1. #1
    battlefields's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Australia, Land of Oz
    BJJ/ MMA/ MT

    Ultimate Fighting- Barbaric or the New Boxing? SMH article


    It's brutal but popular and growing, writes Marcus Braid.
    Two fierce combatants, bright lights, celebrities abound while fans scream from the perimeter of the contest. Sound like boxing? Nope. This is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which continues to mount its challenge as the premier combat sport in the country.
    According to UFC executives, they are already there. And while they are the self-anointed masters of marketing and sporting promotion, there is substance behind their claims. Widely regarded as the world's fastest growing sporting competition, ultimate fighting will hold its second event in Australia in Sydney in February. UFC was formed 17 years ago, and president Dana White recently estimated the company was ''now worth $2.5 billion''.
    Why exactly is the UFC booming? The turning point came in January 2001 when the entity was bought by Zuffa, a sports promotion company owned by Station Casino executives, Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. Shortly afterwards, Zuffa secured a pay-television deal with Fox Sports Net, leading to instant growth, attracting 150,000 pay-per-view buys at a Las Vegas UFC event in November 2002.
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    Josh Koscheck (left) sustains yet another Georges St-Pierre blow to his badly damaged right eye during their UFC welterweight title bout in Montreal. St-Pierre won the bout and retained his title. Photo: AFP

    ''They made it very, very accessible,'' says Michael Koslowski, the associate publisher of Australia's UFC magazine. ''In this era where sports stars are very highly paid and are very hard to access by rank-and-file supporters, the UFC has made a point of keeping their athletes very, very accessible.''
    Mixed martial arts has grown in stature ever since. Brock Lesnar's heavyweight win over Shane Carwin in July attracted more than 1 million pay-per-view buys. Athletes are active participants on fight nights - not just in fighting but by engaging with the crowd. ''Whoever is not fighting will roam the outside several centimetres of the perimeter and pose for photographs for hours and hours and hours,'' Koslowski says. ''There is so much action at a UFC event, whether it's via pay-per-view on TV or live.''
    While organisers base their events on cutting-edge promotion, UFC's managing director of international development, Marshall Zelaznik, says the competition is underpinned by a quality product.
    ''Many people have said it's the best live sporting experience in the world,'' he says. ''The UFC is a five-hour live event that everyone walks away from feeling like they got their money's worth.''
    ''One of the things that the UFC does, in terms of how it puts on events, is that it starts to become a leader for every other promotion.''
    UFC focuses its events on even bouts, creating the improved chance of a close contest. In contrast, boxing has often been criticised for matching opponents with vastly different skill and endurance levels. ''I think the key thing is the matchmaking, so that the fights are exciting and interesting,'' Zelaznik says. ''This is unlike most boxing promotions where you have a fight with the favourite son of a promoter that has been moved up through the ranks.''
    Australia, targeted by the UFC as a key growth area, is a nation usually receptive to combat sport. According to Roy Morgan Research, 2.58 million Australians either watch or participate in combat sport - about one in nine people. Australian UFC fighters George Sotiropoulos and Kyle Noke will compete in February's sellout at Acer Arena. Zelaznik believes mixed martial arts has usurped boxing as the most successful combat sport in the country, describing it as the ''formula one'' of this sporting genre.
    ''The big boxing events are coming around less and less frequently these days,'' he says. ''With the UFC, the appetite seems to be endless.''
    Despite UFC's continued commercial success, the competition has not escaped controversy. US senator John McCain infamously branded ultimate fighting as ''human cockfighting'', while the Victorian government has blacklisted the cage-fighting event, declaring the UFC as not in line with community standards.
    While Boxing Australia president Ted Tanner admits the UFC has ''novelty value'', he is also reluctant to embrace the competition. Fighting in light gloves, athletes attempt to win through a technical knockout, decision or by forcing their opponent into submission. Tanner ''prefers boxing to that type of combat''.
    ''I think the government authorities will need to keep a close eye on it,'' Tanner says. ''It does seem to be very heavy combat. I think the government authorities will need to watch it so we don't have injuries.''
    Both Koslowski and Zelaznik say these observations are misguided.
    ''There's more injuries among cheergirls in the national league in the US than there are among UFC fighters,'' Koslowski says. ''They've never had a death, and it's very tightly controlled.''
    One-third of the tickets for this year's inaugural event in Sydney were bought by women, dispelling the perception the UFC is watched only by men spoiling for a fight.
    The UFC attracted 18,000 fans to Acer Arena for its first event in Australia this year, while this month's boxing bout between Anthony Mundine and Garth Wood was seen by about 6000 spectators at the same venue. Judging by the talk and trends, these numbers will continue to grow.

    The annual misinformed, uneducated, decent-society-call-to-arms, won't-somebody-think-of-the-children, whining Fairfax media's Sydney Morning Herald's article's attempt at broaching the topic of an apparently small and insignificant brutal bloodsport that is gaining somewhat of a following that we call Mixed Martial Arts. Only this time, despite referring to the sport as "Ultimate Fighting", the article doesn't have the sting I have become accustomed to from this source. And it recognises, sans attitude, some of it's benefits.

    The author seems to have accepted the sport, somewhat deflated though he may seem, as a genuine sporting phenomenon. It is in the comments section that the true ignorance flows and like a sandbags to a sewage treatment containment wall, fans of MMA are stacking against it. It almost brings a tear to this proponents eye to see that in the past year the level of education and passion relating to this sport has grown so significantly that I hardly need to scream hysterically, "why, Lord, why are people so fucking stupid!" when I see an article or commentary on my favourite sport. I can now say it in a measured tone.

    One year ago I was among maybe 15-20 people on smh.com.au arguing in favour of MMA. Our main purpose and one that took up the majority of our time was to dispel as many of the myths built up by wowsers as we could. My fingers were contorted in a mixture of rage and early onset arthritis trying my darndest to offset the fallacies presented as fact. Hell, I even chastised the Letters Editor for "unbalanced" reporting and after a lengthy correspondence with him, he agreed to print a significant portion of my emails in support of the sport.

    This year, fortunately, others have taken the conch, added electronics and turned the thing into a loudspeaker. Now, a large number of MMA fans are crawling all over the detractors and effectively squeezing stupid until it cried 'uncle'. I tried to think of a metaphor for this involving martial arts, martial artists, or something else we do here on bullshido, but nothing came to mind.

    Of course, I tried to promote bullshido.net while I was there, free advertising FTW. If you have a Fairfax media account, join the fight. Truthfully, I am sick of arguing with morons, especially over the internet, so I kept mine brief. I was always told never argue with a fool because onlookers might not know how to tell the difference. That is why I come here. No morons here *puts fingers in ears* NUP, NO MORONS HERE, LALALALALALA.

    MMA's inevitable takeover of boxing as the premier combat sport in the world seems nearing completion. Why is it that there are so many people still completely and utterly opposed, despite apparently having nigh on zero information? Is it a common thing for people to proclaim themselves experts in a field of knowledge they have no experience in? What would make someone so righteous in their desire to ban something that obviously gives pleasure to so many people? Do these people think they know more than everyone else?

    -by battlefields
    (Professional expert in writing, martial arts {all of them}, military interests, politics, religion, computers, financial matters, communications, motor vehicles, for further information, look up my history by googling "battlefields")

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    New York
    Prying Mantis Kung-f, SBD
    I always love the comments section fin articles like these.

    If you look really hard and manage to sift through the hundred or so comments of the knee-jerk crowd arguing with MMA fans, you'll find that one isolated comment written by a TMA/RBSD guy. It'll be the one that has nothing to do with the "Is MMA too barbaric?" debate, and will say something along the lines of MMA not being realistic combat and that BJJ will get you killed in a real fight.

    Because that doesn't mean **** to anyone outside of the TMA forum he likes to circle-jerk at, the comment goes completely ignored.

  3. #3
    Crouching Philosopher, Hidden Philosopher supporting member
    DAYoung's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Melbourne, AUS
    n/a (ex-Karate)
    I was glad to see this article, but I didn't think it was particularly revealing.

    I thought (ahem) my article (cough cough) was more illuminating. But this is perhaps because I'm a sympathetic author, rather than a journalist being assigned a story.
    Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness
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  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Ho View Post
    I was glad to see this article, but I didn't think it was particularly revealing.

    I thought (ahem) my article (cough cough) was more illuminating. But this is perhaps because I'm a sympathetic author, rather than a journalist being assigned a story.
    Yes, and we appreciate it Mr. Young!

    I think that the best thing we can do as MMA (even MA in general) fans is to educate and inform people about the sport - not just call them ignorant etc, but actually walk them through the basics and explain that it's not barbaric or just attractive to the lowest denomenator, or a fad.

    Informed people will either understand and tolerate it, grow to support it, or if they are particulary ignorant, still choose to oppose it. I have faith that only a small percentage will remain of the later after some time.


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