MMA has come a very long way since it's humble and brutal beginning. It's amazing how fast it has evolved from a glorified street fight into a true martial art and a very honorable sport. It is now loved by many and accepted by most. But is that really enough to keep it growing? Is it even enough to keep it where it is today?
The UFC being backed by a billion dollar bank account certainly helps. But all the money in the world can only take it so far. The newer and younger fighters like Jon Jones, Cain Velasquez, and Junior Dos Santos to name a few certainly add promise to the sport's future. Along with big names like GSP, Anderson Silva, and BJ Penn, it seems that MMA has all the potential it needs to continue to thrive. But what it really comes down to is the fans. Even the most loyal MMA fans tend to be very fickle and hard to please. But us loyal fans aren't the problem. It's the people who see it as a fight and not a competitive sport. The ones who don't understand the rules or the techniques, they really don't understand any of it. All they see is a fight and all they want to see is someone get their face smashed in. You know the people I'm talking about, the ones screaming "Make him bleed!" or "Put him in a body bag!" They don't appreciate the sport like the rest of us.
Right behind the "body bag fans" are the casual fans who just don't care enough about the sport to truly understand it. I was watching at a bar when Jose Aldo fought Mark Hominick. It was a good fight and the last round kept me right on the edge of my seat wondering if Hominick was about to make a comeback and finish Aldo after losing most of the fight. But he couldn't do it and so the deserving competitor walked away with the win. It was obvious to me and I'm sure many others that Aldo was the clear winner. But not the guy in the Extreme Couture shirt sitting at the table next to mine. He was on the phone with someone going on and on about how "that one guy" (Hominick) beat "that other guy's" ass and he just couldn't understand why "that dude" (Aldo) won the fight. In his uneducated opinion, "it wasn't even a fight" until the last round.
It's these kinds of fans that are holding MMA back. How many of these fans are there? Are they the majority? How long before they grow tired of this sport that they can't seem to wrap their minds around? How long before the fastest growing sport in the world loses it's appeal to these people and becomes a dying trend? If people no longer see it as the cool thing to watch, will there be enough true fans to keep the sport moving forward? These things could be the deciding factor in the destiny of MMA. Will it pull through and become as big as football, basketball, or baseball? Or has it reached it's limit?
I've never done a fanpost before and to be honest I barely know what the hell I'm doing. But I have literally had nightmares about MMA failing. These types of fans that I mentioned actually sicken me with their neanderthal type views on this sport that I have grown to love. It's something I think about a lot and really want to know what other people think about the future of MMA. Sorry if I made this a lot longer and drawn out than it needed to be. Hopefully it makes sense, but I know you guys are smart enough to get what I'm saying. I truly believe the fans are the biggest threat to MMA. So with the way things are going, does MMA stand a chance? Personally I think it doesn't, most people just see it as a fight. Not as a sport or an athletic competition which is what it has truly become. It's way more than just two guys fighting and that's the real beauty of it in my opinion.