Thursday, August 26, 2010

MMA vs Boxing

Saturday night is UFC 118 and although the main event is listed as the Lightweight Championship fight between BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar the real main event will be the fight right before that when Randy 'The Natural' Couture and James 'Lights Out' Toney meet to finally put an end to the debate: which is better boxing or MMA?  

Ever since the UFC first became mainstream fans of boxing have been criticizing it saying that 'the striking is a joke' and 'these guys are just street fighters with pathetic striking technique.'  Practitioners of MMA have responded by saying 'MMA fighters need to be well rounded and not just good at one thing' and 'boxing is a dead sport no one cares about anymore like horse racing.'

The UFC has been promoting the hell out of this fight and in every interview Dana White and Joe Rogan have been making it seem like the fate of combat sports hangs in the balance and its up to Randy Couture to defend the honor of MMA against James Toney.

I personally could care less about all of that.  All I know is that James Toney is hilarious and I want him to give Randy Couture the beating of a lifetime.  I hope Couture shoots on Toney and can't take him to the ground.  I hope Toney catches him with a ferocious combination that just floors him and leaves him begging for mercy like when Forrest Griffin fought Anderson Silva.  But most importantly I hope the fight is entertaining.

The whole MMA vs boxing angle is just a way for the UFC to sell more pay per views.  I am a huge MMA fan but in no way do I see a James Toney victory as an blemish on the sport.  This whole debate doesn't affect me in any way.  None of my friends watch boxing and its not like I am going to get a bunch of texts or emails from people ripping me if Couture loses.  For me this is just another fight.

I mean does under the age of 35 even watch boxing anymore?  I feel like the only people that watch boxing are old guys and the dudes on Entourage and that's only to help promote the fact that boxing is on HBO sometimes.  MMA is infinitely more popular than boxing and is one of the most popular sports in the world right now while boxing is under constant criticism and is struggling to remain relevant.

Plus how exactly is a boxer competing in MMA supposed to be considered MMA vs Boxing?  Its not as if James Toney is going to enter the cage with boxing gloves on and will only be allowed to throw punches while Randy Couture will be allowed to do whatever he wants.  This is a mixed martial arts fight with MMA rules and boxing has little to do with it.

I mean if this was really a fight to determine which sport was best don't you think the UFC would have picked a better fighter than Randy Couture?  If Dana White actually cared about making an example out of James Toney he would let Brock Lesnar fight him.  

Randy Couture is a 78 year old man who hasn't beaten anyone good since he beat Vitor Belfort back in 2006 (and don't try and say Brandon Vera, Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga are good fighters because they aren't). He was picked for one reason and one reason only: whether he wins or loses the UFC saves face.

If Randy Couture goes out there on Saturday and beats the piss out of James Toney then Dana White can say, 'look a 48 year old man beat one of the best boxers of this generation like it was nothing, MMA is better than boxing.'  But if Couture happens to lose to Toney then White can hide behind the excuse of 'well Randy Couture is 48 and isn't one of our best fighters so this proves nothing.'  Either way he is good.

But if Brock Lesnar fought James Toney and lost then the UFC would look bad because that's their Heavyweight Champion that just lost to this boxer with no experience whatsoever.  I personally would rather have seen that fight I understand why Dana picked Couture to fight Toney.

No matter what the outcome the whole debate will continue.  Boxing fans, and even boxers, will continue to trash MMA and MMA fighters and fans will continue to believe their sport is superior.  Its like Isreal vs Palestine it's not ending anytime soon.  As long as both sides continue to exist there will be a conflict to talk about.

Like I said before I prefer James Toney to win but as long as the fight is entertaining I will be happy.  It's not Boxing vs MMA its 47 year wrestler vs a 42 year old boxer.  It's just a fight.

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