Research Paper: Rise of Mixed Martial Arts

Pages: 10 (3099 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] Violence (Coakley, 2006), Since MMA is considered a sport that presents one on one combat; this is particularly satisfying to fans. MMA is a very violent sport; competitors enter fight with no protective. Their hands are barely covered by very small gloves, during a contest a spectator can expect to witness every type of body blow imaginable, as well as submissions and choke holds. This is undoubtedly appealing for fans that are seeking thrill and excitement, there is a section of the population that loves real pure unadulterated violence and MMA definitely delivers on that front.

Sport Interest (Funk et al., 2002), according to this author fans become interested in MMA due to the appeal and allure of the sport itself. These fans will also become very interested in and follow certain athletes and fighter they identify with. Considering that many fighters compete in different organizations, this is very important in the growth of the sport because it unifies the sport, if fighters have followers enjoy success while not being relegated to a single organization.

Organizational Interest (Funk et al., 2002), Unlike other mainstream sports like baseball, football, soccer and basketball where there are few leagues and many teams, MMA consists of over 100 organization that promote fighting events. Therefore organizations focus on becoming prominent, recognized and successful, because of this many fans form alliances and are loyal to certain organizations. The UFC for example, has an allegiance of followers that root for it as an organization and are dedicate to attending and watching their events.

Although it is true that there are many MMA organizations that contributed to the immense growth of the sport, none bears more responsibility for the success of combat sports than UFC. After struggling to stay afloat in the sports and entertainment market from 1993-2000, the UFC was finally sold to Zuffa, LCC headed by current president Dana White. Immediately after acquiring the UFC franchise changes were implemented in the sport. These changes occurred in and out of the octagon.

Organizers and leaders within MMA organizations sought to legitimize the sport in order to transform it from having a public perception of being a violent freak show into a legitimate mainstream sport, like The NFL, NBA, MLB or Boxing. In order for the UFC and for MMA to be taken seriously and to be approved as a sport by athletic commissions adaptation or rules were in order.

The UFC format for competition had changed it now boasted competition in five different weight classes, rounds, time limits, a list of over 30 fouls, and eight possible ways that a match could end. By adapting these rules and becoming sanctioned by athletic commissions in states all across America and the world the UFC and MMA were able to open doors and change the opinion of the public and of corporate sponsors. The improved image of MMA in the eyes of consumers and investors was really important because it helped remove a somewhat taboo label from the sport. It also made it socially acceptable to be a fan, a spectator, and investor and business partner with the UFC and other MMA organizations.

Currently sponsors are lining up to get a piece of the financial action; corporate logos can be seen in the octagon, in attire worn by the athletes and in broadcasts of fights. The corporate involvement of businesses and companies in MMA has boosted the economic profitability of the sport and it has allowed it to grow at an immense rate.

The UFC and MMA organizations in general have made a conscious attempt to participate in the sports entertainment market by providing the public with appealing championship and big name fights. They now command a good share of the pay-per view market by giving fans what they demand, in the sports world the public calls for action, drama and storylines. The UFC is aware of this and they organize title fights at least once a month these fight are filled with incentives for the fighters, these incentives financial and otherwise motivate them to perform in spectacular bouts.

Thanks to this the television ratings for MMA organizations have been steadily climbing. According to Kim, Andrew and Greenwell (2009) the UFC now boast better television ratings amongst key demographic groups than the NBA, NHL and MLB in 2006 the UFC established a single season record for the pay-per view industry by generating more than 200 million in the United States alone. The popularity of MMA and the UFC has been steadily increasing not only in America but in Asian countries as well, during the past ten years MMA has become the sport of choices of younger generations. Thanks to the advent of MMA organization like Strike force which was created in Japan in 1993 and K-1 also introduced in the same year but of South Korean origins. Having MMA organizations all across the globe adds to the television appeal and drama of bouts because it gives fans from all kinds of demographic and international origins an opportunity to cheer for one of their own. It creates an emotional bond and a nationalistic appeal and when this occurs fans are more likely to invest time in money in the sport, thereby spurting its growth.

Japan has one of the strongest and most productive economies in the world so it only makes sense that organizations within MMA would want to stake a claim that market. This is something that Strike Force has been battling to do since its creation while achieving great success. In 2002 for example, a Strike Force event managed to fill Tokyo National Stadium drawing in a reported 90, 107 fans. Another Example of growth of MMA in an Asian market was the purchase of the K-1 broadcasting rights by a South Korean broadcasting company for a reported 30 million dollars for a three-year contract.

According to Kim Andrew and Greenwell (2009) when compared to the relative broadcasting value of other sports such as MLB, the MMA has looked quite impressive for the price it commands in the market.

Today MMA is undoubtedly one of the most popular and fastest growing sports, both in fan appeal and also in financial and business aspects. The growth of MMA can be attributed to a lot of significant factors that contributed to make the sport the huge entity that it is now. A lot of credit must be given to Dana White and to the UFC for the involvement in the growth of the Sport. The UFC is in a great position, business wise it has taking some very aggressive decisions by obtaining sponsorships and partnerships with successful sporting, broadcasting and apparel companies. According to Mike Sager the UFC currently has a lot of projects in the works these projects are designed to promote the growth, not only of UFC but of MMA as a sport as well. Dana white is currently working hard to convince the State of New York to lift its ban on MMA, in order to open up one of the biggest markets in the world. Also Sager points out that there is currently on the market a UFC magazine, a best-selling UFC video game, UFC action figures, UFC trading cards and that nine UFC gyms will be opened this year in partnership with the founder of 24 hour Fitness.

Considering the great strides that the UFC has made it is safe to say that MMA has transformed itself in the eyes of sporting world, from obscure and esoteric to mainstream becoming a cultural phenomenon. MMA has managed to shed its taboo label as it was often called a "savage" or "blood" sport, it is now recognized and praised for the technical mastery and pure athletic ability displayed by the fighter. MMA is now considered a glamour sport, a sport that draws the interest of different and varied demographics, look at any UFC or MMA fight and you are likely to see people of all races and social classes, superstars and Hollywood A-listers are often spotted at these events. MMA is no longer a sport fighting for recognition; it is now a sport that holds its own against other sporting giants like the football, baseball, basketball and even boxing. MMA seems to fit right in with our modern contemporary culture, our culture demands fast paced action. It demands aesthetics and violence delivered with an artful mastery. It appears that MMA delivers that and more to the public. It is a sport that is tune with the demands of the viewing and paying public therefore, it is successful. It is however a very young sport and only time will tell if it will continue on its current path of success or if it will dwindle and disappear.

Works Cited

Coakley, J. Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies. 9th ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2006. Print.

Funk, D., D. Mahony, and L. Ridinger. "Characterizing Consumer Motivation as Individual Difference Factors."… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Rise of Mixed Martial Arts.  (2011, February 18).  Retrieved April 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/rise-mixed-martial-arts/7647889

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