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Editorial- A Tale of Two Empires: Comparing the WWE and UFC Monopolies, Part 2

The rise of WWE as the name brand in American pro wrestling and UFC as the name brand in global MMA actually has more in common than one might think. Could the WWE be an indicator for where the UFC is going?


So the hostility toward WWE and UFC from the Government was overcome against all odds. They overcame the odds, however, the Government wasn't the only threat to the existence of either brand, that brings us to the third similarity.

3. They both owned their competition...literally.

In the olden days of pro wrestling, when it branched off from catch wrestling, it had predetermined match outcomes, but that secret was fiercely guarded. To be a pro wrestler you had to have a certain pedigree, a certain athleticism. Verne Gagne, former owner of AWA (American Wrestling Association) was a purist. He was an old time wrestler wrestling in high school, college, and even made the U.S. Greco Roman Olynmpic Team. When he trained his students, he overworked them. When Ric Flair was being trained by Gagne, one veteran wrestler told Flair that Gagne took 10 years off Flair's potential career because the training was brutal.

However, it had to be. The landscape was made of wrestler who didn't get where they were by breaking some tables or leaning how to flip. They wrestled. The term was "hooker." A hooker could break bones. You had to be savvy, a great wrestler, because if a man didn't like the fact he was told to lose, he may go outside the script, then you had to have the skill not only to defend yourself, but put him in his place.

Ah, the good old days.

Spekaing of the good old days, when different reigons were split up into territories, they all had their regional champions. Texas had several champions, Florida had a champion, Tennesee, California, New York, even Japan. These promoters worked together. They shared talent, and even though they had regional champions, they recognized one title: The NWA World Heavyweight Title.

The NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) was formed as a cc-operative by the promoters. The NWA Champion was recognized as the best of the best. In fact, Verne Gagne only formed the AWA because he felt slighted by the NWA Board in not letting him beat Lou Thesz. Even though the AWA was one of the largest territories and they had the AWA World Heavyweight title, the NWA title was it. Even Vince McMahon Sr knew that.

In the late 1940's the NWA championship was formed. The NWA champion would travel around, wrestling the best of the regional talent. Names like Lou Thesz, Terry Funk, Jack Brisco, Harley Race, Pat O'Connor, Gene Kiniski were immortalized in pro wrestling.

From the 1940s to the 1980s the NWA was a juggernaut. However, it faced stiff opposition from Vince Jr. Vince was taking his show nationally, busting into NWA territories. The NWA regional system collapsed over time.

There was a few places of refuge where the NWA name stayed strong. In the Southern US, people didn't take none too kindly to Vince McMahon ruinin the great sport of wrasslin. There were some thriving territories, the last great bastions of NWA legacy. Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida and Gerogia Championship Wrestling.

Over time, they started to falter. Vince Jr bought Georgia Champiosnhip Wrestling and put on WWF programming in the timeslot. It wasn't received well and Vince sold Georgia to Jim Crokett who owned Mid Atlantic. Jim sold off to Turner who created World Championship Wrestling. WCW still recognizd the NWA title, but over time, created their own title, and dropped the NWA. The NWA pretty much died. Despite the NWA title still existing, it doesn't have anywhere near the prestige it used to have. It's now an indy title.

However, with Billionaire Ted, WCW had the funds, if not the direction to be great. Don't get me wrong, WCW had a great cast of wrestlers. They had tremendous talent in Ric Flair, Rick Steamboat, Terry Funk and other NWA stalwarts. They also had hot, young dynamic talent. However, when they had people running the company like former Pizza Hut executives...your wrestling product is going to fall flat. Ted Turner had CNN, TBS, TNT, and the Atlanta Braves. WCW was a pet because Georgia Championship Wrestling kept his network alive in its infancy.

Then, it changed. Eric Bischoff came in from AWA. He impressed the top brass and he was given charge. WCW then went on a tear, signing the former WWF greats like Bobby Heenan, Gene Okerlund, Macho Man Randy Savage and...Hulk Hogan!

WCW grew, then plateaued. The problem was, Hogan was given too much creative control. WCW fans who loved Falir for years didn't want to see Flair job to Hogan. They didn't want to see Brutus Beefcake (A Hogan lackey) and Hulk fight each other. They were even forced to witness Hogan and Savage team up to take on 8 men...yes EIGHT...in a Cage match and beat them. Big Van vader, a brute who terrorized Japan and the US, going so far as to temporarily paralyze a wrestler with his powerbomb, was jobbed out by Hogan.

Then...the perfect storm came. It brewed out of the creative genius of Eric Bishoff. Actually, they ripped of an idea done in Japan. However, it had neever been done in North America. because of Eric throwing around Ted Turner's money, he earned the nickname of "ATM Eric." Because business up north in WWF was sucktacular, Eric was able to woo Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Kevin Nash played Diesel, and was a former WWF Champion. Scott Hall played fan favorite Razor Ramon and was a former Intercontinental Champion. The WWF only had three titles, those two belts and the Tag team belts...so Hall and Nash were big stars. Bischoff also attracted Lex Luger, which was crazy because WWF Monday Raw was pretaped. Bischoff moved WCW's big show from WCW Saturday Night to WCCW Monday Nitro. Saturday Night still existed but it was for lower level guys. The big names went to Nitro and Nitro was live on TNT. So Luger's contract was up, Vince didn't renew, or forgot...and Luger signed with Bischoff. On the same night, Luger was on RAW and Nitro!

They came onto WCW and said they were taking over. That was the grand idea...two big WWF stars jumped ship to WCW and said they were taking over...but they had a third man. In July of 1996, it came to a head. Hall and Nash were beating up WCW good guys like Randy Savage and Sting when suddenly Hulk Hogan came out. The fans cheered as they thought Hogan would come to the aid of his friends. However, Hogan dropped the leg on Savage and he was the third man! The reaction was so violent garbage filled the ring and a fan tried to jump Hogan.

Hogan, Hall and Nash then announced they were taking over and called themselved the new world order of wrestling. Hogan went from red and yellow to black and white. The nWo was on fire. They beat down WCW wrestlers and spraypainted 'nWo" on their backs. Hogan won the WCW Title and spraypainted nWo on it. They acted like street thugs, and it had people talking. Sting went to seclusion and was only seen in the rafters. His hair was no longer bleached, it grew out, he wore black and had facepaint in a homage to "The Crow."

Bisch was busy, he brought in young talent from Japan and Canada, he also brought in luchadores from Mexico. WCW Nitro was hot, hot hot. Meanwhile, in the WWF, Vince had tag champions like Phineas I. Godwinn and Henry O. Godwinn. They were hillbilly farmers and their initals were PIG and HOG...get it? The fans got it, but they didn't want it so they tuned in to WCW.

It came to be knwon as "The Monday Night Wars." For around 86 weeks in a row, Nitro beat out Raw in the ratings. Bisch did all sorts of underhanded things, like read out the pretaped RAW results on his live Nitro show.

Vince fired back, and he did it with "Trash TV." Wrestling was played down even more for storylines, and they were no longer catering to kids. Shawn Michaels and Triple H formed Degeneration X and told people to "Suck It!" The Undertaker went from cartoon zombie to Satanic Priest. Steve Austin, who had been in WCW, reinvented himself from "Stunning" to "Stone Cold." He flipped people the bird, cursed out McMahon and made fun of the Bible with his now infamous Austin 3:16. There were more women and less clothing. Purists like Bret Hart protested and evetually was kicked out in what is now known as "The Montreal Screwjob."

Vince McMahon went from being a commentator to being a character, the evil Mr. McMahon. With Austin as a blue collar, beer drinking hero and Mr. McMahon as the representation of evil Corporate America. WWF fired back and started to overtake the ratings.

WCW floundered as the nWo story failed. They botched the Sting vs Hogan match, it was built up for over a year and it was botched as Hogan refused to job clean. The Ultimate Warrior was brought in and that match stunk. The nWo split up into nWo black and White and nWo Wolfpac. Meanwhilem, WCW didn't invest in new talent, except for Bill Goldberg, then he was made to job to nWo after going 176-0. Eric stepped and Vince Russo, who was a writer in WWF stepped in. Russo tried to outsleaze Vinny Mac, but it failed.

Amazingly, in March of 2001, Vince McMahon bought WCW from Ted Turner and accquired the WCW contracts, titles, and library. He also got the NWA library that Jim crockett sold to Ted. Vince bought WCW and quickly killed it with a lame "Invasion" storyline. WCW died with a whimper at the whim of an egotistical billionaire (McMahon).

That wasn't even the only company Vince bought that year. In the 1990s, Paul Heyman wasd the creative mind, a wrestling mad scientist. He led the small ECW promotion. ECW- Extreme Championship Wrestling. In all fairness, Vince and Eric ripped off Paul. Eric raided ECW talent rosters and both Vince and Eric took ECW storylines. ECW was about blood and guts, hardcore wrestling. Of course, that style was around in Japan for ages, but Paul brought it and brought lucha libre to the northeastern US. Philadelphia was the place for hard hitting wrestling.

Despite growth, ECW didn't have funds and in 2001 were bought out by WWF. WWF had won. They were the only majopr wrestling promotion in the US. They were legally forced to change their name in 2002, and since then, when you talk about pro wrestling...or sports entertainment as Vince McMahon coined it...you think WWE.

Wow, that was a lot. Take a bathroom break here, and when you come back I'll tell you the tale of UFC's main nemeis.

The UFC never had competition in the US. Sure you had King of the Cage, Extreme Fighting in 1994 and 1995, you had Hook n Shoot (Hook taken from the pro wrestling term hooker), Super Brawls, but none of them matched the UFC in production value or in talent. Very quickly, these other American shows were feeders to UFC.

However, in Japan, it was different. Japan has always had a rich history of martial arts and wrestling. BJJ exists because of a Japanese immigrant to Brazil. Thanks to Karl Gotch and Rikidozan, pro wrestling in Japan was dynamite. Rikidozan won the NWA title from Thesz and Gotch brought bodyweight training and a hard hitting style that focused less on entertainment. Both men have had tremendous influence on Antonio Inoki. Rikidozan also trained Shohei "Giant" Baba. Rikidozan is the father of "puroresu" and Karl Gotch helped shaped strong style puroresu. Inoki went on to form New Japan Pro Wrestling while Baba formed All japan pro Wrestling. These two companies are still the two biggest pruroresu companies in Japan.

We need to focus on Gotch though. He trained Inoki, Satoru Sayama (Tiger Mask), Tatsumi Fujinami, Hiro Matsuda (who went on to train Hogan), and Yoshiaki Fujiwara among others. Because of Gotch's influence who was himself trained in the "Snake Pit" in England, Japanese pro wrestling, particularly NJPW was influenced by shoot wrestling. It was a hard hitting style known for its battles. In fact, Akira Maeda did some crazy things like shoot on Andre the Giant and break the orbital bone of Chosu with a full blast kick. Of course, it was still predetermined even though it was realistic, so Maeda was fired.

However Maeda didn't go alone. He took Nobuhiko Takada and others and in 1989 formed the reborn Universal Wrestling Federation. This was actually the second time defectors from new Japan left as Maeda, Sayama and Fujiwara led the first UWF incarnation fin 1984. That ended with Maeda kicking Sayama in the groin.

However, Maeda didn't kick Takada in the groin, but UWF dissolved after a year due to disagreements. They did manage to sell out the Tokyo Dome though. Maeda went on to form Fighting Network RINGS which was a home for guys like Fedor, Big Nog and Volk Han. Fujiwara (after whom the wakigatame in jujitsu was called the Fujiwara armbar)  went on form Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi. Takada formed UWFi- Union of Wrestling Force International. UWFi had a great setup and personally, this was a my fav all time fed.

UWFi had names like Takada, Dan Severn, Gary Albright, Daijiro Matsui, Super Vader (Vader from WCW), Kyoshi Tamura, Sakuraba, and Yoji Anjoh. It was Anjoh who went to the US, walked into a Gracie studio, challenged the Gracies and got his butt handed to him in a sling. Despite being trained by old time wrestler Billy Robinson and having the UWFi Snakepit, that incident put a black eye on UWFi's credability.

Also, a lack of feuds for Takada hurt UWFi. Out of desparation they entered a feud with New Japan. It was bad. You see, Lou Thesz liked UWFi so much he gave Takada an old NWA belt. They called it "The Real World Wrestling Heavyweight Title." They also said UWFi was real, and New Japan was rigged. The boys at New Japan were none too happy. They demanded full control of booking. The UWFi guys were made to look bad, with one exception.

Takada won the IWGP (International Wrestling Grand Prix) Heavyweight title in front of 70,000 fans in the Tokyo Dome. He was legit. No one doubted his shoot skills. He was to japan what Hogan was to America, but Takada could actually wrestle.

The came PRIDE in 1997. KRS- Kakutougi Revolution Spirits hosted KRS-PRIDE  It drew 47,000 in the Tokyo Dome. Featured on the card was Renzo Gracie, Akira Shoji, UFC 6 winner Oleg taktarov, UFC Vet Gary Goodridge. There was also a kickboxing event between 1993 K-1 GP winner Branko Cikatic and Ralph White. Also featured was Kimo, who almost beat Royce at UFC 3 and Dab Severn, UFC 4 finalist and UFC 5 tournament winner.

It was a big event, but the main event was what people wanted to see. It was Takada versus Rickson Gracie.  Gracie won in less than 5 minutes. A big blow to Japanese fans, but the event took off.

Dream Stage Entertainment took over and renamed it PRIDE FC, PRIDE Fighting Championships. The explosion was massive. Fighters from UFC, Brazil and Japan competed. The PRIDE GP 2000 saw Mark Coleman win it all, but the big story was the 90 minute war between Sakuraba and Royce that saw Sakuraba beat Royce. Sakuraba was a former UFC winner, and said after his win, "In fact, professional wrestling is strong." He went on to beat Gracie after Gracie, even dislocating Renzo's elbow with a spinning kimura (chickenwing armlock in catch wrestling). Sakuraba was trained by Takada and Saku earned the name "The Gracie Hunter."

People came from all over the world to fight in PRIDE. Ken Shamrock and the Lion's Den were there, pro wrestlers like BattlARTS founder Yuki Ishikawa fought. Inoki was there ringside and had Fujita from NJPW fight. Sergei Kharitonov was there, Mark Kerr, Igor Vochanchyn, Josh Barnett, Don Frye and Ken Shamrock headlined Bad Blood. Bob Sapp, Semmy Schilt, Mirko Crop Cop, Fedor, Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera, Mark Hunt and fighters from Pancrase were all there. In fact K-1 and PRIDE co-promoted Shockwave which was the largest MMA event in the world.

PRIDE FC was mainstream and they had the roster. UFC didn't fare well compared to PRIDE. Wanderlei Silva was in his prime, Sakuraba was the most innovative fighter, Quinton jackson came over from the US and found stardom, as well as a KO win over UFC's poster boy Chuck Liddell.The UFC bragged when they attracted 18,000 fans a few years ago...PRIDE attracted 70,000.

PRIDE FC was more than great fighting, it was a great event with elaborate stages and production. The Saitama Super Arena was a common venue and they rocked the house. The English commentary of Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten was top quality and blew Goldberg and Rogan out of the water. The fighters were treated like rock stars in Japan, far different than how Dana treats fighters.

The round system was unique as it developed into 3 rounds. 1R was 10 minutes with 2R and 3R 5 minutes. The judging was different as well, with the boxing system of 10-9 not used in PRIDE FC. The judges based the score on the whole fight with emphasis on trying to finish. If a fighter stalled, he'd get a yellow card and lose 10% of his purse. No lay and pray here. It was almost too good to be true...

Sadly it was. There was a scandal in 2003 as the president of DSE commited suicide. Official story was a mistress was leaving him, but reports of tax fruad and yakuza involvement hurt. Also, there were rumours of fight fixing. One need only look at Takada vs Coleman in PRIDE 5. However, PRIDE was favored by real MMA fans over UFC. UFC was never able to provide the quality that PRIDE did. If one wishes to dispute that, take the best UFC fights and compare them to Sakuraba vs Grace and Sakuraba vs Carlos Newton.

In 2007 it happened. Despite PRIDE's seeming success, things were mismangaed and Zuffa stepped in. The UFC had bought their biggest compettion. There would be no PRIDE events, the titles were merged and no events in Japan by UFC. PRIDE FC's light flickered out, only to be a memory for fans who couldn't let go.

UFC bought WEC in 2006 as well, but that wasn't as interesting as WEC was never a big name.

Just last week, Strikeforce, the #2 promotion was bought. Dana is a little more subdued and I like Torazulu's insightful article as to why.

4. UFC and WWE are THE brand in their fields.

In MMA right now, you have King of the Cage (since around 1998) , you have Maximum Fighting Championships, Bellator, Hard Knocks Fighting, Battlefield Fight League, you HAD IFL, Elite XC, DREAM and Sengoku. You still have Pancrase, Shooto, DEEP, ZST, Cage Rage, and a ton of others...a ton. However, a telling sign is that MMA is also known as "Ultimate Fighting." UFC is a brand of MMA, not even the best brand...but it is THE brand. UFC is king and will be for a long time.

In Pro Wrestling, well, let's leave Japan out of it as WWE never threatened Japanese promotions. In America you have TNA or WCW 2011 as I call it, you have Ring of Honor, CHIKARA, some NWA indy feds and PWG-Pro Wrestling Guerilla. However, when it comes to wrestling...it's WWE. They are THE brand, Wrestlemania is THE event. WWE is too large, too big, and won't be usurped.

There is one final point, a possible similarity.

5. By having a lofty place where thhey are untouchable, UFC has the risk of becoming stagnant like WWE.

WWE or Worst Wrestling Ever as I call it, usually in a good impression of "Comic Book Guy" from The Simpsons, is untouchable. But they are stagnant. The storylines aren't fresh, the action is weak, the characters are bland and the direction is lacking. RAW has consistent numbers in the 3.9 area. While not bad, it is FAR below what they had 12, 13 years ao when they were hot. They have a loyal fanbase, made up of kids and guys like "The Crying Wrestling Fan" (look for him on YouTube), but even the most loyal are getting tired of the stagnant nature. Competition brings out the best in a person or company. WWE doesn't have anything to challenge them. So they are in a quagmire of mediocrity.

Dana White said UFC needed more fighters. More fighters? They are cutting their roster! Of course, what Dana means is more stars. Vitor Belfort is no longer a star, Tito Ortiz is no longer a star. Chuck is done, Randy is almost gone, Big Nog is done, Lesnar is unreliable, Griffin is punch drunk and sounds like Stallone. The fights are also stagnant. To win a UFC fight you can just do a double leg, get mount and throw elboes until your opponent is cut above the eye and you can win by TKO. OR, you can double leg the opponent and lay on top of him for 15 minutes, 25 for a title match. UFC events have been lacking quality for a wqhile, and I believe it'll get worse. The standup is laughable and the jiujitsu is non-existent. Real BJJ fights as well as real Catch Wrestling matches can take a long time if the combatants are skilled. If the action reaches a stalemate, fans boo because they are, as Rogan has called them, "drunken meatheads."

I could be wrong...but instead of seeing two muscular men roll around I'll stick to K-1 (hope it revives) Shootboxing and It's Showtime.

UFC and WWE may run the world, but they'll never get another cent out of me.

 

 

 

 




Comments

Post new comment
torazulu (580 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-17 at: 10:12
glad
First of all Mr. K1 Canuck, let me thank you for such a through explanation on Pro-Wrestling. It never caught on in Europe, and for years I have listened debates that all Pro Wrerstlers are in fact fakes, and that is not the "real" fighting, "And those Americans still watch it !!!" Many people still dont understand, that it is in fact a different kind of Theatre Play. However, I had no idea how it all begun, and your article explains it very well.
As far as the UFC goes... Corporate world does its thing, and there is no way around it. But in time, situation will change (does it always), and with growing interest in the Europe and USA, new organizations will emerge.
Hopefully we will be there to watch...:P
Cdn Mongoose (1425 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-18 at: 02:58
Calling the UFC stagnant is wrong.

They organisation is about to have a 65000 seat sell out in Ontario. MMA was just legalised in Ontario. Toronoto is either the 3rd or fourth largest tv market in North America. They are on the verge of legalising MMA in New York state.
Yes some of the fights can be dull. Have you never watched a dull K-1 fight? Have you never watched a dull boxing title fight.
Edgar just shocked everyone by beating BJ penn (twice). Calling the stand up fighting a joke is just wrong. There are many fighters who have competed in standup before entering the UFC. Reem for example.

The UFC is still very young as far as longevity. Give them some credit in 10 years they turned a dead business into a billion dollar corporation. In 10 years FEG has turned K-1 from the biggest standup fighting organisation to the brink of extinction.

If MMA fans boo when fights go to the ground why has not FEG capitolised on this?

Pro wrestling is just live theatre for young men. It is scripted atheltic action. It is my belief that the UFC should be compared to NFL football.
In the beginning the NFL was the only major football league. Then the AFL came along and changed pro football. The NFL owners saw the change and merged, basically swallowed the AFL. This began the modern era of pro football. Then the NFL began marketing and using tv to promote its product.

The UFC is still finding its way. Yes they make mistakes but you can not argue that they dont put top guys in the cage against each other. There have been events where Dana White changed the main event because the fans wanted a change. Has any other fighting organisation done this?
How many years have K-1 fans waited to see the elite matchups?

I understand that because the UFC is at the top of the heap everyone wants to knock them down. I am and will always be a greater fan of kickboxing but at least MMA gives me a chance to see some quality fights. The UFC schedules regular events, has an awesome web page to promote their brand.

There are a thousand things FEG could learn from Zuffa. I agree with you that the marketing of the UFC is the same as the WWE but Dana White has stated that the WWE is the marketing model that he wanted to follow.

Personally I think pro wrestling is crap. I dont like the image it gives to young kids. They treat their athletes like disposable assets. How many of their actors have died young because of drugs, or other health issues.
I have met and am family friends with a past WWE wrestler who got out when the pressure to pop pills to perform got to be to much and he he left. When you devalue the people who the fans pay to see its only a matter of time till it catches up to you. Gee perhaps FEG can learn from this.

The UFC is growing and standup fighting appears to be stagnant. My hope is that some promoter with very deep pockets purchases K-1 and allows the fighters and the sport to grow the way it should. Kickboxing is a worldwide sport and should be marketed that way.

Ranting , tired, sorry
Shootboxing
Canuck
(257 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-18 at: 04:44
Torazulu: It is interesting how pro wrestling evolved, and how even when it's scripted sometimes guys will shoot on each other. Normally guys who do that are blacklisted, but ego is a very dangerous thing. The Maeda and Andre the Giant incident is one. Also in japan Antonio Inoki once beat the crap out of Antonio the Great because he failed to respect Inoki in the ring.

In the 1950's TV helped push pro wrestling over Catch Wrestling. Pure Catch Wrestling matches, as well as pure BJJ fights, can last up to 2 hours when the combatants are well conditioned and evenly matched in skill. Pro Wrestling was more TV friendly because you could have the simulated action, and marketable characters like Gorgeous George. For the Americans, that entertainment was preferred because they could eat snacks while booing the villians and cheer the hereos without seeing lulls when position was at a stalemate or when a man was resting.

Is it all forms of wrestling, or just pro that is not really followed in Europe? Because Europe used to be a hotbed for catch wrestling. Billy Reilly had his famous Catch Wrestling school "The Snake Pit" there. Also Lancashire, England is the birthplace of catch as catch can wrestling.

In Japan, MMA will always have pro wrestling at its origins, and pro wrestling over there, although getting more Americanized, almost looks like a real sport.

Cdn Mongoose: Without getting into a big debate, because MMA's rise or fall really doesn't interest me greatly, I have a few questions.

First, I agree that wrestling promoters like Vince McMahon have used wrestlers, and he's a slimeball for doing so. However, you don't think Dana has used fighters? You don't think David Loiseau, Tim Sylvia, Phil Baroni, Kimbo Slice haven't been used? Why did Dana and Randy have that year long feud? Why does Dana and Tito have the hate on for each other? Why did Brock Lesnar get a title shot so quickly when other HWs have been busting their butt for years? Why is it that when a PPV gets 1 million buyrates some guys get paid $5,000? How about Dana's disrespect of Fedor?
How about UFC contracts where they say they have a LIFETIME use of your face, name etc.? Why did Dana say that any guy who signed on for the EA Sports MMA game would never fight for UFC? How about Paul Daley rather fighting in the UK than for Dana and possibly pulling out of the fight with Diaz because UFC owns Strikeforce?
Why does Dana not want managing teams to mediate between him and fighters? Why does he go into the locker room to confront them one on one?

You think The Ultimate Fighter is legit? They dangle the 6 figure contract. However, that 6 figure contract is the 6 figures over 3 years, if you win all the time! So around 35 G's a year. Forrest Griffin gained some notoriety, but the poor man has taken so many blows he's punch drunk. Rogan and Goldberg can rip on boxing for the headshots, but MMA is just as bad if not worse. The only thing is, MMA is newer so there hasn't been time to do studies on long term effects.

As for sending the wrong message to kids, you don't think MMA can do that? From Tito Ortiz's gravedigger routine, to Tank Abbot's comments to the melee after Abbot's fight with Cabbage Correira at UFC 43 to Wes Simms stomping on Frank Mir, to Phil Baroni swinging at a ref. Wasn't there a Strikeforce event recently where there was a big brawl at the end of one fight? How about Chael Sonnen's smack talk? How about Michael Spitsbing? I'm not defending wrestling...but MMA is just as bad.

One might say: "Well, the UFC targets 18-34 year old males..." That's crap. I know because at WalMart they have UFC toys. They have UFC action figures, toy belts from UFC, WEC and PRIDE, they also have a toy Octagon. That certainly shows me they target kids.

As for it not being stagnant...then why does Dana say he needs fighters?

If the UFC is so deep, where are the heavyweight contenders? Most of these guys have already fought each other, and certain cases more than once.

How about 170? Who can topple GSP? Who can topple Silva at 185? Both divisions are stagnant and so Dana is desperate to have GSP vs Silva. GSP seem to be unwilling...you think Dana is going to respect that? If GSP says no to Dana, you don't think Dana will flip? He did when Fedor's people said "No."

If Dana likes you, you'll get shots. Yes, there is NO evidence of fight fixing in UFC, but obviously, if Dana likes you, you'll be a star. It's the EXACT same thing with Vince. Both guys will use a person up and spit them out.

I'm not saying one is better than the other, go ahead and watch UFC if you want, or watch WWE if you want, or as in my case, I watch neither.

I prefer standup fighting myself. Be it pure kickboxing or standing vale tudo like shootboxing. Like you, I would love to see someone with a ton of cash invest in the K-1 org and bring it to a place of prominence it deserves. I think K-1 is as special as a sports org can get.
Cdn Mongoose (1425 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-19 at: 03:26
Lets see...the WWE promotes a supposed dead guy, girls in next to nothing, etc.

The biggest difference is VInce decides who wins. Dana can hope certain people win but the outcome is determined by the fighters.

Without the UFC MMa fighters would be scratching and clawing for a chance for 5000 bucks a fight.
Its not Dana's fault that GSP dominates. Just as it is not pro boxings fault no one can beat ayweather.

The WWE expects their athletes tp perform many times a month. No matter what it takes these guys are expected to perform. Remember pro wrestling is not governed by athletic sanctioning.

I agree Dana can be an ass. But without the UFC no fighter would actually earn a living in MMA.

It is not Dana Whites fault that Forrest uses his face for defence. The UFC contracts fighters. If they do not want the terms then go fight somewhere else. Oh yeah if you want to try to earn a living at fight sport youmust take a risk. Trying to earn a living as a pro fighter is like buying a lottery ticket.
No one force Pride and Strikeforce to sell to the UFC. There are other organisations to fight for. Just ask guys who have left the UFC or are kicked out. Why are so many fighters hoping to get the call from the UFC. It is because in spite of Dana being an ass the UFC is where the money and publicity are.
Say what you want at least the UFC honors its contracts unlike some other fighting organisations. When a group does not pay its fighters in a timely manner it is a discrace.

Hard to cheer for standup when clearly the people at the top are obviously screwing the very fighters people pay to see.

If given the chance twenty years ago to sign and fight for the UFC I would gladly give up marketing rites for a chance to actually earn a living as a full time fighter.
GOD (74 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-19 at: 03:34
Another knowledgeable article...thanks from NZ
D-rop, Video editor (2420 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-19 at: 08:32
glad
This is all interesting stuff. Thanks for the article, K-1 Canuck.

And the discussion with Mongoose is also very interesting.
You know I never walk away from a good discussion, but I know so little about this. So I'll let you guys do the talking .... I am merely learning
Shootboxing
Canuck
(257 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-20 at: 07:54
Once again, I'm not trying to say WWE is better than UFC. So knocking WWE doesn't matter because I'll agree. The whole point of my article was to highlight the similarities of the WWE's rise and the UFC's rise. I think I was successful in doing that. To try to say I'm calling WWE a sport or to say UFC isn't the biggest promotion is missing the point. UFC is the biggest, but not necessarily the best.

As for earning a living as a full time fighter...why is Chris Lytle still a firefighter?

Let's take KID Yamamoto for example. For UFC 126 he collected $15,000. Well, some 25-30% of that has to go to taxes. Then there's the gym fees, cornerman fees, travel expenses, then there's the living expenses. Oh yeah, if KID had a medical suspension he can't fight. That $15,000 doesn't go very far when you break it down.

It's even worse for guys like Kenny Roberston who made $6,000.

Also, there's a video on YouTube. I won't post the link because the language is horrible, and while most people swear and see it as normal, I don't swear and I won't purposely direct someone to it.

But there is a video of Phil Baroni. He is an UFC veteran and he was a top middleweight. The video showeed him leaving the gym and going to his car. His car was a piece of crap Buick that had a faulty rear window and his gear was in garbage bags.

The video is 4 years old, but by that time Chuck and Randy had been given Hummers for coaching TUF. While it's true Baroni was never a champion, but he was a solid middle tier fighter, which is where the majority of fighters are.

The guys on top have it good. But they are 5% or less of the MMA world. That's the same kind of numbers for pro wrestlers. In fact, earnling a living in MMA can be so crappy that guys like James Irvin, despite being suspended in the States, went to Europe to fight.

Lastly, with a monopoly...pro wrestlers don't have anywhere to go but WWE. If they get cheated by Vince, where are they going to go? Back in the day they could go to WCW. Where are they going to go now?

The same thing with UFC. It used to be a guy could go to PRIDE. If Dana messes you up or turns against you, where are you going? That's the problem with monopolies. They think they are right and the best because they are the only ones around.
Cdn Mongoose (1425 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-21 at: 05:54
Its not a monopoly. There are other pro organisations.

Bellator, MFC are just two others. Ask almost any mma fighter and would like to be in the UFC.

You will not get an arguement here that earning a living as a full time fighter is nearly impossible. Only the top of the top actually are fulltime pro fighters. This is no different than boxing. Only 1% of boxers actually are fulltime pros. Most pro fighters live below the poverty line. There is little if any medical coverage for those in the USA. if you get hurt training you are in big trouble.

My main battle is the people who slam Zuffa. Without them NO ONE would be earning a living doing MMA unless they were teaching, ala the Gracies. They have allowed some guys to become millionaires.
Remember Zuffa is only 10 years old. Don King has been promoting boxing for 50 years and is still making the lions share of the money.
You will never see a deal where the fighters earn an equal share. At least Zuffa rewards fighters with bonuses.
I agree medical coverage, perhaps a guaranteed salary or at least a minimum number of fights per year. The UFC is growing and is experiencing many hiccups. But you can not argue that mma fighters were better off before Zuffa bought the UFC.

I only wish that one kickboxing organisation became dominant in the mid 80s. There were so many organisations fighting over small pieces of a tiny pie that they all starved.
torazulu (580 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-22 at: 08:43
glad
Wow! Discussions like these make me proud to be a member of this site! Are you people aware of how unique this is?
For me the main problem when it comes to watching UFC events, is believe it or not, BAD match-ups (in my opinion of course).
OK you signed Mirko CroCop, and now you insist on him fighting younger, more hungry and more powerful guys or a total mismatch like Perosh.
As far as I am concerned , only viable matchup was Mirko/Barry.
Why not a rematch with Gonzaga (who got sacked btw)?Clash with an old friend like Mark Hunt (who refused to go down as a cannon foder for a Deathclutch prospect)?
Fight against the Yvel (who also got sacked).
UFC seems to follow this pattern: You must become a champion in your weight division or you got sacked , unless you are on Dana`s good side.(Like Brock,Matyshenko, Randy, Tito, Chuck...).All fights are planned to produce a contender for a title shot, and that is what makes it boring to me.
Make a superfight for the hell of it! Yes some guys are past their prime, but matched properly can give an entertaining fight. Have some fun!
And their marketing is so corporate, and aggressive, and annoying...
And their policy of "releasing" fighters if they are not happy...It is so...Like they mean to humiliate the man on purpose, "you got fired, but stay on our goods side, and lick up to us, so one day we might take you back...".
They released poor Tim Hague, three times in one year...
And plainly they act like arrogant, almighty bully...And who likes that?
I dont.
I long for an organization, that would combine boxing, kickboxing, and MMA, all under the same banner, and organize mixed events (all in ring of course), and with fighters competing in different disciplines (like K1 and Dream tried, only improved, and with addition of boxing)...
Remember what sensation Alistair made when he gone back to his roots, and returned to K1? Did you notice how his short and not so successful K1 career improved Kharitonov as a fighter? Who wants more of a Gegard Mousasi as a kickboxer?Le Banner VS.Mighty Mo boxing match? Possibilities are endless...Even throw in wrestling and grappling matches as well.And on the end of the year, main event that will decide THE best fighter in the world!
And then I woke up, and went to work...
Shootboxing
Canuck
(257 posts)
Posted: 2011-03-25 at: 07:09
The comp was in a repair shop for a few days, so I think the discussion died down. I will just say that Bellator, MFC, KOTC and all these other shows will be minor leagues to UFC. It'll be like A, AA, and AAA to MLB in baseball.

The difference is, MMA don't have unions whereas MLB has a Player's Association. Maybe if there was a union for fighters, some things would get cleaned up. I know Vince McMahon will never have an union in WWE, because it'll mean he won't get away with the crap he's getting away with.

Torazulu: MMA and Boxing shows usually don't work well together. The principle behind the theory works, but usually boxing fans aren't MMA fans and vice versa.

I am moving to Miami on April 18, and I don't know if I will be successful in this or not...but while my focus will be ministry, I want to try to get a pet project going. I created a ruleset for stand up combat and I hope to shop it around and see if there is any interest. If there is, I'd like to get a group together for that ruleset plus hybrid wrestling.

If anything comes of it, I'll be sure to post a video to let you know.

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