This is not the first and definitely not the last post that will address the issue of MMA vs. boxing. Recently however two key figures in the boxing world have made some disturbing statements concerning MMA. First Floyd Mayweather made statements concerning the idea that MMA fighters are all white guys who are not athletic enough to cut it in boxing. Which were followed shortly by Bob Arum’s statements that MMA fights are like watching two homosexuals rolling around, in addition to stating that minorities watched boxing not MMA. Dana White has not addressed this remarks to my knowledge except in statements saying that an MMA fighter would beat a boxer in an MMA match and that boxing cards are not as good as MMA cards in terms of fights. Well maybe Dana is not the best person to answer these statements given that he himself is a “boxing man” and has made statements that have often mirrored those made by these boxing insiders. However, fans of MMA should be more than a little upset at these attacks that have been leveled at them and there should be a back lash in any way possible.
Floyd Mayweather and others can make whatever statements they wish about who would win in a “fight” between an MMA fighter and a boxer at the height of the sport, the same as MMA fighters can make the same statement and unless BJ Penn or Mike Brown is able to get him into a cage I sincerely doubt this debate will be answered. But Mayweather’s statements concerning race and why he is better than any MMA fighter should demonstrate too many that the problem is much larger than MMA vs. boxing as a fighting style. First concerning race Mayweather’s statements are not only racist (although he says they are not) but also show the boxer’s ignorance of the subject.
“In boxing, we know who’s dominating. Black fighters and Hispanic fighters is dominating in this sport,” Mayweather continued. “And this is not a racial statement but there’s no white fighters in boxing that’s dominating, so they had to go to something else and start something new.” (Mayweather)
If any reader does not believe that this statement is racist as Mayweather claims then imagine if you will if Brock Lesnar were to make this same statement but inserting that MMA fighters were mostly white and that because MMA is a sport that requires more thinking because of its differing dimensions and levels it makes sense that more white fighters would be there over a simplistic sport like boxing. What would be the reaction throughout the sporting world? Furthermore, Mayweather’s claims that because he makes more money than any MMA fighter proves that he are a better “fighter” is a statement that anyone with a brain could see as false. Do you mean to say that a Navy SEAL, member of Delta Force, British S.A.S. or other special operations member who does not make $28 million a fight could not beat you? But I know they are not “professional athletes”, but the point is that money earned does not make you “the best” necessarily in a sport. But by your assertions Oscar De La Hoya is still the best boxer or “fighter” because he made more money than you did.
But perhaps more disturbing than Mayweather’s comments are those of boxing promoter Bob Arum, who is no stranger to controversy himself, and are perhaps more damaging to anyone who reads them. In the past Arum has made remarks that have been called racist, and most recently he has done the same concerning MMA fans or UFC audiences by describing them as “a bunch of skinhead white guys watching people in the ring who are also skinhead white guys.” In the interview with MMA Fanhouse’s Ariel Helwani, Arum portrayed the sport of MMA as
“For me, and people like me, it is not something that they ever care to see. They’ve watched it, it’s horrible, guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground. It is not a sport that shows great great talent. The guys that throw punches can’t throw punches to save their ass. When they land, they have no chin. These are not like boxers.”
Of course one could argue that glove size and fighting styles have an obvious effect on how punches are thrown (i.e. a boxers stance makes them easy to take down) offer a contradiction to his remarks about striking. As far as skill on the ground well… boxers and boxing fans who do not try to find out anything about the ground game are ignorant of it any way. All one has to do is look at the statements against boxing to know they have the same attacks leveled at them. He like Mayweather states that blacks, Hispanics, and Filipinos buy boxing pay per views and not MMA and therefore that the sport is something like a group of white supremacists either meeting to watch a homosexual orgy? Arum’s remarks belong back in an era when races were separated, not in the 21st century.
The debate that MMA is better than boxing or vice versa is something that will go away anytime soon. However, despite what people may say about these statements being ok and that there is too much political correctness in society then when the disparaging remarks are made against boxers and boxing it must be taken in as ok. If one were to say that boxing is filled with crooked promoters (Arum and King being two), thugs and criminals, and un-educated fighters. The boxing audience is filled with people who cannot understand anything but a sport that is severely limited in its tactics, who over pay for inferior match ups, and often boring fights. Furthermore, if both Mayweather and Arum are right, it is just another example of white men making a ton of money of off minorities. Is this what they want to be known as well? But one would have to be truly ignorant to believe any of these statements. But perhaps that is something a person who agrees with Mayweather or Arum should think about. Or when you are deciding whether to watch the UFC or Mayweather’s fight or any boxing match promoted by Arum, you should see if their statements are true that there are no non-white fighters who are successful (out of the UFC’s five champions only two are “white” and there are a large number of non-white fighters), that the audience is full of skinheads, or that when the fight goes to the ground is it just “rolling around” (perhaps realize the number of All American wrestlers and grappling champions, or go to a Brazilian Ju Jitsu class) before you cast judgment. A person does not have to like MMA to appreciate it as a “combat sport”, but if you want to talk about “fighting” ask yourself this what military teaches their members to use boxing to defend themselves vs. martial arts? That may give you a clue.