Boxing is no match for staged and brutal violence

By Brandon Owen, Student Reporter.
Professional wrestling organizations such as the World Wrestling Federation (WWE) are non-competitive, prearranged, athletic performing art, which basically puts mixed martial-arts (MMA) fighting and pro wrestling in two separate boats. These boats, however, happen to look very similar to each other.
Pro wrestling is essentially a theatrical soap opera that has a cult following. Rather than pitting athletes against each other in relation to prior sporting achievements, rivalries and storylines are created to enhance the action on stage and add dramatic effects. Wrestling isn’t meant to deceive the audience, but to create a spectacle for the audience to enjoy, beyond just the fighting. Roland Barthes was one of the first theorists to propose the notion that wrestling deserves to be analyzed beyond its “cheap entertainment” purposes.
Unfortunately for pro wrestling, MMA leagues, such as PRIDE and UFC, have become much more popular recently. Fans that aren’t interested in story lines and prefer actual sport have shifted rapidly towards MMA fighting. Real blood, real injuries, real fighting and real personas have finally begun to outweigh the “show” of wrestling.
Evidence of this shift has come from the pay-per-view sales, with UFC breaking records, and participants landing advertising deals, such as Rashad Evans doing the “I’m a PC” campaign for Microsoft, Chuck Liddell getting cameos in “Entourage.”
The only reason WWE has not been completely eclipsed by UFC is from their merchandising. Historically, pro wrestling has had better video games, better action figures and better toys. WWE has also produced multiple movies starring their top wrestlers, such as “The Condemned” and “The Marine.” Pro Wrestling has even received boosts from outside the WWE, with the acclaimed film, “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke.
Pro wrestling and MMA are competing for popularity. However, the two sports offer a more dramatic display than boxing. Their rivalry has made boxing seem less brutal and less sensational. The athletic prowess of Ali vs. Frazier is no longer prominent in the sport, and the big talking characters like Tyson have turned into wannabe celebrities like Floyd Mayweather In fact, Mayweather appeared on WWE in an attempt to make boxing appeal to a younger audience, proving what an attention-seeking character he is. Boxing matches are much rarer to see on television, since WWE is on the CW nightly and UFC seems to be on Spike TV 24 hours a day. These two sports cater to an audience who enjoy brutal violence, as well as those who appreciate drama and storylines. Boxing, at one time, provided both of these aspects, but not to such extremes.
Boxing has faded dramatically over the years. In fact, most people cannot seem to name more than one or two boxers that are currently fighting at a professional level. All the good ones are retired. The same can’t be said for UFC and WWE, however, because they are both still flourishing by adversely complementing each other: one for show and one for sport.