The Future of Mixed Martial Arts

Hershey BarberContributor IAugust 1, 2008

The future of Mixed Martial Arts is something I think a lot of us have thought about. Back in the old UFC days, I think a lot of fans wondered if something like this could ever land a TV deal or even reach out and draw so many fans like is has today.

The sport has grown from an all-out fight to an actual sport with rules and regulations. It's more legit. Still, people bash it and say it has no place on TV, or even in America.

I honestly do not think it will ever be banned. I could see some major hardships if there happens to be a death in an actual fight, but I don't think it will banish the sport forever.

Now, the future of MMA organizations.

Right now, UFC is at the top of the food chain. It runs MMA. They've been around since the beginning and are not leaving any time soon. Heck, I know a lot of people that actually think MMA is called UFC, and aren't aware that it's just an organization.

A brand-new circuit, Affliction, made its debut a few weeks ago with its first event, "Banned." I thought it was a successful debut indeed, but it reminds me of when TNA came about in the wrestling world.

It was fresh, new, and exciting. But after a while, they just kept on signing old WWE and WCW wash-ups. I just hope we don't see old UFC wash-ups rule Affliction. They need to try and build up new talent and make them original.

Now, I'm not saying it's bad to sign former UFC or Pride fighters, because it's not. I enjoy watching guys like Fedor, Arlovski, and Barnett. It helps build the company and gain more viewers. 

My point is: build new talent in this sport. IFL has made some good fighters. Overall, UFC is the in the limelight of MMA. I don't think any other organization will ever be able to shut them down. I'm sure more organizations will try to come up and take them out. But as long as UFC has guys like Liddell, Anderson Silva, and B.J. Penn, that will never happen.

Lastly, the fighters.

What's to come of the new generation of fighters in MMA? What we've seen in MMA since its beginning are guys who come in from wrestling or boxing and just master one aspect of MMA.

For instance, Matt Hughes. He's always been a dominant wrestler fighting in MMA. Now we have guys like Marcus Davis who started out as just a good striker, but now has a full arsenal of submissions and a good ground game.

But just think about the kids who are training now. I've seen videos of seven-year olds that have excellent talent in striking, wrestling, and submissions. The new generation that is coming up is going to have resources to train in every aspect of the game, instead of just coming in as a wrestler or whatever.

This, of course, means for better fighters and better fights. Just think: You'll have two warriors in a fight that have both trained in jiu-jitsu, muay thai, and wrestling for their wholes lives and mastered them all. A back-and-forth fight for the ages. We have already begun to see this, but it can only get better from here.

MMA is still a growing sport, with a lot to prove to the general audience. MMA is already killing boxing, and, in time, it could even put WWE out of place. Only time will tell what is to come of this sport I love.

I foresee the best. In 15 years from now, when this sport has reached the Olympics, I wanna tell my children about "the old days" when this sport was still trying to break through.

Keep fightin', and remember, Cro-Cop still has the best kicks. ;)