The New Heavyweight Champion of the World

By on September 24, 2012

UFC President Dana White (photo: US PRESSWIRE/Gary A. Vasquez)

For years boxing was always America’s guilty pleasure. What can be more fun than to see two grown men beat the life out of each other? We loved heavyweight stars Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and even the fictional Rocky Balboa. Today, the allure of boxing has significantly faded. Now boxing is reduced to completely unknown heavyweights and two welterweights who seemingly refuse to fight each other (I’m looking at you Mayweather and Pacquiao). Boxing is as weak as it has been in 60 years.

With the fall of boxing gives rise to a new sport with all the skill, brutality and strategy of boxing with the personalities of eccentric fighters and sport presidents alike. I am talking, of course, about the Ultimate Fighter Championship. UFC is rising in popularity and has grown from the cult following of frat guys as it was 10 years ago. The president, Dana White, is a former wrestler himself and has a personality comparable to Jerry Jones, Mark Cuban and George Steinbrenner. As far as sport presidents and commissioners go, he’s easily the one you’d want to hang out with. Plus, he could easily beat up Bud Selig, Roger Goodell and David Stern all at once (don’t know about you, but that image in my mind makes me smile).

UFC has grown in large part because of incredible athletes taking part in action-packed fights. One of the most exciting guys, Jon “Bones” Jones, fought this past weekend. Creative and athletic, Jones is fun to watch and beat Vitor Belfort in Saturday’s title fight. Although only $2 million was brought in from ticket sales, according to a report in the Toronto Sun (compared to the nearly $9 million from the Manny Pacquiao Timothy Bradley fight, according to ESPN) the rising popularity of the sport is apparent. Since the ‘90s, when Governor John McCain tried to end the sport, it has grown exponentially. The sport now generates more revenue than boxing and professional wrestling. The popularity of the sport is on the rise and has a much younger average audience than boxing. Although it could never compete with basketball, football, baseball and hockey UFC and mixed martial arts are here to stay.

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