MMA Is Not the New Boxing

By Johnathan Lee Iverson on February 5, 2015
MMA Is Not the New Boxing
Even the likes of Max Kellerman has taken it upon himself to act as a defender of MMA.

Decked out in his Las Vegas mansion, Floyd Mayweather, boxing’s biggest draw, is beating his chest and declaring, “I told y’all!”

The very sport that was ordained by every fair-weather fight fan and would be expert to over take the Sweet Science as the new mainstream gold standard of the fighting arts finds itself embroiled in a scandal that makes it look nothing like the evolution of pugilism it’s been touted to be.

One by one by one they fail. Jon “Bones” Jones, the Chosen One, the would-be future of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has tested positive for cocaine. Veteran Nick Diaz test positive for marijuana, and none other than Anderson “The Spider” Silva test positive for anabolic steroids. Even Major League Baseball bothered to give us time to breathe between scandals. When combatants within the same contest are shown to be playing dirty, it is clear that MMA has a serious problem; and its biggest name, its sport’s standard, the UFC, clearly is in desperate need of a higher degree of ethics.

I can only imagine that somewhere in his decked out mansion in Las Vegas, boxing’s biggest draw is beating his chest and declaring, “I told y’all!” If the biggest names in the UFC are being caught, one can only imagine how rampant this issue actually is. Someone had to know. In fact, that someone was none other than George St. Pierre, who famously stepped away from the sport because of his very vocal concerns regarding what seems to be an epidemic in MMA. Like boxing’s Floyd Mayweather, St. Pierre called for far more stringent, even Olympic style drug testing to be incepted in his sport—even offering to pay for it.

Boxing, we are told before every major pay-per-view event, needs to be saved. No matter how ridiculous that statement is, as its been repeated for a number of decades now, it is somehow regurgitated to conjure some sense of frantic urgency within those of us who hold the sport in such high esteem. Somehow, since the emergence of the UFC it has been common speak among would-be insiders that “it is only a matter of time before we bid farewell to boxing.” Even the likes of Max Kellerman, among others, has taken it upon himself to act as a defender of Mix Martial Arts, the UFC in particular when some of boxing’s very own have called it anything but legitimate.

Boxing has its flaws, and one might argue this may be the pot calling the kettle black, but those flaws are hardly the sins of its participants. As we carefully consider the despicable events of late within the UFC, those within the boxing community who have routinely dismissed Mix Martial Arts as an illegitimate farce might very well be right.

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  1. Aztec Warrior 07:10pm, 02/08/2015

    And the winner by unanimous decision….And still undefeated….Clarence George !!!!!!!

  2. Clarence George 05:15am, 02/08/2015

    Ah, but that’s not really what I meant, CrashStitches.  Rather, I was musing about the use of such means as chokeholds and armlocks in a sporting event, even though a combat sport.  You have that in judo, sure, but that’s more an exhibition of skill.  In MMA, it’s part and parcel of the crassest violence.  In defending one’s girlfriend from some back-alley creep, yes, but to entertain the masses?  What’s next, Thunderdome?

  3. CrashStitches 10:07pm, 02/07/2015

    Galvar, gloves and wraps protect bones and skin. A hard punch in a 16 oz glove will rattle your brain with twice the glove weight of an 8 oz, actually. It protects the skin better, but not the brain. Thud is still there.

    GMoney, brass I have aplenty. It’s gold I’m sadly lacking.

    Clarence, the embarrassment you feel while watching MMA is actually caused by your subconscious. It’s shaming you for not knowing the mechanics of how fights work. You can lambast kicking as “dirty” and laugh about lives being on the line…but people actually do die in the boxing ring, so not sure what made you feel that line of reasoning is sturdy enough to flex from.

    All this pissing about is actually kinda fun. Unlike on other boxing and MMA sites (where I get attacked for defending both sports), nobody has attacked my sexuality or mother yet.

  4. Galvar 08:37pm, 02/07/2015

    Gloves are a very big part of how much damage a punch can cause.  The thinner the gloves, the more it hurts.  I agree that maybe thicker gloves won’t prevent the knockout but it sure seems like there’s more first round KOs in MMA than there is in boxing.

  5. Mark A. Jones 06:16pm, 02/07/2015

    MMA offers female fighters far greater opportunities than does boxing particularly in the United States where women’s boxing is a niche sport. In the late 90s and the early portion of the previous decade, women’s boxing in the US enjoyed its greatest popularity when Ali, Martin, and St. John were promoted well and placed on significant fight cards. On their coattails, some lesser known fighters were giving prime placement on similar fight cards. Since the retirement of Laila Ali, women’s boxing has been just an afterthought to most boxing promoters in the US.
    Recently, Ronda Rousey (135 lbs.) has headlined pay for view cards in the UFC in front of capacity crowds. As a result, the UFC has developed another weight class for female fighters (115 lbs.) and other MMA companies have hired female fighters. MMA is a boom for female combatants.

  6. Brian Williams 03:44pm, 02/07/2015

    I boxed, wrestled and have done MMA. I used to spar with Bruce Lee occasionally and have gotten some work with Chuck Norris. I feel that boxing, MMA, and wrestling are all fine sports.

  7. The Naitch 02:46pm, 02/07/2015

    I think GSP is more well known than GGG, however, RVD is better known than both G-men. Does that mean that “rasslin” is numero uno. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 16-time World Heavyweight Champion and my shoes cost more than that double-wide you are livin’ in pal. I have my suits custom made at Michaels in Kansas City, ya pork rind eatin’ jabronis. There ain’t a boxer been born that can style and profile like the Nature Boy. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! When the Naitch is in town, things are goin’ down.

  8. Clarence George 02:38pm, 02/07/2015

    Ducking, NYI, to the point of a perpetual crouch.

    I know…all that kicking.  Most unseemly.  I’ve had a few fights in my time (but only when it proved impossible to make a quick exit, either stage left or stage right), and have witnessed even more.  In addition to everything else…the embarrassment of it all.  That’s my reaction when I watch MMA—I’m embarrassed.  I like a dirty fighter—Fritzie Zivic, Tony Galento, Sandy Saddler—but only in the context of the Sweet Science.  Otherwise, it’s just plain ugly.  Kicking, chokeholds, armlocks…jeez!  Is somebody’s life at stake over here?  It has its place, of course, in the WWE, which is exactly why they call pro wrestling “sports-entertainment.”  But to each his own, to quoth the Bard.

    Speaking of legs…Requiescat in pace, lovely (and disgracefully neglected) Lizabeth Scott.

  9. NYIrish 12:28pm, 02/07/2015

    R U ducking Clarence? With MMA you gotta watch the legs too!

  10. Kid Blast 12:24pm, 02/07/2015

    WTF, I left when there were 10 posts. Then a fight broke out, Love to watch it (err read it).

  11. GMoney 07:48am, 02/07/2015


    I think it takes some brass for you to call out dude’s qualifications as a writer, thereby calling out the integrity of this site for which you seem to not get enough of. You don’t write, Who are you to speak on the blogger’s ability based on 1 article you have issue with? That’s “sophomoric” and illogical.

    I can respect you criticizing, even challenging his opinions or the tenor of the piece, but for you a non-writer to say: “and how does this level of sophomoric, sniping writing even come to be on a writing staff of a major sport website? The comments are routinely more informed and more eloquent than some of this particular guy’s stunted “articles” that for some reason qualify to be read worldwide. I guess the old adage about who you know being more useful than what you know is true.”

    I doubt you’ve bothered to read much of his work to even make such a ridiculous comment. We all criticize on here, fighters namely. But, none of us are silly enough to question the dignity or qualifications of those fighters being most of us are mere out of shape wannabes:)

    You can have your opinion. Make your defense and not look like a fanatic.

  12. CrashStitches 07:03am, 02/07/2015

    Galvar, that’s actually not at all how it works.

  13. Galvar 06:53am, 02/07/2015

    Boxing is much more interesting since it takes a lot of skill and/or power to knock someone out when you have padded gloves.  MMA gloves are thin and allows for maximum punch damage so matches end too quickly sometimes.

  14. Critical Beatdown 09:47pm, 02/06/2015

    I will always love boxing more than MMA. It’s a personal preference and yes, the history of the sport, the fact that its narrative provides us a way of looking back not only at great athletes and personalities, but also at the American experience itself, makes it more compelling than MMA ever will. That being said, criticizing MMA because someone got caught smoking weed is a pretty weak argument. It’s about on par with getting caught drinking a few beers. No, it’s not a gateway drug (debunked years ago) and it provides no discernible competitive advantage (other than being able to chill the fuck out while listening to Pink Floyd or Tribe Called Quest). Cocaine, for that matter, probably only benefits a person for the few hours they’re high, not the day after. Steroids are another story, obviously. What’s less appealing to MMA for me is that it ends up being two athletes with a legit chance at beating the other senseless VERY QUICKLY. This is possible in boxing too, no doubt. But MMA could never consider a 12-round format. This alone means boxing wins every time.

  15. CrashStitches 09:28pm, 02/06/2015

    It says right on the graphic “boxing vs MMA, a losing war.” That’s pretty accurate. When suckers pit one vs the other, they both lose.

  16. CrashStitches 09:26pm, 02/06/2015

    Barker, you must be high. You accuse me of trying to read minds, then in the same breath you try to read mine. Please tell me what “my sport” is, considering I watch about 10x as much boxing as MMA or kickboxing. I just happen to know horsefeathers when I see ‘em, and you’re here using them to try to fly.

  17. ChinChecker 09:25pm, 02/06/2015


    Actually, I am quite the fighter in a number of disciplines, boxing being one of them. However, that’s neither here nor there. You repeatedly use the word “sophomoric” to describe the post while behaving in such fashion.

    Let’s deal in the world of fact:
    -MMA has a rampant drug issue. An issue so pervasive that one of its most notable stars would step away in protest. Do you dispute this?

    Perhaps the tone maybe condescending, but your outrage is misdirected. In the span of two months 3 major fighters in the MMA have been exposed 2 in the same fight. Realistically the other stuff doesn’t matter. As a fighter this outrages me that the most prominent figures of this sport are behaving in such a manner. That’s the problem. Not a blogger who points it out.

  18. The Barker 09:14pm, 02/06/2015


    Respectfully, that was a terrific dodge and rather delusional. More than enough facts are presented in this post. You just don’t like them which is exactly why you duck addressing them by not answering. ChinChecker’s question.

    You “challenged the…whiny…snippy tone?” Seriously? You’re a mind reader now?  You know exactly what this writer was thinking? I think you simply reacted to the realities of your sport being exposed.

  19. CrashStitches 08:55pm, 02/06/2015

    @ChinChecker: do you box? What does it matter? You’re not fighting here, and I’m not the snarky blogger. I’m the annoying commenter. As far as accuracy, I never did challenge any “facts” because none were presented, aside from the obviously hyperbolic and erroneous statement that “we are told before every PPV that boxing needs to be saved.” He also referenced anonymous boxing insiders that MMA is not legit. Oh wow, big scoop there. I challenged the sophomoric level of the blog’s concept, and the whiny, sniping style. Since I’m not getting a byline or a check, it doesn’t matter if I’m a writer here. This is an opinion piece, and I’m responding with opinion. Care to bark up a tree with some game in it?

  20. ChinChecker 08:28pm, 02/06/2015

    BTW @CrashStitches,

    Do you write?

  21. ChinChecker 08:25pm, 02/06/2015


    While you continue to attempt to demean this blogger, would you kindly answer my question from my previous post? Please point out one inaccuracy from the writer?

  22. CrashStitches 08:11pm, 02/06/2015

    ChinChecker, sure he’s just elaborating on what some in the community are saying. The same as Jerry Springer was just reporting on what some in those communities were saying. It’s pandering to the lowest common denominator, and I assume it’s because it’s a cheap rah-rah way to get agreement and “likes” from the unwashed masses that don’t want to have to think too hard about saying “YEAH WE TOLD YOU MMA HEATHENS THAT THE NOBLE SPORT IS KING.”

    MMA fans who say it’s bigger than boxing are just as insane as the boxing fans who call MMA “a glorified street fight” or “dudes rolling around in their underwear.” That’s debate at the most ignorant level, but it’s also the most common level on the web.

  23. CrashStitches 08:04pm, 02/06/2015

    GMoney, yeah, good guess. I’m a huge boxing fan and a huge mma fan, also a huge kickboxing fan and any other combat sports. Clarence, you’re hilarious. Let’s be careful calling MMA “dirty” from the sidelines of the dirtiest sport in history. Those falling shards of your house are more dangerous than the stones you’re tossing from within its confines.

  24. GMoney 07:28pm, 02/06/2015

    Somebody really loves MMA on here:)

  25. The Barker 07:22pm, 02/06/2015

    Brock Lesner was a star, in fact perhaps the biggest star the UFC has had. He came directly from fake fighting. That tells me about all I need to know about the “sport.”

    No one doubts these fighters are skilled and hard working, yada yada yada, great practitioners of “chaos unfolding in real time,” but stick to the point at hand. The sport is obviously dirty. It’s had ample warnings from one of its most decorated champions, yet no one took heed. When your biggest names are caught red handed something is wrong. @CrashStitches, all I’m saying is don’t blame a blogger for bringing up what zealous fans do not want to address and obviously what the sport itself has yet to get serious about.

  26. ChinChecker 07:05pm, 02/06/2015

    Ding, Ding, Ding!

    @Barker & @CrashStitches,

    Did you both not read the rules? Keep it cool and respectful.

    Personally, I could care less for MMA. It’s nothing more than a glorified street fight. I find it laughable that someone said “MMA has overtaken boxing.” The richest fighter they’ve ever had is St. Pierre and he’s worth a paltry $12million. Mayweather pisses that in a night at DeJaVu.

    I do agree with Barker, no need to insult the writer unless you, CASHSTITCHES can cite where he is factually incorrect. I didn’t read any such thing. In fact, I think he’s only elaborating on what many have already stated, even within the sport.

  27. CrashStitches 06:43pm, 02/06/2015

    Hilarious how Iverson also attempts to demean Max Kellerman for defending MMA. Kellerman, a true and successful journalist at the highest level of the sport, is obviously on a different level than this blogger who attempts to defame him over a juvenile manufactured beef between sports (for whom the vast majority of actual professional participants respect the others).

  28. CrashStitches 06:40pm, 02/06/2015

    Barker, that’s your failing, which is your own issue. Funny how you diss me for “downing” the blogger, pretending to take the high road…yet you insult my intelligence as well as the entire sport of MMA. Is your own brand a flavor you can’t swallow? It seems not, as you’re vomiting it in my lap.

  29. The Barker 06:05pm, 02/06/2015

    Both sports are in desperate need of national commissions.

  30. The Barker 05:54pm, 02/06/2015


    Your lust for that crap sport irks me. I can’t even respect your “opinion” when it comes at the expense of others. MMA has simply not lived up to the hype. Furthermore, just because the writer doesn’t corroborate your fondness for the MMA doesn’t discredit his skill as a writer. It actually shows more about your lack of intelligence to just soberly defend your argument without attempting to down the writer. He’s written a number of articles for which I disagree. Some are good, some I could care less for. I can say that for many of the writers here.

  31. Clarence George 03:22pm, 02/06/2015

    CrashStitches:  I appreciate and respect your eloquent and spirited defense of MMA, but its appeal remains as incomprehensible to me as physics.  I’m not disputing that skill is involved, but it’s the kind of thing one does when attacked in a dark alley.  The only thing missing is biting.  Thank God for mouthguards!  I’ve watched many MMA bouts, and the only thing I found appealing about any of them is the occasional presence of exuberant ring announcer Duke Wellington.  I’m with Jake LaMotta, who’s anything but dainty:  “When they hit you on the floor?  That doesn’t make any sense, it’s savage.  It’s out of control, I still think the regular way is the best way.”

  32. CrashStitches 02:58pm, 02/06/2015

    ...and how does this level of sophomoric, sniping writing even come to be on a writing staff of a major sport website? The comments are routinely more informed and more eloquent than some of this particular guy’s stunted “articles” that for some reason qualify to be read worldwide. I guess the old adage about who you know being more useful than what you know is true.

  33. CrashStitches 02:53pm, 02/06/2015

    Clarence, the fact that you believe MMA to be “nothing but jumped-up barroom brawling” indicates your extreme lack of knowledge of fighting and human combat. I bet you know boatloads about boxing, but don’t let your distaste for style override your common sense. Boxing is beautiful and intensely scientific, and it stands on its own merits both aesthetically and historically, utterly without need to discredit other sports. MMA has contributed a lot to really bad fashion and a lot of fratboy attitudes during its growth spurts, but the arts involved are very technical and involved, and the elite fighters in MMA are wonderful to watch operate. Any good student of fighting knows that A: styles make fights, and B: a fight is chaos unfolding in real time, and it’s not always a ballet. Bummer that so many entrenched fans of both sports just shut their eyes to the brilliance of the other. Be that as it may, it’s certainly a human failing, not that of the sport. The failings of the sports both lie in their judging and administration, IMHO.

  34. Clarence George 04:15am, 02/06/2015

    In the words of Ed McMahon:  You are correct, sir.

    MMA is nothing more than jumped-up barroom brawling, and it’s unlikely that its fans can be scandalized by any turpitude, least of all something as mundane as drug use.

    I would add that nothing has rendered boxing the devastated vineyard it is more than the proliferation of meaningless titles.  One champ per weight division (and there should only be eight), that’s the ticket.

    No reason for Kellerman to look surprised.  After all, he’s a boxing commentator…he should be inured to any and all nonsense.

  35. NYIrish 04:54pm, 02/05/2015

    So MMA has a scandal. That is going to change it’s status ? That seems to be a faulty premise. Pro boxing has had more “scandals” than you could wave a glove at. Boxing is not in trouble due to moral turpitude. It’s boring fights and lackluster boxers winning questionable decisions ad nauseum that run off the fans. Although bad decisions have a moral component.
    I agree that MMA has longevity. It’s been happening in caves, prairies, whorehouse hallways and saloon floors since people showed up. A scandal or two wont hurt it.
    And why does Max Kellerman always look surprised?

  36. CrashStitches 12:50pm, 02/05/2015

    MMA is still very new as a sport and it has tons of issues. It also has a much different promotional structure. It’s been around basically 21 years, and only about 14 of that is under unified rules in the US. PrideFC and some overseas orgs used different rules until 2007 (and One FC still uses modified rules). The sport and its fighters are still evolving and are somewhat embryonic. Boxing has been popularly established in public conscience since the days of John L, and the closest thing MMA has had to that kind of mainstream star have been people like Ken Shamrock, Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, and Jon Jones, and Lesnar was the biggest. It’s a different sport and it’s evolving. It will not “take over” or “shut down” boxing, and any MMA fans who say that are just as ignorant as the boxing fans who still cry about grappling being “gay” and Kicking being dirty.
    Baseball writers don’t write about how cricket sucks. NFL journalists don’t piss on Rugby Union. Why are half-cocked boxing bloggers still writing about this completely manufactured rivalry? Even the subterranean level of journalism that MMA carries has moved on from this kind of garbage.
    As a passionate lover and lifelong obsessive with boxing, kickboxing, karate, and later judo and MMA, I get sick to death when I see this junk perpetuated by people in the industry (even as peripheral to business as a blogger may be), because it’s tantamount to politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths and stirring up the common people against each other.

  37. Eric 11:05am, 02/05/2015

    Boxing would do well to adopt the MMA type of weight classifications. MMA has a limit of 265lbs on heavyweight class which I don’t agree with, but the other classes make since. light heavy at 205, middleweight at 185, welterweight at 170, etc. are more realistic in this day and age of the larger modern athlete. Plus, no super or junior bullsh*t weight classes seperated by the weight of a 5lb bag of sugar.

  38. The Naitch 10:07am, 02/05/2015

    Wrestling is a real man’s sport and I was a 16 time World Champion. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  39. Kid Blast 09:29am, 02/05/2015

    Crash, you need some anger management therapy mate.

  40. Eric 09:12am, 02/05/2015

    MMA has surpassed boxing, it isn’t the “new boxing.” Sorry but even though I love both sports, but MMA surpassed boxing back in the late ‘90’s. The only few boxers who are known outside of the boxing world are probably FMJ and Pac, and Oscar De LaHoya, who doesn’t even fight anymore.

  41. Eric 09:04am, 02/05/2015

    IF you think that steroids and/or PEDs aren’t being USED by the majority of fighters in MMA and boxing, you are only kidding yourself. Recreational drugs like pot or cocaine? Please, like boxers aren’t using those either. Tony Ayala even admitted to still using heroin while he was in training back in the day. We are not talking choirboys or boy scouts here. Look at the late Johnny Tapia, or Bobby Chacon’s drug and alcohol problems. You think fighters like Hector Camacho were drinking milk and eating cookies? I enjoy both sports but MMA has surpassed boxing because it is a purer form of actual realistic fighting. The boxing heavyweight champion does not hold the mythical title of, “toughest man alive” anymore. That was a huge part of the appeal of boxing. MMA has a long way to go to match the history of drama, but as football surpassed baseball as our national pastime, MMA has surpassed boxing in the “combat” sports. Boxing, like baseball, has been upstaged by a more physical sport. I still love baseball and football, and I will always enjoy boxing and MMA.

  42. CrashStitches 08:20am, 02/05/2015

    This is 2015, not 1997. Boxing vs MMA is a stupid argument for limited minds, and only limited minds are still comparing the two. Get the heck over yourselves, you sound like gloating brats. Do we need to go over the boxing drug and abuse scandals of the last decade, not the least of which is May serving time for domestic? Either appreciate the damn sports for what they are, or just ignore them. No need to cry and throw your toys because you’re a spoiled one-sport territorial brat.

  43. Kid Blast 08:16am, 02/05/2015

    Just an observation but it might be a generational thing. As the young fans grow up, they will treat MMA as at least the equivalent of boxing. San Jose, California is the hot bed of MMA and if you watch a bout there and mention boxing, you will get a glazed look.

  44. Clarence George 06:13am, 02/05/2015

    The Sweet Science is on the ropes, but perhaps that’s where it’s supposed to be.  Think Jake LaMotta versus Sugar Ray Robinson.  No matter what happens, it will always have a history as deep as the Marianas Trench.  And that’s more than MMA will ever be able to claim.  It may have longevity, I don’t know, but I do know that longevity ain’t the same as history.  MMA is what Jonathan Winters would call “gahr-bahj.”

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