Many people said MMA was a more ‘genuine’ form of fighting, yet, why is boxing more popular than MMA?
These days, you hardly catch any boxing match that fight fans are actually excited to see. Does it mean boxing is no longer the dominant sport in the world? Not at all. In fact, boxing remains on its throne as one of the world’s #1 spectator sports, along with football and tennis.
Today’s article gives you a brief answer to explain boxing’s popularity compared with MMA and why one surpasses the other. Stay tuned!
Why Is Boxing Still A Popular Sport?
Boxing might not be as popular as it used to be in the 80s but remains a worldwide sport. Here are a few reasons why boxing still thrives in the 21st century.
Boxing is intense. Your adrenaline will be boosted to the max watching a boxing match, especially a good one.
It gets on your nerves when your favorite boxer is beaten up to the ground. You’ll probably sway back and forth alongside them; even when you’re only watching from home, you’ll be up on your feet and walking around, hoping they will get off just in time not to lose.
Before each boxing fight starts, fans are always hyped by the boxers, making the match something to look forward to. The thing is, not every fight lives up to its hype, which can be a disappointment when the match ends.
Nonetheless, pre-fight hype and trash talk have become a tradition of boxing. Matches aren’t the same without being hyped up; some people even consider the positive hype after each fight as one of the best traits of boxing as it makes them both anxious yet excited!
As trivial as it sounds, we humans are DNA-wired to kill; therefore, it makes sense when something as brutal as boxing is popular. At the same time, it can be hard to admit that people like boxing due to its brutal nature; it is actually true.
Some folks find it astonishing how one can take so many punches yet manage to stand still on the ground, if not fighting back.
When it comes to combat sports, people bet.
Sports betting is considered a huge business despite its illegality, and boxing is known as one of the most money-driven sports among other king sports.
Believe it or not, boxing betting is almost as popular as gambling in casinos. Placing your bet on the outcome of a match can be deep and thrilling, especially when you’re about to lose and the table turns in the end.
The number of boxing fans worldwide can be beyond what you can imagine. Just look at how stands at boxing matches are filled every time with hundreds of people chanting songs of victory.
Boxing has never been less popular; it is just less popularized on TV, particularly in the states. This combat sport might even be more prevalent than any other sport, but it’s spread worldwide instead of concentrated in one country.
Why is Boxing More Popular than MMA? – Comparisons to Get the Best Answer
Boxing is more popular than MMA in many aspects, and here’s why.
First of all, we have to talk about the origins of both parties.
Boxing has been around for thousands of years, whereas MMA is barely 30 years old. In addition, this Olympic sport has a rich, deep-rooted history than MMA; it is much more established and well-respected among sports lovers.
Even though boxing appears to be more dangerous than MMA, it is seen as a less brutal sport by the general public. Imagine punching someone while they’re on the ground with gloves. Will the masses approve that? Probably, but not fully.
Both sports already have a reputation for themselves.
Of course, since boxing has been around for a longer time, there is more to discuss about this sport. Even though MMA also has its big stars like Conor McGregor, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, Ronda Rousey, or Georges St-Pierce, etc., most people (non sport fans) know nothing about the others but McGregor and Rousey.
On the other hand, everybody knows about Mike Tyson, a.k.a Iron Mike, Muhammad Ali, or Floyd Mayweather, which are all-time great boxers.
Nonetheless, MMA is expanding in growing and becoming more and more popular among gen Z. Boxing might have reached its peak a long time ago, but MMA is not anywhere close there. But even when it does, will it ever surpass boxing’s massive legacy? Time will answer this.
By far, the UFC is the only large organization that holds MMA events; there are smaller groups like Bellator or KSW, but they’re nothing compared to UFC.
On the contrary, there are currently four top-tier organizations that oversee boxing fights – namely WBO – World Boxing Organization, WBA – The World Boxing Association, IBF – the International Boxing Federation, and WBC – World Boxing Council.
Since MMA only has one major company, people aren’t offered enough options. For instance, if sports supporters are not big fans of MMA’s products, they can’t really choose anything else as the alternative belts are little.
The way that these two parties promote themselves is also far different from each other.
Everything related to MMA has to be in the control of UFC and fall under its banner, from fights, shows to events for fans. Meanwhile, boxing tasks all their events and shows to different promoters who can cooperate with others and specialize in setting up events.
In that way, boxing promoters will give more chances to boxing to reach more fans and other avenues. Don King and some other topmost promoters have been a great match for decades and able to build a lot of stars.
These promoters are also one of the main reasons why boxing is more popular than MMA. Rarely do any big promoters from the boxing world hold an MMA event or seek their way to enter the MMA world.
Still, things are not the same with the MMA promoters. Many evidence has shown that Dana White – the UFC matchmaker, is attempting to participate in some boxing event promotions.
In the early 2000s, America witnessed a rise of MMA gyms and claim-to-be owners and instructors who have fought for an assortment of fighting groups.
The big difference between MMA fighters and the training boxers is how they start training. Boxing fighters can learn at gyms from trainers who once fought at numerous levels, ranging from amateur to professional.
On the other hand, MMA fighters do not go on the same path to get into professional MMA. Most often, they compete for small, dodgy promotions just to get into the octagon easier.
Prestige and Media
Boxing has long held a place in the sports world, with top media outlets covering it. Top magazines, sports pundits, and even scripts in big Hollywood movies have supported boxing to make it a major sport.
Nonetheless, more media outlets have covered MMA in recent times. For instance, the United Kingdom’s BBC. However, MMA media influence is still nothing compared to boxing.
Ever since its debut, MMA was always seen as something more brutal than boxing. The rules for boxing are also less dangerous. Boxers can only use certain moves and tools, whereas, in MMA, it is far more unrestricted.
Nonetheless, the evidence tends to paint a different picture. According to the statistics, there were 60 deaths attributed to boxing in the past 15 years. Yet, only 4 in MMA from 1981 to 2007.
Boxing in MMA
Maybe it is brutal, yet people are obsessed with seeing each other fighting, punching, and knocking the other out. They love the intensity, the brutality of the knockouts brought to them.
That is why they fell in love with boxing in the first place and some fighters like Deontay Wilder or Mike Tyson. And, those who are fond of boxing tend to dislike watching MMA.
However, they may not know that in MMA nowadays, the fighters having the knockout power or use their hands frequently in fighting are extremely in favor. They are likely to get more promotion from their organizations—namely, Francis Ngannou, Conor McGregor, Johnny Walker.
Other fighters who don’t own that knockout power are still very sought-after and well-liked by the fans (like Alexander Gustafsson, the Diaz brothers).
Is it because the MMA fans are also boxing fans? We are not sure. Still, suppose boxing was the second most well-known battling sport just after MMA; people would still watch it the most.
Why is boxing more popular than MMA? We assume you must have an answer by now. Subsequently, we never know what the future holds; maybe MMA will surpass boxing one day.
With the vast growth of MMA, it has the chance of taking over boxing shortly. We give it 5 – 10 years until it reaches its peak and becomes more relevant than boxing. But for now, with a wider appeal, boxing is still taking the lead.
Thank you for reading.