Bad judging, steroids etc., have some impact on giving the sport legitimacy, but no more so than it does in other sports IMO. The biggest thing hurting the sport at this point as far as its legitmacy is its own fans. The sport is not held back by tons of steroid abuse scandals (although it is likely rampant). Bad judging is not keeping it from becoming a credible mainstream sport.
Inbred, trashy, looking-for-blood americans are what has created the glass ceiling for MMA. The very fans that fill the seats, booing any lack of action, fighting in the crowd, carrying signs calling for blood, are the ones that are holding things back.
The sport itself has become legitimate. The rules allow for safe, competitive combat. The organizations, at least the mainstream ones, are dedicated to putting on professional fights that don't encourage or condone savagery.
A large group of fans however, are providing fodder for the mainstream media and the public, with their hillbilly antics. It is this issue that is the number one limiting factor in the growth of the sport. The problem is, these are the people that pay for the sport in a big way, and will continue to present this problem. As much as we all like to think of ourselves as intelligent fans of MMA, I think that the negative contingent of fans are actually a majority in number.
Last edited by noahm; 12-24-2010 at 08:41 PM.