An Open Letter to Brent Brookhouse and the UFC

Paul MagnoCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2009

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 18: Bernard Hopkins of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania enters the ring for a light heavyweight bout against Kelly Pavlik of Youngstown, Ohio at Boardwalk Hall on October 18, 2008 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Brent Brookhouse from recently took it upon himself to call me out in public, picking through my recent article entitled "Debunking the Myth of UFC Dominance."

Since Mr. Brookhouse is harder to reach than Obama, I figured I'd write the response on Bleacher Report and pray that he can navigate around the crayon marks on his screen to get here.

So, here's my open letter to Brookhouse:


So, you're a boxing fan? Fine.

Kinda like Dana White, eh? You know, White loves boxing too...that is, until he starts to rip it apart (as he does in pretty much every interview).

I think it's time that the boxing community finally stood up and defended itself from attack after attack launched by the UFC crew. For too long boxing has taken the high road and not even addressed the lame, baseless bombs lobbed at us whenever the UFC has a PPV coming up and wants a cheap headline to put themselves over.

But, as far as I'm concerned, I won't put up with it and I hope others will join the cause in defending boxing and stopping the bad press that actually does affect our sport. Like I said, a lie told often enough eventually becomes truth.

What I find odd is that the one part of the article that most MMA fans find most disturbing is the one about who has the more recognizable athletes. I think within their respective communities, the answer as to the fame of each fighter would be different.

Mainstream America, generally, doesn't know any of these guys, but between the two, boxing is the one that has fostered more mainstream names and faces. There is no debate. Randy Couture is big within MMA circles...However, I wouldn't know him from Adam. I bet the average MMA fan/boxing hater can recognize Oscar De la Hoya.

In my article, I didn't even mention the most recognizable boxers and didn't even touch on all-time recognizable fighters. I compared six fighters (three from boxing and three from the UFC) who were about at the same level of career achievement.

If we want to go to greats from the recent past as well as present like Randy Coutre, Chuck Liddell, and Brock Lesnar; I would counter with Mike Tyson, Oscar De la Hoya, and Evander Holyfield...and the debate would be over quicker than a Lesnar-Pee Wee Herman bout.

But this is the silliest argument that could be raised. Both are fringe sports at this time and no matter how hard White pushes his agenda, it won't make his guys household names.

The real point of my article was to point out the sheer silliness of a company that produces so little, so few real bouts, has such a small roster, and is targeted to such an isolated demographic group and yet makes the claim that it's killing boxing or even feel bold enough to take shots at its elder cousin.

Brent, where you completely drop the ball is in the fact that you fail to recognize the difference between marketing and reality, still chanting the UFC mantra that boxing is an ailing sport, despite  numbers which do not show that at all.

I'm glad that you pointed out that UFC 100 had a better live gate than the Tomasz Adamek-Bobby Gunn card in Newark. Wow, that must make Joe Rogan absolutely giddy...So, let's drop Adamek-Gunn and see how the UFC 100 live gate compared to some of boxing's live gates.

From looking at the records of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, UFC 100, if it were a boxing show, would be the 36th biggest live gate in Nevada history...36th!

That's just about 13 million shy of the largest live gate (De la Hoya vs. Mayweather). So, how is that proof that the UFC is "clearly dominant in the combat sports world?"

And when we talk PPV, it's clear and obvious that boxing, even when putting forth just one big fight per show at a greater price, can outsell the UFC with its half dozen "meaningful" bouts.

If you don't believe it, just look up and down the list of the top PPV buy rates and you will find many more boxing shows at the top than UFC shows. Again, odd evidence that the UFC is "clearly dominant in the combat sports world."

You might want to re-think that summary, champ. You should say: "The UFC is out in front in the combat sports world with American, white males ages 16-24."

The UFC has created a demand within its target group and, really, aside from a couple shows here and there, the only way to really see the sport is by buying the PPV. That, right there, should throw all boxing vs. UFC debates right out the window.

When the UFC can put out six to 10 live television shows with undercards per month, they can talk the talk. Until then, they are a small-time business that is very good at reaching their target demographic, very good at selling their shows to them, and very good at making it seem like they are some giant force taking over the world.

But not "clearly dominant in the combat sports world."

Actually, given the amount of time and energy spent promoting upcoming PPVs, their numbers should be bigger...especially since the PPV shows are one of the few ways you will ever see live UFC matchups.

Imagine if Major League Baseball decided to air one game per month on PPV? It would flop since there is so much baseball action to be seen live and free. Now, take all live baseball off the airwaves and hype the pine tar out of that one monthly PPV much better would that MLB PPV sell?

Same deal with boxing.

If boxing were to follow the UFC's lead and replace all live fights with "Best of" battles and infomercials about the upcoming PPV, they would crush any numbers the UFC could produce...As a matter of fact boxing has crushed the best UFC numbers anyway...

If there were no way to see live boxing other than through a monthly PPV, boxing would produce more than a million buys per show, even on an off month like August and with the card I mentioned in my original article.

The fact of the matter is that, while the UFC is good at delivering its target group and good at selling their shows to them, peel away the marketed image and you will see a small time operation when compared to the entire scope and size of boxing.

The UFC squad taking on boxing is as laughable as my grandma threatening to run Walmart out of business with her yearly garage sale. It's like my weekend softball league wanting to run Major League Baseball out of town.

Boxing and MMA can exist peacefully together as long as the UFC goons stop talking nonsense to ignorant sports talk show hosts and stop pushing their product by trying to tear ours down.

Boxing has its problems, but they are brought on by the same elements that will eventually plague the UFC as it expands and is seen by the commissions as a real sport. Excessive regulation and sleezy promoters/managers/agents handcuff boxing as they soon will when/if the UFC decides to join (or is forced into) the world of real sports

As long as attacks are made, counter punches will be thrown...and not sloppy, amateurish MMA-style punches, but real knockout shots.

Brent, you did your best to walk the fence, but you ended up falling right into a steaming pile of Dana White.

Hugs and Kisses,

Paul Magno