Zuffa also did a nice of job exposing people to a lot of their top talent, and tons of great fights on basic cable. But Chael's comment of being protected is true of all pro-boxers that have a high level of skill. People don't really start to pay attention to you until you're 25-0 with 20 ko's. That's a lot of fights to commit to a fighter who you don't know if will pan out to be a champ or just a journeyman. The road to the UFC can be a lot shorter, and if a guy is 12-2 and has a couple wins in the UFC, you know he's fighting top guys in the world, not cans to continue to pad his record.
Yes, but that's because there are less good MMAist around than there are good boxers, in particular internationally. A couple of years ago it wasn't that much of a big deal if a fighter lost 2 in a row, today it's much more dangerous for him to get cut. That's because the number of talent is growing. I guess MMA is heading in a similar direction as boxing.