Bloodsports.

I find it wholly despicable that, considering the state of the puglism/mixed-martial arts schism currently permeating these sports’ audiences, the pay-cable channel Showtime would cross-promote MMA interviews and commercials during their boxing broadcasts. The biggest flap currently in boxing circles is how the sport is losing large amounts of its viewer base to MMA, which, in my opinion, is terribly brutal and not a small bit sensationalistic – like professional wrestling with real elbow blows to the head. Putting different styles of fighting against each other is like expecting to gain a mutually-agreeable result from a debate between two lobbyists who are speaking different languages. Boxing pundits and writers are complaining that the color and flash of MMA is pulling people away from “the Sweet Science”, and they’re right. Part of this is purely the fault of the corrupt promoters and sanctioning organizations who create spurious titles and dirt-poor matches between cardboard “champions” and try to pawn it off as good sporting. There is no national commission for boxing, and there is virtually no non-cable broadcasting of matches in this day and age. Showtime and HBO have declining, boring, and biased commentary and will slap a pay-per-view charge on the most mundane of bouts, which kills the viewer base and lessens the permeation of the sport into mainstream viewership. Now Showtime has launched their EliteXC MMA-or-whatever-they-call-it and are featuring interviews with homeless street fighters-turned-TV stars in between bouts during their boxing broadcasts. Showtime, who has recently raised the bar of boxing presentation above that of long-time rival HBO, is now, with these antics, pounding the nail into the coffin of this sport once again.

16 Responses to “Bloodsports.”

  1. jacesan Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    I agree
    Wholeheartedly. I'd rather watch NASCAR than these shows.
    What's next? Knife-fighting, gladiator pits, or "take ten steps, turn, and draw"?

  2. chaosvizier Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Re: I agree
    Whoa now, let's not diss the gladiator pits. Those Romans were on to something.

  3. jacesan Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Re: I agree
    So were the prison guards at Corcoran.
    Glad they were caught. o.O

  4. avalokita Says:
    April 18th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Re: I agree
    OK now that I'm on LJ this makes sense. Sorry for the confused Myspace message…I was working in reverse.

  5. angledge Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I think you should punch each & every person responsible for this right in the head.
    HEY! We could air it live as a pay-per-view! <lj user = funkyplaid> vs. the TV Weasels!

  6. kynon Says:
    April 16th, 2008 at 1:55 am

    I think Uwe Boll already used that sort of idea…

  7. angledge Says:
    April 16th, 2008 at 3:18 am

    *Googles Uwe Boll*
    *reads Wikipedia entry*
    Man, everyone always thinks up the good ideas before me….
    *kicks dirt*

  8. chaosvizier Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    I think MMA detracts from all aspects of "clean" fighting. You may lament the decline of boxing-based programming on TV, but go and locate the next tae kwon do, or judo, or jujutsu, or karate tournament on your cable network and see what you come up with. Most likely, you'll find professional sumo wrestling.
    MMA detracts from all of these styles by bringing it down to its most basic level: beat the hell out of the other guy. Now, in a true fight, out on the street, where some gangsta is mugging you, sure, you are going to beat the hell out of the other guy. However, televising MMA is as good as televising a street fight. One can appreciate some of the form and skill, but it's nowhere near as pristine as the regulated sport of boxing, or the traditional forms of aikido, or jujutsu, etc.
    Now take it to the next level. People watch the MMA bouts. Kids watch the MMA bouts. They want to do MMA and beat the hell out of someone. So they go to the local boxing ring to train, or the nearest karate dojo to study. Then they realize, "oh, this is lame and not like TV" and bugger off. They don't appreciate the art of the combat. They want it quick and dirty.
    Further, tell someone you are a boxer, or a martial artist, and perhaps they will immediately jump to the train of thought of "Oh, you're like those thugs on MMA, you're likely to break my nose if I look at you funny, I'll move away now." Which, I am sure, is not the case with either you or me.
    I appreciate a good boxing match, although I am unfamiliar with the rules and such. I can appreciate an MMA bout as well, in a different fashion. But it does devalue other styles with its direct brutality, and that's not beneficial to anyone.

  9. podle Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    chaosvizier just saved me the trouble of even attempting to articulate my feelings on this. Well put, sir. As a former martial artist who was working towards a teacher's certification when I was sidelined by injuries, I couldn't agree more.
    MMA is barbaric while simultaneously detracting from true martial artists *and* poisoning perception of true martial arts.
    Feh.

  10. Anonymous Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    I guess I don't see the sport in fighting. It's always seemed kind of anti-Darwinist, though I suppose that may be its appeal in the first place.

  11. steel_bonnet Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Exactly the same argument in the fencing world.
    Do we do it like MMA and make it dirty yet entertaining to expand numbers? Or keep the form, stay "underground" but keep our integrity?
    The money may win 🙁

  12. avalokita Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    I have to say, it appeals to some female dormant chromosome in me. Seeing the blood, the tattooed men nearly kill each other, I love it. I loved kickboxing, and I love watching MMA.
    I guess I'm not the typical viewer (am I supposed to be watching LifeTime Crap channel?)…but I really do love it…
    I'm sorry for supporting it b/c I know it annoys you.

  13. avalokita Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Holy crap! I'm the only person on your friends list that indulges in the brutality…I almost feel bad, but my vagina effectively blocks feelings of guilt.
    I'm actually surprised I'm the only one on your comments list into it.

  14. jacesan Says:
    April 17th, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I actually enjoyed kickboxing while I was studying TKD. Most of the MMA bouts turn into grappling matches which bore the hell out of me.
    My gay brother once commented while we were flipping through the channels, and came across one of these grappling matches, "I think I have this movie.".

  15. avalokita Says:
    April 17th, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    I used to do MMA and when I got to grapple with the guys, it was wonderful, but felt so wrong.
    I'd get their sweat all over me and it was so hot.

  16. vegasjohnny Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    The decline of boxing in popularity does not, I think, go hand in hand with the attention paid these days to MMA. You have already mentioned the root causes of boxings trouble: greed, stupidity, and hubris. MMA cannot take from boxing anything that boxing has not willingly, if foolishly, ceded.
    I don't think MMA and boxing are drawing from the same viewer pool any more than boxing and judo, or judo and track & field, or track & field and horse racing. By this I mean that they are all 'sport', and interest in one does not automatically mean the exclusion of interest in another.
    Any boxing commentator seeking to gain attention for his sport at the expense of MMA is only playing into the hands of the marketing departments of the 'competition'. If they truly wanted to help their sport they would make genuine efforts to change the model of promotion, oversight, and marketing.
    And for God's sake, someone make some kind of effort to get boxing back on basic cable at the least.
    I kind of like MMA in theory, even in practice sometimes. My interest in boxing has waned, but then I was spoiled growing up in a time with fighters like Ali, Foreman, Frazier, Norton, Hearns, Hagler, Mancini, Leonard, Chavez… the list goes on. We may be seeing talent of this sort in the lighter weight classes these days, but for assorted reasons we don't seem likely to see any marquee heavyweights of the calibre of those in the '70s and as the heavyweight division goes, so goes boxing. This is exacerbated by the failures of the sports custodians.
    It is also entirely possible that as MMA continues to develop it will become significantly less of a bloodsport than boxing. With fighters trained to submit before suffering significant injury and diligent referees, MMA fighters stand a good chance of avoiding the kind of long term wear-and-tear suffered by boxers. It doesn't look likely that any UFC fighter will suffer the fate of either Duk Koo Kim or Ray Mancini. That doesn't mean the blood sport label won't stick, or be encouraged by foolish fans or promotors (looking at you Dana White), but at least at the higher levels real danger seems to be kept to a minimum.
    Let's face it, there's a certain degree of 'carny' in boxing, MMA, and (of course) my beloved pro wrestling. The problem may really turn out to be that the carnies running boxing have gotten senile, deranged, and greedy… no longer able to draw the marks and turn the tip.

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