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Pro Wrestlingisation of MMA

Posted 02-14-2008 at 07:35 AM by

Every now and then I here about the Pro-Wrestlingisation of the UFC by Dana White and how, this is generally a bad thing. In aspects I believe and I’m not alone that there is too much hype less substance. I watch UFC Unleashed on Bravo a lot which is an hour long highlight show which contains two to three fights, sounds sweet? However once you go by the adverts and shoot interviews you generally only get 20-25 min of pure MMA action, in an hour long show? Pfft.

There is one aspect of Pro-Wrestlingisation that I do agree with and I am grateful for however. Dana White has stated many times that he refers to the boxing business model as an how not to do things, which is fair enough there are problems within the boxing business model. Too many weight classes, too many governing bodies, corrupt promoters etc. This leaves very few models to copy or at least use as a guide, bringing me to Vince McMahon’s WWE formerly WWF. I recently read an article in Fighters Only which I will not plagiarise here which states that MMA took off in Japan on Pro Wrestling cards or Pro Wrestling organisations moved towards MMA.

Vince McMahon took his fathers regional organisation and took it to a billion dollar global enterprise in 20-30 years. There are definite parallels between the WWE and the UFC’s break out. The fact that the UFC was so marginalised and almost illegal when Dana and Co came on board and things began to change. Stricter rules sanctioned by a legitimate body slowly it began to take shape with television deals. Pro Wrestling on the other hand was a minority form of entertainment for much of its history there had been a couple of boom periods especially in the early 50’s but not until the WWE did wrestling become big again in the west.

Television is key the UFC could not survive much longer on the internet it needed and TV loves hype, as fans we all want to see the fighting, less adverts, less interviews more action but for the sport to survive I feel that people need to get to know the fighters. As fighters can really only be expected to fight 5 or 6 times a year at the very most it is hard for the casual fan to get to know the fighter if the rarely fight. This is why TUF was formed to give a chance for those to get to know the fighters and start rooting for them.

Boxing is an accepted mainstream sport and has been for over a century. MMA needs to be compartmentalised into smaller organisations for the time being. Maybe in 10-30 years there will be now orgs just MMA but now is not the time for that and adopting the Pro Wrestling business model is what the sports needs for now. Yeah you may hate Dana and he may be to arrogant but right now he is doing the right thing by trying to build his brand and not acknowledge the competition.
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