, I feel our data on this question cannot be extrapolated to a general population, as we did not have any votes from the “under-21” age group, a group that I feel would be most likely to agree that boxing is on the way out. How many kids do you know that talk about boxing, or could even name a contemporary boxer? Meanwhile, I see kids all the time decked out in Tapout gear.
Furthermore, the data could be skewed due to the voting patterns between genders. Even though females only comprised about a third of the total votes, they overwhelmingly voted no, at a rate of 88%. Among males, though, the popular opinion was that MMA would end boxing; 62% voted this way.
The reason I feel this would skew the results is that I never felt like females made up a large portion of the viewing audience for either MMA or boxing. I’d be interested to see the results of a poll distributed to people who had watched both MMA and boxing, and see if voters still felt boxing could survive.
For me, I still agree with Dale Gribble’s sentiment. I just don’t think this leftover scrap of a more complete sport is long for this world. Do you agree? Will boxing disappear as MMA becomes more popular? Vote on our poll below.
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