Mixed Martial Arts today means a lot of different things to many different people.
Some think it is fluid and exciting.
Others believe it is barbaric and no better than the gladiator fighting of ancient Rome.
Today the debate rages: Is the UFC sport and entertainment separately or sport entertainment?
The UFC today is drastically different from its early days. There are more rules, refs, judges and weight classes. The quality of the fighters has improved, as nearly none are now one-dimensional martial artists.
All of these changes have vastly improved the quality of the product that now finds its way into many homes across the world.
I believe the UFC has shown itself to be sport entertainment. The aspects of the martial arts, combined with the drama and stories of the fighters have meshed into a very real and viable product.
You can't have one without the other. It's about the fighters combining martial arts and using them to create a fluid working style for them. But it's also about the entertainment and expression that these fights bring, both to fellow fighters and fans watching.
A perfect example is what happened after Jose Aldo defeated Chad Mendes. He used a beautiful display of technique and landed a knee that knocked him out. Aldo was so overcome with emotion afterward, that he decided to celebrate with his countrymen and women, by leaping into the crowd.
Just as fighters have many ways to win, they also have many ways to expressive themselves.
From leaping into the crowd, to climbing on top of the cage, to falling down on the mat overcome with emotion. The UFC is a sport and a show. Fans come to see both aspects.
As fans, we're so used to seeing a fighter just go out and fight. But whenever they express how they feel in the cage or outside of it, we are seeing a more human side to them. Fighters today are as much fighters as they are performers. That's why the UFC is today classified as sport entertainment.
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