American mixed martial arts fans have heard so many "boxing vs. MMA" arguments through the years that at this point, those arguments usually make people's eyes glaze over. But with the Octagon in England this week for UFC 138, it was interesting to see a British perspective on the same topic.
That's what we got from PTI UK this week (yes, there's a British version of Pardon the Interruption), when they offered the following toss-up topic: "Is the UFC bigger than boxing?"
It's a sign of the enormous growth of the UFC in the UK that anyone would even ask that question. Prizefighting has been popular in Great Britain for centuries, England was the birthplace of the Marquess of Queensberry Rules, and boxing is still quite popular in the UK -- much more popular than it is in the United States. No matter how you answer the question, even asking it is an enormous compliment to the UFC's efforts across the pond.
"The UFC is brilliant. The product is sensational, the packaging, there's no other sport doing it as well," one PTI UK co-host said.
However, the co-host was quite a bit less impressed with MMA as a whole, noting that the UFC only comes to the UK a couple times a year, and that non-UFC MMA shows leave a lot to be desired.
"Most mixed martial arts events take place and they're rubbish. They're garbage," he said.
At the moment, boxing is far bigger than MMA around the world. There's no denying that. But it's rather astounding that MMA is closing in on boxing, given how entrenched boxing is around the globe, and how new MMA is. American sports fans might be tired of "MMA vs. boxing" questions, but hearing those questions asked in traditional boxing hot spots has to be music to the ears of anyone who's thrilled by the worldwide growth of MMA.