Hand-to-hand combat has been around since time immemorial. Our ancestors used this to establish dominance, resolve disputes, promote competition, and so on. Over time, the practice has taken on many forms and have been turned into sporting disciplines. Boxing has become the premier example of this for a very long time but mixed martial arts is making a surge in the public sphere. There are plenty of enthusiasts following both sports, enjoying them for the unique things that each of them offers. They are certainly both entertaining if you are a fight fan but there are several key differences between them.
Striking and Grappling Rules
The first is the striking rules. Boxing only allows fighters to use their hands when hitting their opponents. They cannot use their feet, their elbows, their knees, or any other body part. They must strike with their gloved fists using a variety of punches. The legal target is limited as well to the area above the belt. Hit anything below and you can suffer a point deduction. Punches must come from the front or sides, never from the back. MMA is a lot more liberal when it comes to attacks with kicks being part of the arsenal. So are elbows and knees. Fighters don’t need to stand up the whole way as grappling on the ground is legal. Several grapplers & MMA fighters have been incredibly successful on the octagon.
Gear, Uniform, and Equipment
Since boxers use their fists to strike for the whole fight, it is quite common for them to sustain hand injuries such as broken bones. This is one of the reasons why both amateurs and pros need to wear cushioned gloves. These protect them while enabling them to last for longer on the ring. The cushion can take some sting out of the punches but clever boxers can still accumulate points with carefully placed shots. Knockout artists aren’t bothered as they can put their opponents to sleep even with heavy gloves.
Since MMA fighters usually train for boxing as well as other disciplines, they are familiar with all of the gear used in the gym including mitts, pads, punching bags, and so on. Check out Best Boxing Gear – 2017 reviews if you plan on making some purchases.
There is no shortage of articles predicting the death of boxing but it remains, for the time being, the premier combat sport in terms of revenues generated. The prize purse for the top tier matchups is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The leading names have tremendous star power and can take control of much of the negotiations. MMA stars are not yet of the same level but there are indications that they are getting there if recent blockbuster crossover matchups are to be used as a basis. Even purely MMA events can generate commendable PPV numbers.
A big reason for the higher purse in boxing is that it has deeply established roots and far-reaching branches. There are millions of dedicated fans who have been following the sport since the days of Ali and the other greats. The rich history of boxing is well-publicized and is part of pop culture. Although MMA has a long history as well, it hasn’t been in the mainstream consciousness for very long. Its roots are still getting established in countries around the world.
Indeed, boxing is a sport that enjoys strong organization from the grassroots around the globe. The amateur ranks are highly active with every country having its own national governing body taking care of the development at all levels. National, regional, and global tournaments are held on a regular basis. On the other hand, MMA can boast of a strong presence in some countries but not so much in others. Gyms are still being established in many locations, especially outside of the hotspots, and it will take time for these to reach a critical mass of students to sustain the sport in these areas.
There have been talks of MMA potentially becoming an Olympic event but this has not yet come to fruition. Recognition by the IOC is elusive. Some quarters are pushing for it while others don’t like the idea. This is fair since the move will have both pros and cons. An ancient form of mixed martial arts was actually part of the early Olympic games but it has since been dropped in favor of the separate disciplines. Boxing, on the other hand, has long been part of the festivities with medalists often having successful careers in the pro ranks.