For anybody who's read my stuff at maxboxing.com for the past few years, I'm sure you know how I've often criticized the sport's power brokers for basically quibbling and running it into the ground.
About three years ago I came to the conclusion that MMA was going to surpass boxing unless the latter underwent some radical overhaul. Which, of course, it didn't. I don't think that was a surprise to anybody who read my work at MMA sites but I got a lot of emails from people reading maxboxing. What was funny was the stuff I heard in the beginning:
"MMA is a fad -- it won't be around in five years."
"Nobody is going to watch that"
"Look at the cheesy advertisers they attract"
In 2003 I wrote that MMA would surpass boxing for total revenue generated in 5-10 years. Now, with the mainstream media literally forced to give it coverage because they cannot ignore it, you are seeing the early indications of admission. I think that timeline was far too generous. By 2008 MMA is going to be "bigger" than boxing. Ask yourself -- how many casual sports fans know who Chuck Liddell is compared to the heavyweight champ? Or Floyd Mayweather? How many of each guy's fights have they ordered?
Many top boxing writers, including Bernard Fernandez, Steve Farhood, Kevin Iole and others even say that MMA can no longer be ignored.
This weekend's pay per view is going to be the tipping point, IMO. And as the sport continues to explode with so many more shows and organizations, you see more MMA on cable tv than boxing.
It just reminds me of when people said hip-hop would never last.
In closing, I was right. Damn right. I'd like to thank all the readers and fans for supporting the sport and helping it grow. I'm not saying anyone has to like MMA and it certainly will face its challenges and plateaus in the future, but if there's a baseline trend for why it's taking off, I think it's because it's what boxing used to be -- a sport where the best faced the best and putting on a good show was more important than being unbeaten through matchmaking and management.
Enjoy the fights.
"A Cancer on the sport"
edited for spelling