The sport of kickboxing, which focuses solely on striking with kicks and punches, is undoubtedly a popular sport in places such as Japan and Holland, as well as other countries all over the globe.
However, in the good old United States of America, people haven't really accepted it and been drawn to it as much as the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).
There have been plenty of fighters enjoying success in both sports and are known all over the world such as Semmy Schilt, Ray Sefo, Mark Hunt, Melvin Manhoef and most notably, Alistair Overeem.
Tyrone Spong, the latest kickboxer-turned-MMA fighter says he's confused as to why kickboxing hasn't exploded in America as much as MMA has, especially when many fans are quick to boo as soon a fight hits the mat and go nuts when they see an all-out slugfest on the feet, ala Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida.
So why is kickboxing, an all striking sport, not as popular in the USA as it is in other countries?
Spong tried to break it down on "The MMA Hour."
"I think it's stupid. I really don't understand. It's something about the American culture I haven't figured out yet. I've been trying to do that, but it's hard. Even at all the UFC events, you see that the people, crowd, the audience, they start booing when guys go to the ground when they wrestle a lot and they do jiu-jitsu and they start applauding and start yelling when they stand and strike and bang. So, I don't know if it's a thing of a ring or the Octagon that gets them, or the small gloves, I don't know what it is. But, people in the states like to see people bang it out but at the same time kickboxing isn't that popular when kickboxing is all about striking and standing and trading and banging it out, so, you tell me, I don't understand. Maybe it will become bigger in the future. I'm here now and maybe if some other big kickboxers come to live here and the Americans get to know them a little bit more."
Though not a proven fact, it definitely seems boo birds are often heard when the wrestling and jiu-jitsu aspects of MMA take precedent over the striking area in fights more often than not.
With 57 kickboxing bouts under his belt, Spong looks to make his professional MMA debut on Nov. 3, 2011 as he takes on Travis Bartlett in a light heavyweight showdown at the inaugural World Series of Fighting card in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Training alongside MMA heavy hitters such as the aforementioned Overeem and Rashad Evans, along with the rest of the Blackzillian fight team, Spong assures everyone his wrestling and ground skills are being polished on a daily basis. However, don't be surprised if the striking area is on display more than the others.
How about it Maniacs, what's your take on Spong's comments?
Do you find it odd, as well, that many MMA fans are so quick to boo when a fight hits the floor, yet won't give the sport of kickboxing a second look? Do you have other theories as to why kickboxing isn't as popular in the USA as it is in other countries?