04-16-2008, 12:48 PM
Status: Hows that working for ya?
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Elmhurst, IL
| | Has Dana spilt alphabet soup on the roadmap?
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07/04/08 - Feature: Has Dana spilt alphabet soup on the roadmap?
When questioned about the relationship between professional boxing and mixed martial arts, Dana White is fond of saying that boxing is his "roadmap of what not to do" with the sport of MMA.
He is alluding to the way boxing went from being one of the world's leading sports to a relatively niche interest in only a couple of decades.
Some recent huge fights aside, boxing has struggled to attract public attention in the past few years. Dwindling spectator numbers and a tarnished public image even prompted some commentators to wonder if the sport was about to die.
One of the problems that besets boxing is the fact that there are so many different sanctioning bodies. With the WBC, WBO, WBU, IBO and IBF and more, the public is presented with an alphabet soup of boxing organisations.
With each having a world champion of its own for the various weight categories, it is small wonder that title belts no longer carry the same air of prestige that they once did.
Another problem is that some organisations have champions, interim champions and the incredibly ludicrous concept of super champions.
Interim champions are declared whenever something gets in the way of the actual champion defending their title in a fight, usually against the leading challenger.
Super champions exist in some organisations where, after a certain number of successful title defences of multiple belts recognised by that organisation, they are declared a super champion. This can mean that they are relieved of a particular belt while keeping others, freeing titles up to be competed for.
Clearly this is stupid and it is no surprise that the public have voted with their feet in abandoning boxing in droves and leaving these tinfoil belts behind. So surely, with this example clear in your mind, you would hesitate to make any similar decisions?
That is why it is surprising that the UFC has recently gone down the route of declaring interim champions. In theory, selling a fight on the basis that it is a title clash will give it some added lustre and generate more interest in the clash. But does anybody really care about interim championships?
The people that win them don't seem particularly excited, as evidenced by the way George St. Pierre immediately disparaged the one he won against Matt Hughes and said he was only concerned with winning the real title back from Matt Serra.
As if the prospect of interim champions walking round with belts that look just look the ones worn by the proper champions weren't enough, MMA may be on the way to adding alphabet soup to its own menu.
The UFC and Pride FC were the big players in the MMA world until last year when Pride managed to go bust. Former Pride champions went to the UFC to fight, some acquiring a belt (Nogueira) and others losing the ones they brought with them (Henderson).
For many fans, such matches served as unification bouts and legitimised certain fighters as the unquestionable top of their weight divisions.
With undisputable and undisputed champions, all seemed well in the world. The UFC was at the top of the MMA pile, as were its champions and the streets of Dana's road map looked to be paved with gold.
However, in a few short months other organisations either emerged or became more prominent, in particular, long-time boxing promoter Gary Shaw and his Elite XC organisation.
The company, while still young, has made big gains in its short history and recently signed a broadcasting deal with huge American broadcaster CBS that Shaw described as the most important deal in the history of MMA.
Certainly it will serve to bring MMA to a wider audience, as the major broadcaster will screen MMA events in prime time Saturday night slot.
But as EliteXC has its own champions, we face a return to the days when internet message boards crackled with debates about who the real champions are.
And that picture isn't event taking into account the resurgence of MMA in Japan (DREAM, World Victory Road) or the fact that the man considered the best heavyweight fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, seems to have placed a moratorium on actually fighting anyone relevant (at the same time as AWOL UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture is making efforts to get a fight arranged with him).
For a brief moment, it seemed we had clear champions in a clearly dominant organisation. Now the burgeoning popularity of MMA has contributed towards distorting that picture.
"May you live in interesting times" is apparently a traditional Chinese curse.
We mixed martial arts fans are living in interesting times. Soup, anyone?
04-16-2008, 01:06 PM
Status: Be water....
Join Date: Aug 2006
Very well written article, I agree with most of it. One of the Interim champion was later promoted to undisputed (BJ) following Sherk tests. Another recent interim champ could well be promoted to undisputed (Nog), as we know that Randy won't return. The last one in recent history, (GSP) is the only one I disagree with giving an interim championship. I think it was Danas way of not having the last show of the year without a WW belt on the line as it was first scheduled to keep the belt/championship aromaof the event.
As far as the alphabet soup, I could see it happen but not to the extent of boxing. With the UFC's unwillingness to co-promote, we will not see these champions, against other champs from other orgs. People like Barnett, Cung Le (if he continues with a couple more wins), Jacare, Moussasi, Aoki, JZ, etc., continue to impress and win, we we will be back to the UFC vs Pride debates but this time it will be UFC vs. everybody else.
Fedor, Rampage, Alistair, Barnett, Werdum, Igor, Maia, Manhoef, Machida.
K-1: Alistair!!! Peter Aerts, Remy Bonjasky, Badr Hari
Fedor could lose all of his remaining fights and will still be the GREATEST FIGHTER OF ALL TIME!!!!
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