Well once again we have to thank the UFC for putting on such an exemplary show. At UFC 103, which was held at the American Airlines Arena , in Dallas , Texas. Home to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Coincidentally , the Mavericks who are owned by dot.com multi-billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban . His HDNet – a wholly owned cable broadcast outlet has been staging their own Mixed Martial Art’s promotions and events with a modicum of success.
Saturday’s staging of UFC 103 , was yet another in the long line of now ever more successful promotions that the UFC has undertaken to bring its brand to an er widening and most knowledgeable audience. And to see where the first event staged to what we are now seeing today. Dana White as President & CEO of UFC has taken this product and branded it in such a way . That you dare not say you aren’t aware as to what the sport is all about. It’s simplistic in its logic and the events are staged with such precision that one can well understand why there’s now such a growing following amongst its loyal and devoted fans.
The UFC promotional visual footage for the main event at UFC 103.
And as things now stand the sport is essentially on the cusp of surpassing boxing in terms of it being viewed as a spectator sport. It shouldn’t come as a surprise whose seen the gradual decline of boxing to begin with. It has become a complete farce and devoid of integrity and respectability. So much so , that you’re now having boxing promoter , Bob Arum , decrying MMA and UFC in particular – as a sport that’s filled with loud mouth tattooed Neo Nazi’s. Clearly Arum, is completely devoid of all knowledge when it comes to the sport and he’s showing his ignorance as far as the sport is concerned. It also smacks of jealousy on his part as he’s seen declining revenues come in with regard to the PPV events staged by boxing promoters in North America . Whereas, for UFC , it has steadily increased over the years. And in 2007, the revenues for events staged by UFC surpassed that of the entire events staged for boxing. It’s clear to see that Arum and many of his counterparts feel threatened by the rise of the sport of mixed martial arts. And what it may well mean for the sport of boxing.
Rich Franklin vs Vitor Belfort
Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic vs Junior Dos Santos
Paul Daly vs Martin Kampann
Frank Trigg vs John Koscheck
Tyson Griffin vs. Hermes Franca
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And at this moment in time the sport of boxing is in dire need of a great deal of excitement. Whether or not the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr to the ring. And the continued rise in popularity of Filipino fighter , Manny Pacquiao can abate the stem of the sport’s decline remains to be seen. The highly anticipated match-up between the two may well go a long way in answering that question. But the real point is once that bout takes place . What’s next ?
And while the main event card for UFC 103 was filled with a litany of top flight protagonists. The under-card itself, wasn’t anything to be overlooked. Albeit , that the headline event between Rich Franklin and the Brazilian, Vitor Belfort , was the bout that almost everyone was looking forward to. These two light heavyweights are amongst the very best that the division and sport has to offer.
The bout itself couldn’t have ended in a more shocking way. But it ought not have come as a surprise to begin with. Anyone who knows the abilities of both , knew full well that this bout wasn’t liable to go the full three rounds as anticipated. The right to contest for the UFC light heavyweight title will now belong to Belfort – after his timely display in knocking out Franklin in 3:02 minutes into the first round. The surprise and viciousness of the the display sent a message across the whole division that Vitor Belfort ‘is back’ and ready to take on all-comers. And it is to be seen if current light heavyweight champion will be willing to defend his title against his fellow Brazilian, Lyoto Machida . Another bout that’s bound to be highly anticipated.
Unfortunately for Franklin, the bout didn’t go as anticipated. It certainly didn’t pay however, for him to be making bold predictions as to what his intentions were from the outset. He failed to back those claims up of a knockout of his Brazilian opponent. In the end it was he , who was knocked out in devastating fashion .
As I’ve alluded to earlier , what makes the sport so rewarding for their fans. It is that the UFC is prepared to listen and make the matches they feel to be ones necessitated by the demands of the fans. Granted the fighters have to be in form , ready , willing and above all able to fight. Unlike the drivel that’s now derived within the sport of boxing. It is somewhat rare that an event promoted by UFC ends up being a disaster. What they tend to do is to make sure that not only is the main card an attractive one. But also too , the under-card for each of their events. Be it PPV or not. That is why the sport now has a distinct advantage over boxing , as a whole ! The stars within the sport of MMA now welcome the recognition they are gaining . And the loyalty shown to them by the fans is greatly appreciated. And the fighters , themselves go out of their way to reciprocate that. You’d be hard pressed to find that today in the sport of boxing . Wherein, many of their stars have become too self absorbed and rarely do they show their appreciation of the fans.