Slowly but surely the UFC has completely taken over from boxing and the viewing figures in recent years have shown that the UFC is now much more popular than the sweet science of boxing. My friend Bharat Bhise and I are evidence of how this has happened, for many years we adored watching boxing and would collectively pay for almost every pay-per-view that there was out there. It was actually Bharat who got into MMA and the UFC first, and I eventually joined him on the other side of the fight industry. There are some very clear reasons why people like Bharat and I have switched, and here is why the UFC has taken over.
Range of Victory
There is a much wider range of how fighters can win in the UFC than in boxing and this has helped to create more entertainment. Submission holds exist of course which don’t in boxing, but even a knockout can come in multiple different ways. In boxing your either get hit with a hook, and uppercut or a monster jab, in the UFC it could come from anywhere, with any part of the body from knee, foot, fist or elbow.
For many years boxing has had scandal after scandal in terms of the way that the judges give results, something which boxing fans got sick and tired of. You only need to look at GGG v Canelo or Pacquiao v Bradley to see just how absurd some boxing matches are judged, to understand why many fans felt cheated. This is something which doesn’t happen any where near as much in the UFC and there have only been one or two occasions that I can think of which struck me as surprising.
There is no question that Floyd Mayweather is one of the greatest to ever put on a pair of gloves, but you have to admit that his last 10-15 fights were borefests, outstanding defense and movements, but ultimately 12 rounds which rarely got going. In the UFC however there is a huge amount of incentive for fighters to put on a performance, and that ensures action. Furthermore you are watching three 5 minute rounds or occasionally five 5 minute rounds, which means that there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide in the octagon. Because of cash incentives for things like knockout of the night and fight of the night, these fighters know that there is money up for grabs if they go all out.
Whilst the boxing commissions do put pressure on champions to fight the number 1 contender, they don’t actually arrange fights, that is done by the boxing promoters. What happens however is that many great fights don’t get made because the money isn’t right, or for any other reason. In the UFC the company pits the best against the best, they have contracts which say they have to fight one of the options given, and if they don’t they are out. This ensures that fight fans get to see the fights that are most attractive and entertaining.