lol at the leg kicks..
But back to topic, Ironman, i think you need to have a look at what casual MMA fans see.
They dont see the beginning of MMA, they dont see the big legends, they see TODAY, what MMA fighters are.
And i have to tell you, being one that saw MMA tru the beginning of Pride(Then had to rewatch UFC 1 etc), MMA has become what is it today : A sport
In the beginning, it was about seeing who had the best 'martial art'(sumo.. i dont think thats a martial art
). But it was quickly found that considering how BJJ was unknown in all other martial arts, compared to other martial arts(and mostly striking) being known, BJJ was so dominant, there was no question about how effective it was( and it was the point of UFC 1,to prove BJJ was the best).
So, it started with martial artist going into the ring. Then, after a few years, you would start seeing wrestlers turned strikers, grapplers turned strikers, etc. But again, it was all about knowing rather well one discipline, and completing their training and fighting style with other lacking abilities. And the famous Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie completly finished the myth that one discipline was enough to win. Sakuraba, doing it on purpose or not, completly neutralised Royce and forced him to slowly capitulate, making him look helpless for 90 minutes. It wasnt a quick KO, where one could argue he got lucky, it was domination for 90 minutes. Back to topic..
Today, we have schools with often the 3 most used discipline in MMA, not offering to be the best in wrestling, or in grappling, or in striking, they offer you be to BE an MMA fighter. This IS the new generation of fighters that comes with it.
I remember writing something about this, about 2 years ago on this forum. I said that the best fighters were very often one dimensional at first, then started being better at everything else. at the time, most agreed and said 'obviously!' , but today, things are not the same.
You have fighters that, instead of being incredible in one discipline and have a lack in other areas, they will be good at one discipline, and average in the others, making more 'average' fighters. And those fighters still make it, because today, with MMA being known and with everybody being at least decent in everything, you HAVE to know everything to be successful(and thats not a critic). The result is that anybody who would be, with time, incredible at something will have to concentrate a lot more on trying to improve their flaws, just to avoid losing because of them.
So, back to what i was saying, casual fans will see those 'average' fighters, mostly on TUF, where its often young guns would wants to
1) Make a name
2) get a contract
3) Get on the payroll to live off of MMA
To do all 3, or even just 1 of them, they need to win. And we all know those guys, 99% of the time, are not getting in the UFC after. In fact, often only 2 do, and we are not even sure how long they last, or how their career will go.
How can you,like in the article, 'capture the imagination' or not 'lack of athletic abilities' as an MMA fighter when you are on national TV and you are drinking pee out of a shooter glass, not once, but you also had to drink your buddie's pee as well, or gassing after 1-2 rounds of 5 mins. The last one can be arguable, because MMA is MUCH more demanding(and exciting) then boxing.
But the point is, today, new MMA fighters, when they start off, will not showcase incredible abilities in any areas, thus not impressing anybody that doesnt know MMA well(and even the ones that do know anything).
Perfect example : Chris Leben. I dont care how much some people like him, he is a bad example for MMA. He has no abilities whatsoever, but because he can take a shot, and never boring, he gets popular. And while he has gotten 'better', he still fights like a street fighter, he goes with antics like asking to be hit, but he cant answer with anything else than brawls.
When you see 2 guys circling in the ring and not throwing anything decent to connect, or just throwing huge flurries and hoping one lands, the perception is rather simple : they are street fighters.
When you see one guy over the other just trying to hit the other guy widly and you dont get it that there are actual ways to GnP and to defend GnP, you are thinking street fights as well.
When you see a guy screaming in pain and you dont understand that he just has to tap to stop it, you are thinking those guys are freaking brutal and the have no respect for one another.
But i think the most important aspect that repulses people from MMA, its the GnP, esp after a guy is knocked down. Very rarely you will see good clean GnP,its just all guns blazing until the man with white gloves stops it.
While it was worse at the beginning of MMA, it had a period of great showcase of what MMA was about, and today, there are still great fighters, actually a lot, but if often takes a few sloppy ones to ruin it, esp when they are showcased in popular media, like PPV or reality shows.
That person who wrote the article, plenty of mistakes from boxing, which shows she actually wanted to discredit MMA, not actually compare boxing to MMA.
However, boxing, i have to say, is viewed as more noble for the simple fact that boxing is a sport.
MMA is not. Its fighting, and nothing else. The way it is promoted right now as a sport, it always will have its haters, because MMA is not meant to be for everybody, MUCH less than boxing is. Already it has changed, and while mentality will change overtime, do not let the mainstream absorb and mold what MMA will be tomorrow.