Weekly MMA Digest (Week of April 30)
This week's dominant headline in combat sports is the Floyd Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya boxing match coming up on Saturday. The interesting thing about this fight is how UFC's name has been dragged into the conversation repeatedly by the boxing establishment as well as its proponents. Boxing clearly sees MMA passing it in popularity (especially in the key demographic of males 18-34) and quite frankly this fight between Mayweather and De La Hoya isn't going to change that much.
My question is why do fans of boxing feel that the combat universe doesn't have enough room for both boxing and MMA? Why are boxing fans so threatened by MMA that they feel they have to attack the sport so viciously? One thing I've noted is that MMA fans and writers do not exhibit the same vitriolic attitude toward boxing -- in fact, many of us started out as fans of boxing and gave up after years of boring fights, corruption and a confusing plethora of belts that made titles almost meaningless.
Let's sample some of what the boxing establishment has been saying this week and over the last few weeks leading up to the Mayweather-De La Hoya fight:
- Mayweather dissed UFC and its champions -- including Chuck Liddell -- in this article by Yahoo Sports.
- Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon (columnists I enjoyed reading in The Washington Post when I was a kid growing up in Silver Spring) showcased their own ignorance about the sport this week on their ESPN show Pardon the Interruption. According to MMAWeekly's writeup of their comments, Wilbon and Kornheiser bashed the sport and compared MMA fights to "bare-knuckles" boxing.
- And, of course Mike Freeman wrote a piece for CBS Sportsline a couple of days ago in which he coined the clever phrase Ultimate Farcical Clown for the acronym UFC and said MMA wasn't a real sport. I talked about his vapid piece in an earlier blog entry.
The MMA world responded to the insults hurled by boxing's fans, though no response was truly needed to the undignified attacks. After all, the growing popularity of MMA speaks for itself. But, here's what some in the world of MMA said to counter boxing's wild last-gasp punches:
- UFC President Dana White responded to Mayweather a couple of weeks ago by saying the UFC's lightweight champ Sean Sherk would easily defeat Mayweather in an MMA fight.
- CBS Sportsline columnist Gregg Doyel responded to Freeman's anti-UFC article with a well-written retort stating that this weekend's Mayweather-De La Hoya fight amounts to a "funeral" for boxing.
In UFC news, the UFC 71 card has been finalized. Along with the megafight for the light heavyweight title between Chuck Liddell and Quinton Jackson, some other notable fighters on the card are Karo Parisyan, Keith Jardine, and Chris Leben. For the full card, click here.