10 Ways That the UFC Can Destroy Boxing

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2011

10 Ways That the UFC Can Destroy Boxing

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    It's no secret that boxing is the UFC's main competitor, and vice versa.

    Each sport has been aiming to conquer one another in order to capture the minds and wallets of each and every fight fan.

    The differences between the two sports are not as far apart as you may think.

    Boxing and mixed martial arts both incorporate strength, speed, cardio, top-notch training, dedication and the will to finish your opponent when the mind questions the outcome.

    Each fighter needs a killer's mentality in order to punish their opposition and keep the onlookers satisfied.

    But beyond the obvious similarities during the fights, MMA and boxing, more specifically the UFC and WBA, have been battling for combat supremacy for nearly 15 years in the limelight of a promotional war.

    At this point, with the decline of boxing looming in the near future, alongside the UFC's recent exploitation of broadcast television, MMA is destined to swallow boxing whole.

    Here are 10 things the UFC and Dana White can employ in order to deliver a knockout punch to the boxing world.

10. Waiting out the Storm

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    The fact of the matter is that there's never going to be another great heavyweight champion in boxing.

    Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have done their best to carry the sport in a time when followers and revenue is steadily declining.

    Ironically, they've done it without ever facing each other, which is something Muhammad Ali would of never dodged.

    Regardless, at this point in the sports world, the boxing community is never going to regroup and recover from what it once was.

    Talented boxers are faring better in mixed martial arts, and with the newly implemented attempt by the UFC to not only globalize the sport but make it available on network television, boxing is simply treading water.

    The forecast is calling for hail and heavy rain, and the UFC just has to weather the storm.

9. Creating a Women's Division

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    There have been many discussions as to whether the UFC should implement a women's division or not.

    As far the MMA world is concerned, and for that matter the people who want to capitalize on boxing's demise, creating a single women's division could do wonders for the UFC.

    Strikeforce has been doing it for a while now, and many of their female fighters have succeeded not only inside the ring, but out of it.

    Gina Carano, who has been Strikeforce's big ticket since 2006, has been featured on ESPN E:60, in ESPN The Magazine and has also posed for Maxim.

    The appeal of a women's division in the UFC may not attract interest of every male fan that considers themselves in-tune with MMA, but the company needs to move on without their consent.

    If the UFC was willing to create a female division, it could possibly adjust their public image of brutality, translate into more revenue and a broader spectrum for advertising and could easily attract female followers, which is something that boxing has never felt important enough to do.

8. Buying out Bellator

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    Bellator Fighting Championships is currently the UFC's main competition as far as American mixed martial arts is concerned.

    The company has made good ground on gathering a consistent fanbase and promoting all of their fights for free via MTV2 and Tr3s channels.

    Since its arrival onto the MMA scene back in 2008, parent company Viacom has been able to use Bellator's tournament style of fighting to attract viewers away from the UFC.

    CEO Bjorn Rebney has said that he's extremely interested in eventually getting Bellator on PPV, which is something that could instantaneously put some pressure on Dana White and company.

    In order for the UFC to gain complete control of the MMA scene and capitalize on an American monopoly, they'll need to buy-out Bellator.

    The UFC has done this before, buying-out Pride in 2007 and Strikeforce in March of this year.

    By once again using its stronghold on the MMA world, the UFC could not only get rid of its main competitor, but the company would adopt all of its fighters, making divisions and fights that more exciting.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's an inevitability.

7. Signing Fedor Emelianenko

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    When speaking on a worldwide basis, Fedor Emelianenko is one of MMA's most recognizable names.

    His appeal is simply off the charts.

    Fedor has been ranked one of the best heavyweights fighters in the world for nearly eight years.

    The UFC has tried to sign the bruising Russian on several occasions, lastly offering him a contract worth nearly $2 million per fight and an immediate matchup with Brock Lesnar, who was the UFC heavyweight champion at the time.

    Let's just say Dana White has been hot on his tail.

    However, Fedor was recently released from Strikeforce after losing three-straight fights.  But besides his recent lack of success, Fedor still possesses a name that's more promotable than any other heavyweight in the world, except maybe Lesnar and Alistair Overeem.

    If the UFC still wants to go after Fedor and bring European MMA fans along with him, they'll have to do it fairly quickly because the 35-year-old is not getting any younger.

6. Implementing a UFC HBO Show

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    This is one aspect of promoting fights in which boxing has truly soared above the UFC.

    Since 2007, boxing has teamed up with HBO in creating 24/7, which allows the sport to obtain a vast following through simply showcasing pre-fight training, daily activities and behind the scene outlooks of the world's best fighters.

    The series is currently airing its 12th collection of episodes.

    Now, while Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather have been the only main contributors in making the series a smashing hit, 24/7's dedication in promoting fights and creating buzz is second to none.

    The UFC does currently offer their own take of pre-fight promotions through their Countdown series.  However, the length and depth of the series simply doesn't compare to 24/7's weekly breakdown of each fighter.

    In the future, the UFC needs to team-up with HBO and establish themselves even further in the promotional aspect of pre-fight countdowns.

    Because when it comes down to it, the UFC offers a variety of fighters that have the ability to offer a series filled will entertainment and skill showcasing, unlike boxing's two-man show.

5. Overtaking the Pay-Per-View World

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    Just to stress the importance of obtaining an audience and improving the brand that the UFC so consistently tries to grow, here's a quick breakdown of recent PPV revenues.

     

    2008:

    Over five million viewers with seven of the top 10 PPV events

     

    2009

    Nearly eight million viewers with six of the top 10 PPV events

     

    2010

    Over nine million viewers with seven of the top 10 PPV events (record setting $411 million estimated revenue).

    As you can see, the UFC is on top of their game.

    Over the past three years, the company has maintained an edge over pro wrestling, and yes, boxing.  Boxing hasn't been able to touch the UFC as far as PPV revenue is concerned, and it's become a clear insight into the future of each sport.

    The UFC will always be able to promote and establish a solid PPV following revolving around plenty of marketable fighters, while boxing only incorporates a handful of well-known boxers who can carry the sport into the top 10 events of the year.

    After Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally decide to lace them up and fight, whether it's once or three times, boxing will no longer be able to contend with the UFC on a yearly basis.

    The only event heading into the next 10 years that can scratch its way into the top 10 PPVs of the year is WrestleMania, and that's not saying much.

4. Attracting Future Boxers to the UFC

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    One of the biggest ways the UFC can suffocate boxing is to attract future boxers to the sport of MMA.

    It's that simple.

    The UFC already showcases an array of fighters with highly respected boxing backgrounds, including heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos.

    If you ever watched one of dos Santos' fights you'll know why he's consistently given the title as the best boxer in the UFC.

    His hands are downright lethal, offering speed, power, consistency and the ability to end a fight at the drop of a hat (clearly evident by his KO of Cain Velasquez at UFC on FOX 1).

    Dos Santos may not be able to translate his boxing into a boxing ring and contend with some of the best heavyweights in the world, but his skills standing up just goes to show future boxers that the sport of MMA does in fact have a place for their talents.

    Some of the best mixed martial artists in the world were introduced to combat sports via boxing or kickboxing.

    The UFC would be able to absolutely corrupt the boxing system if they could somehow introduce future prospects of the sport to the world of wrestling, jiu-jitsu, Taekwando, kickboxing and more.

3. Legalizing MMA in New York

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    Personally, I still don't understand why a sports mecca like New York still refuses to accept MMA as a legitimate sport.

    They're easily falling behind other states that are grossing revenue, promoting the sport and joining the bandwagon through the efforts of the UFC.

    However, as recent as this month, Zuffa has filed a lawsuit against the state of New York in an effort to legalize the sport as soon as next year.

    The argument by Zuffa proves too relevant to dismiss, stressing the importance that mixed martial arts is in fact an expression of artistic ability, as well as comparing the sport's "brutality" to that of boxing.

    Once New York realizes that fending off  MMA organizations is a lost cause, the city will easily boost the popularity and revenue possibilities of the UFC by opening up its gates.

    Think about it. Would anything be sweater than watching Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva duke it out at Madison Square Garden?

    I didn't think so. Come on, New York.

2. Showcasing Jon Jones or Anderson Silva on FOX

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    When you take into consideration that the UFC had finally reached a mainstream audience by showcasing a fight on FOX, the event's success was remarkable.

    But when you consider the outcome of the fight in the eyes of an amateur fan, the event's success was simply marginal.

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm a huge follower of the UFC and know that a fight can end at any point.  But by offering the public one single bout that ended in the first round, you're simply failing to attract new fans and a broader audience.

    With that said, the possibilities that could emerge from the UFC broadcasting major fights on FOX are endless.

    However, Dana White and Joe Silva need to schedule a more prominent bout, one that will last more than one round and showcase what MMA is all about (think Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua from last Saturday at UFC 139).

    In the future, if the UFC can afford, which is the key word, to put Jon Jones or Anderson Silva on FOX, it could instantly obtain all the goals the company set out to achieve when they signed the seven-year broadcast network deal.

    Jones and Silva are easily two of the top well-known, promotable, skilled and pound-for-pound best fighters in the world. 

    Forget about the PPV revenues; it's time to use these guys to the UFC and FOX's advantage. 

1. Endorsing Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao

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    Let me start this off by saying that while I'm not a supporter of boxing, as far as defending it against the rise of MMA in America, I do in fact enjoy watching Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fights.

    Both guys are just awesome, as elementary as that sounds.

    But there's a problem with hyping up these two guys as much as boxing has. They've simply put all their eggs in one basket.

    Many boxing analysts have contributed in saying that a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao would not live up to the all-time potential that the boxing world's buzz has created.

    Pacquiao barely escaped his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez back on Nov. 12, and people tend to think that that fight ultimately lowered the expectations and appeal of a future bout with Mayweather.

    Regardless, the point here is that no matter what the fighters say, or their camps, this fight is going to happen. And that plays exactly into the UFC's hands.

    Once Pacquiao and Mayweather settle things in the ring (whether it's a one-sided fight or not), boxing will no longer have those two big names to sell, and frankly, that should scare the world of boxing.

    The UFC is growing so rapidly that they'll always have fighters to promote, ones that possess the ability to showcase top-tier talent on a yearly basis.

    On the other hand, boxing will no longer be able to shine in the spotlight of the media, unable to back certain names that simply can not live up to the past expectations of the sport.

    So as far as the UFC is concerned, they should want to fully endorse a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight, as it seemingly represents the final straw that will break boxing's back.