MMA: 6 Reasons Why the UFC Will Ultimately Beat the NFL
First the American sports world was enamored with Major League Baseball and its amazing figures. Over time baseball's popularity waned in favor of a new, more exciting sport: football. The National Football League eventually rose to prominence and became the single largest and most important sports entity in the United States.
The NFL still occupies the role of American sports hegemon, but it may one day be overtaken by a more entertaining, purer and edgier sport: mixed martial arts.
The UFC has grown leaps and bounds since it was purchased by Zuffa in 2001, and its growth has showed no signs of slowing.
Will the UFC dwarf the NFL in importance (in the United States) within the decade? Probably not. However, there are several reasons why the UFC is better suited for growth than the NFL and may just eclipse the league in popularity. What are they? Read and find out!
There Is No UFC Season
While the Super Bowl is the most celebrated event in American sports, it also has a sadder side; it represents the end of the football season!
While the NFL can only draw in fans during the fall and early winter, the UFC can hook them in all year long since the sport doesn't operate on a seasonal basis. There are UFC events at all times during the year, and this is just one of the things that makes it better and better suited for long-term growth.
The UFC has 12 months to recruit new fans while the NFL has less and MMA fans need not wait for months to get another fix of their sport; there are new events (and if not new events replays of old ones) several times a year.
No Lockout/Less Prima Donna Athletes in the UFC
Even though it seems that the lockout that has kept the NFL shut down since March is nearing an end, the whole situation has undoubtedly poisoned the NFL's image as well as the images of the players. As many said about the lockout, "Nobody wants to see millionaires argue with billionaires."
While the UFC hasn't been completely immune from contract and salary disputes in its history, it has never seen anything the likes of a total lockout the likes of which is happening in the NFL.
The fighters in the UFC are simply happy to be fighting for the UFC and to be getting paid to do what they love. Sadly, NFL players have lost this idealism and love for their sport; they are almost more bean counters than athletes now.
This poor attitude demonstrated by NFL players will only hinder the growth of football as well as efforts to preserve its popularity. The UFC really has no such issues and will only benefit as a result.
The UFC Has Devastating Hits
People watch NASCAR for the crashes, the UFC and boxing for the knockouts and they used to watch the NFL for the hits.
There was nothing in sports quite like a linebacker running over a receiver who dared to catch a ball over the middle of the field. However, those days are now gone in the NFL thanks to the barring of "devastating hits."
Where will people go now to get their fix of action? While some will just deal with the rule, others will still crave more and will wind up watching the UFC. The NFL's barring of devastating hits was one of the best ways the league could have aided the UFC's growth.
Specifically, this will have an impact on the UFC's key demographic, males age 18-34. Will testosterone-laden youths prefer to watch fighting or a game with no real great hits in which pass interference is called when a defensive back lays but a finger on a receiver?
The UFC Is Easier to Understand
When a fighter gets hit, falls to the ground and stops moving, anyone unfamiliar with the sport of MMA still knows enough to realize that fight is over and that it's called a knockout. The same can be said for many submission holds, people know the arm or leg shouldn't go a certain way and understand why a fighter taps out to most holds (barring the more esoteric ones).
The point is people can watch the UFC and immediately understand it; a choke or a knockout is easier to understand than a punt or a 4-3 defense. This fact is very important for the next point which is...
The UFC Has Great International Appeal While the NFL Has Almost None
Because fighting is intrinsic to humans all over the world, it makes sense that the sport of fighting would be able to achieve popularity wherever it went.
To paraphrase Dana White, fighting is part of humanity and of every culture. Because of this, the UFC has the potential to successfully expand to any country it chooses.
Can the NFL boast the same overseas success that the UFC has had? Of course not. The NFL's European bid was a failure. A European doesn't know anything about American football and doesn't want to know; (American) football has little, if any, appeal over there or in most places outside of the United States.
Thus, the UFC will continue to grow internationally and surpass the NFL in global popularity. The NFL-obsessed United States will simply be an island in a sea of global mixed martial arts—global UFC.
The UFC Will Only Get More Popular with Each Generation
Football is ingrained in American culture and in American tradition. Playing football is practically a right of passage for children all over the United States. People are raised on football.
These positive things cannot be said about MMA and the UFC...yet!
The fact of the matter is that the current generation of UFC fans will eventually become parents who will raise their children on the UFC brand. Those children will grow up and in turn raise their own kids on the sport until MMA will become part of the culture, like football.
Therefore, the NFL's greatest weapon against the UFC—its long lineage and special place in American sports—will grow weaker with each passing generation until the UFC finally eclipses the sports giant and takes its rightful place as the world's leading sports organization.