The San Francisco Chronicle takes a deep look at the impact of The UFC
In the Sunday, November 26th edition of The San Francisco Chronicle, writer Tom Fitzgerald explores the astronimical growth of mixed martial arts, repeatedly pointing to last weekend's UFC card at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California, as a prime example.
Despite Fitzgerald's handful of less than subtle attempts to sensationalize the level of violence embraced by the sport with comments like "This is a sport that not only condones hitting a man when he's down; it rewards it," the analysis is, for the most part, fair and balanced as the author explores the current mixed martial arts craze amongst young males.
Interestingly enough, Fitzgerald goes beyond the usual and looks at everything from the sport's tattoo culture to the unique demographics of its fighters relative to those of their boxing counterparts.
"Unlike boxing, which is dominated in North America by African Americans and Latinos, the UFC stable has many white fighters. They come from college wrestling or martial arts backgrounds that traditionally attract more whites," he writes. Fitzgerald points to UFC champion Chuck Liddell's college degree in accounting and heavyweight contender Jeff Monson's degree in psychology as examples.
Of course, the level of threat that mixed martial arts poses to the future of professional boxing is discussed. While UFC President Dana White declares that the death of boxing is imminent, HBO Senior Vice President of Pay-Per-View, Mark Taffet, offers a far different perspective, pointing to the fact that, in 2006, his network enjoyed its second most successful year in the Pay-Per-View business since it entered it in 1991.
White is quoted in the article as saying, "People are fed up with all the BS and politics that happen in boxing. This sport is still so pure. You don't have all these different organizations, or 'This guy won't fight that guy because he wants too much money."
A lack of organizations in MMA? Please. That's sheer propaganda and an excellent attempt by Dana to deny that The UFC is facing more competition than ever. If anything, mixed martial arts has reached the point of over-saturation as evidenced by paid attendance figures at events of all sizes that have taken place within the last six to eight months.