Lance Cpl. George R. Lockhart (right), radio r...
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Mixed martial arts has made a big splash with sports fans in recent years. A reality TV show about the UFC (the official organization of MMA fighting) brought a lot of publicity to the sport; leading many take an interest in the sport. There has been some concern on the part of boxing fans that the ever growing popularity of MMA has detracted from the attention paid to boxing. However, the two sports are very different from each other and there is no reason why the popularity of one should be in inverse proportion to that of the other. MMA isn’t boxing and doesn’t pretend to be. There’s no reason at all that the two sports (and their fans) can’t coexist.

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Boxing has suffered from a decline in popularity, but this development predates public awareness of MMA by many years. Boxing has a core fan base made up of enthusiasts whose dedication to the sport is at no risk of waning. Many have predicted the death of boxing over the years, but it doesn’t look like the “sweet science” is going the way of the dinosaur anytime soon. Nonetheless, there are boxing fans who resent the popularity that MMA has won, feeling the sport to be a sensational, cheap ripoff of boxing.

However, many of those boxing fans have taken to MMA as well. After all, MMA does incorporate some boxing, and it is an individual fighting competition. MMA of course includes many other disciplines, such as wrestling, jiu-jitsu, judo, grappling, kick boxing, Muay Thai and many other distinct styles of fighting. The combined aptitudes in all of these disciplines make MMA fighting much different from boxing.

Fans of each will find something that is appealing, and you can be a fan of both for different reasons. For example, the quality of the actual boxing in MMA is low. Fighters have to stand differently to guard against takedowns and strikes from other angles. Additionally, without years of honing fine boxing technique, the punches themselves are sloppier.

Mixed martial arts events do feature TKOs more often though, largely due to the gloves used in the sport. These smaller and less well padded gloves are essentially knuckle guards. Boxing features more finesse and skill, MMA a more purely physical display; each sport has its own appeal to fans.

There is no reason why you can’t be a fan of both boxing and MMA. You can appreciate the finer elements of each sport while watching each one for different reasons. While the sports contain similar themes and elements, they are completely different from another. Nobody laments the fact that now that they watch soccer they can’t watch hockey anymore. Both have similarities, but they are viewed rightly as different sports and so the conversation never takes place.

Boxing and MMA fans need to come to an understanding that the sports are two different animals and have different things to offer fans. Naturally, you don’t have to like both; no sport will appeal to every fan. However, you should approach each sport on its own merits rather than in relation to other sports.

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