<div class="Article" style="float: left;"> <table> <tr style="vertical-align: bottom;"> <td> <h3><a href="/go=news.detail&gid=200198" target="_blank"> UFC outshining boxing in UK </a></h3> </td> </tr> </table> <a href="/go=news.detail&gid=200198" ><img class="photo" src="http://img.mixedmartialarts.com/method=get&rs=50&q=75&x=5&y=65&w=310&h=165&ro=0&s=96BBBEBC-1D09-6BFC-E5AA7898736F727F.jpg" /></a> <strong class="ArticleSource">[manchestereveningnews.co.uk]</strong> <div style="clear: both; line-height: 1px;height: 1px;"> </div> </div> <p>Comment: The ultimate fighting threat to boxing</p>
It is July 18 and Amir Khan has just won his first world title on his own doorstep at the MEN Arena.
It is the dawn of a new era for British boxing - the coming of age of a national hero, who first captured the public's imagination as a charismatic 17-year-old when winning Olympic silver in 2004.
But something's not right with this picture.
While Khan celebrates in the ring and the world's media prepare to hail him Britain's next great hope, the pockets of empty seats around the arena tell another story.
Fast forward to Saturday night and the roof is virtually blown off an MEN Arena packed to its 20,000 capacity as the considerably less well known Michael Bisping floors Denis Kang in two rounds to the delight of the baying crowd.
Clitheroe's adopted Mancunian Bisping is not a household name - yet. But he, and a sport that was once dismissed as "human cockfighting" by US presidential candidate John McCain, are clearly striking a chord with the latest generation of fight fans.
The rise of UFC - the Ultimate Fighting Championship - has not gone unnoticed by boxing's bigwigs, who fear it will one day establish itself as the world's number one combat sport.
"It is all action, proper fighting," said Ricky Hatton recently. "They are going the right away about it to get people interested.
"There is a concern in boxing that UFC is taking its place. People seem to get more value for money."
It may still be some time before UFC usurps boxing - and for the purists it never will. But sitting ringside on Saturday, with a cacophony of noise ringing in your ears, it was hard not to think of this as the future.
At once terrifying, exhilarating and intriguing, it is pure car crash entertainment - like being parachuted into a post-apocalyptic world of lawlessness. For the soundbite, video-game-playing, reality star, Twitter-obsessed generation, it is pitch perfect. A cross between Strictly Come Dancing, Street Wars, When Pets go Bad and the WWE.
Critics would describe it as the embodiment of everything that is wrong with modern culture - while others would say it is the natural step forward.
Whatever your opinion, few could argue that it is an example of genius marketing - the likes of which boxing is already looking to emulate.
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