5 Things Boxing Must Learn from UFC on FOX 4
Saturday night I had the pleasure of attending the UFC on FOX 4 fight card at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
As a big fight fan, and a person who has trained in both the sport of boxing and in MMA, I am one of those rare, all around fight fans, that has love for both the sport of boxing and MMA, in a world where it seems you have to only love one or the other.
The main reason why I had an interest in attending the UFC on FOX 4 fight card was because I was a big fan of both the main event and co-main event fighters, Shogun and Machida.
From the pre-fight promotions, to the actual fight atmosphere, and post fight activities, I took notice to the reasons why the UFC is so successful and growing stronger to the mainstream as opposed to my personal favorite sport, boxing.
For those of you who have never been to a UFC fight, it is a bit of everything from a fight, to a rock concert, to even a DJ club party.
There is constant entertainment from the laser light shows, to the DJ constantly spinning good mash ups of rock and rap songs together between fights and down time, the UFC understands that they must keep the audience entertained at all times.
Many boxing fans may be also haters of the UFC, but there are definitely many things that boxing can and should learn from the UFC in order to win over new fans to their sport.
Here is a list of five things that boxing must learn from UFC on FOX 4.
Fox LA News Promoted the UFC on FOX 4
Prior to attending the UFC on FOX 4 card, we were pre-drinking in my hotel room suite downtown located across from the Staples Center, while watching FOX to make sure we did not lose track of time and miss the fights.
FOX was airing local KTTV FOX LA news prior to UFC on FOX 4 going live on air.
I was quite impressed for FOX LA News went from the usual everyday news to a whole entire segment on Vietnamese-American UFC fighter Nam Phan, who was fighting on the undercard, and who is from the local highly populated Vietnamese community of Westminster.
The segment went on for several minutes and it even provided Phan's back story and how he wants to be a role model for his community's youth by offering them alternatives to joining the many Asian gangs in his area.
This really made me think when was the last time the news did an entire segment on a boxer to promote not only his career but the sport of boxing?
I would have to go all the way back to the Don King days when Don King would appear next to a seated news anchor and would wave his flags and recite clever poems to convince everyone to buy his pay-per-view fight that weekend.
We just do not see that type of major promotion for the sport of boxing that we used to have back in the '90s and how the UFC so successfully executed Saturday.
It was good to see Phan get the exposure he did on KTTV FOX LA news, for not only his own career but for the UFC that night as well.
Phan won a split decision over his opponent Cole Miller Saturday night.
I also saw Phan dressed up nicely, like he was going to a wedding, after his fight and walking around cageside and fans, who recognized him from the hit reality show The Ultimate Fighter , and of course his Fight of the Night performances, were asking him for photos.
PS: Check out his post fight interview attached on this slide. Phan is a real humble guy and that lady interviewing him is real nice on the eyes. Boxing can always benefit from more class acts like Phan, and also some hot interviewers such as her would also be nice.
UFC Is Capturing the Attention of the Girls as Well
One thing you may notice at any given UFC fight is that there is a significant amount of hardcore female fans as well.
Take this fan, Daisy, for an example. She is a Shogun fan and was wearing the Brasil flag colors in support of him.
Saturday night, there were also African-American girls sitting right behind me screaming, "Go Brandon!" to cheer on Brandon Vera all throughout his fight with Shogun.
It was evident that there are many hardcore female UFC fans at Staples Center that night.
The UFC has done a great job getting the female fans interested in the sport, as more and more female fans come out and see their favorite fighters throw down in the octagon.
One of my business associates tells me that whenever he goes to his local UFC gym in Rosemead, he sees, "The finest fit hot chicks working out there!"
He tells me that not only are more female UFC fans watching and coming out to the fights, but they are training intensely at the UFC and MMA gyms as well.
Boxing does indeed have its share of hardcore female fans as well, generally speaking, predominantly within the Mexican and Mexican-American community, where boxing is huge.
However, boxing must find a way to tap into the wider female mainstream audience just as the UFC has been doing.
The addition of more exposure of female fighters to the fight cards may possibly be a good start.
UFC Offers Bonuses for More Exciting Fights
Many of us are still excited over that beast KO that Machida perfectly timed Bader coming in at 1:32 of the second round of their co-main event fight.
Bader seemed hesitant to really open up against the karate master but when he finally did, he paid for it big time and the fight was over instantly.
Surprisingly, Machida was not awarded "Knockout of the Night," and that $50,000 bonus went to Mike Swick's spectacular knock out of DaMarques Johnson.
$50,000 bonuses also went out to Jamie Varner for "Fight of the Night" bonus as well his victor Joe Lauzon, who not only was awarded $50,000 as well for "Fight of the Night" but also an additional $50,000 bonus for "Submission of the Night" as well.
Boxing has finally woken up a bit to this lucrative motivating incentive practice as well for Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya and even Top Rank Promotions president Todd duBoef have both invoked their own bonus reward incentive for "Best Knockout of the Night" as well.
The only difference is Dana White offers these three motivating well deserved bonuses for every single UFC card while Golden Boy and Top Rank have only just recently began offering incentive bonuses and also only for select major fight cards.
If boxing promoters want to motivate their fighters they must do so by offering much more lucrative bonuses for not only "Knockout of the Night," but also "Most Exciting Fight of the Night."
They can also even add a bonus for "Best Comeback of the Night" for when one fighter is getting dominated and losing so one-sided they just don't retreat into the ever-dreadful survival mode and bore all the fans in attendance and at home for wasting their time and even money.
Dana White Said Whoever Is More Exciting Tonight Will Get the Title Shot
Just as our last slide was all about motivation to provide a more entertaining and crowd pleasing UFC fight card, Dana White also stated that even though Shogun was fighting Vera in the main event and Machida fighting Bader in the co-main event, they both were in a sense fighting against one another yet again.
Basically White, the president of the UFC, stated prior to Saturday's UFC on FOX 4 that whoever is the more exciting and impressive fighter that night will earn the title shot against the UFC light heavyweight champion after the Sept. 1 Jones vs Henderson title match.
Machida was hands down the more crowd-pleasing fighter Saturday night by thoroughly dominating Bader and ultimately knocking him out with one-punch power to ignite the fans in the sold out Staples Center crowd, making the main event of Shogun vs. Vera very hard to follow and not able to live up to.
Shogun looked like a veteran fighter who may have been in too many wars Saturday night. He also looked gassed by the end of round one and let Vera come back throughout the fight while a younger prime Shogun would have probably blown him away with much ease.
Everyone could agree that Machida definitely deserved the title fight against the Jones/Henderson winner.
This is a far more fair and rewarding practice that boxing should follow as well.
How many times have we seen a boxer fight in such a horrible cautious manner against a mandatory or worse a tune up fight just because they know the huge pay day super mega fight is next should they get past their current opponent?
Every boxer usually either calls out or compares them self to the biggest names in boxing such as Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather almost for the publicity and attention that it is guaranteed to bring to them.
Why not have the boxing promoters and even HBO and Showtime follow Dana White's practice of who entertains and impresses the most shall deserve the big title fight next or big super payday fight next?
By doing so, that will guarantee the boxers to really give it their all if they want to secure that next huge fight.
UFC on FOX Is Much Bigger Than Anything Boxing Has Done Recently for the Public
Finally obviously UFC on FOX pretty much owns anything that the sport of boxing has done recently for the greater mass appeal of the wider free public audience.
The major top networks: FOX, ABC, CBS, and NBC are the four major networks that compete for the top network spot year after year, quarter after quarter.
The fact that UFC has partnered up with Fox is just phenomenal for the UFC and obviously they have just wrapped their fourth fight together.
Boxing recently has not been able to make a home or at least a partnership with any of the four major networks, but they should.
When you see the intro to UFC on FOX, it's hardcore!
They not only used the same graphics and effects as they do for NFL, but they also morphed both the UFC and the NFL together basically making the bold claim that UFC should be considered a real true sport just like the NFL.
That is huge for the UFC!
Why the hell is boxing not doing the same thing on a major network as well?
FOX for the most part is known for being the cool, hip, network with cutting edge programming and a younger demographic of audience.
By partnering up with the UFC, FOX really reclaims their image of being cool and hip.
Back in June, I wrote a piece titled: Putting Canelo's Next Fight On CBS Might Actually Hurt Boxing More Than Help It.
In that piece, I explained that Canelo is a technical fighter and because he is not the most exciting and entertaining fighter, he may get highly criticized by the non-boxing fans for being too boring should he fight in a technical manner against an opponent that goes to the judges' scorecards.
Again just as this slide show points out, boxing should follow the many key things that Dana White has done with the UFC to assure that it will be entertaining for not the boxing fans, but more importantly the non-boxing fans, and that is by motivating the fighters to perform more exciting and impressively. To go for the knockouts.To go for the Fight of the Night bonus.
Boxing must make its way back to one of the four major networks very soon and it must win over a new generation of fans.
The top promoters such as Golden Boy and Top Rank must put on their most exciting fighters and motivate them with big bonuses for Knockout of the Night and Fight of the Night among other incentives for turning it up for the major network audience of non-boxing fans.
If boxing can partner up with a major network and put on some great thrilling wars with some beast KO's, then they will win over a new generation of fans and a wider audience like the UFC has done so successfully.
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