Boxing and MMA should join forces to form an empire
Editorial By John Gatling, Real Combat Media NY Boxing Correspondent
If You’re Reading This It’s Not Too Late…
A few weeks ago, I aimed and fired a machine gun loaded with hollow-tipped words in the direction of Colin Cowherd (former ESPN broadcaster and current host of “The Herd” on FOX Sports1) for proclaiming that “boxing is dead”.
Looking to “Trump” (Hillary Clinton basically fired Donald in a version of “The Apprentice” during their Monday night national debate) boxing while extolling the virtues of MMA and Dana White’s UFC, Cowherd sort of became a prisoner of his own moment and didn’t know he was cuffing himself.
I had the privilege of reading WBA welterweight champion Keith “One-Time” Thurman’s open letter in defense of boxing yesterday on NY Fights, offering proof that Cowherd struck a blow and had a point.
MMA will be featured in a rather glamorous way in New York City, as the 2016 autumn leaves transform into snow. It is a white-hot sport that has captivated much of urban pop culture.
I don’t really watch MMA– no more than Cowherd watches boxing, but thought it prudent to understand the phenomenon that has taken hold of so many between the ages of 18 and 49.
This past Sunday, FOX ran a special during NFL peak time, allowing viewers to catch more than a glimpse of the best 125 lb fighters in their sport, leading to an ultimate showdown with the pound-for-pound king in Demetrious Johnson.
While I remain firm in the belief that boxing by far requires more skill to succeed and asks more of an athlete mentally and psychologically, the emotion that the MMA fighter consumes and unleashes on each other with a physicality that the boxer could never understand, was as humbling to observe as it was fascinating to admire.
The UFC and MMA is altogether different from boxing in that, it has a Roman colosseum gladiator way about it; consisting of men and women seemingly from Sparta, while very much the same people waiting in line with you at the grocery store. They are amazingly as common as they are uncommon, which I believe serves as the basis for its allure.
I found it interesting that Dana White wore an authentic boxing t-shirt for the program, which I can’t see as a merely coincidental ode to a sweet science that he is an avowed fan of.
It should be noted that Dana White conducts the majority of his interviews with FOX Sports due to the UFC’s deal with the network.
Because he’s a businessman fueled by the heart of a fan, White saw enough in boxing to know that its biggest star (Floyd Mayweather) is still bigger than all of his own combined in retirement. Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor would’ve been the biggest event in UFC history. For boxing, it would’ve been considered a joke of historic proportions.
But rather than chop at the ties that bind us, the two sports can build on the path behind us, to pave a road for the future we can all benefit from.
What a great thing it would be to witness the best UFC championship fight and the hottest championship boxing match on the same card.
If you don’t think that’s possible, did you ever think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – as different as they are, would ever fight for the right to the White House?