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UFC 148 Goes Back to Wrestling and Boxing Basics

As the sport of mixed-martial arts has grown over the past decade, the growing perception is that MMA has managed to connect with today's generation in a way that boxing and pro wrestling could no longer do. MMA has managed to find a blend of appealing to fans while keeping the integrity of the sport solely as sport and competition-driven. And for the most part, MMA has done exactly that, specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC has made a conscious effort to keep their product pure and focused on competition and the art form, and letting the product sell itself without any gimmicks or fluff.  And they have done that for the majority of their existence. However, heading into UFC 148, the event carried a different overtone which caused such unique interest and hype around the anticipated event.

Since the UFC has risen from a small cult following into ascension into mainstream culture, pro wrestling fans precisely have called for their favorite art form to mirror that of mixed-martial arts. Boxing fans alike. More action, less entertainment and drama. However, the irony is that heading into UFC 148, this event has felt more pro wrestling and boxing than MMA. With the rubber match of Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz and the impending retirement looming for Ortiz along with the immense hatred and bad blood between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen, the event had other story lines around the main event fights. This was certainly a difference from the usual code of honor, respect and competition-driven focus.

UFC 148 was highly entertaining and had great fights up and down the card. However, the event had pro wrestling and boxing basics all over it.

And let's be honest, the drama - the main interest in UFC 148 - between Silva and Sonnen, which reminded me so much of the feud between Ken Shamrock and Ortiz in the early 2000's, hooked everyone into this fight - hardcore fight fans and casual fans alike. 

UFC 148 had controversial weigh-ins (Silva's shoulder to Sonnen) and a few brush-ups between the two. I think boxing has had about - oh, I don't know - maybe 4,543,427 of those. 

We even saw crazy entrance props (Ortiz's spartan-like helmet), crash-style moments (Griffin walking away after the fight, only to return), sudden entertainment-like segments (Griffin interviewing Ortiz) and other moments that drew your interest besides the usual focus-on-the-art-form aura the UFC likes to present. 

Prepare! For...retirement?!

Who needs Joe Rogan? 

Chael Sonnen, after a failed drug test and a recent run-in with the law after a sketchy land sale as a Realtor, transformed his image from an average fighter who once almost (almost!) took down the world's greatest fighter, reinvented his career by becoming a character.  

Sonnen attacked Silva at all costs, running his mouth, spewing insults and igniting a war of words. Sonnen even went as far as throwing a jab (not literrally, and no pun intended) at Silva's wife, stating he will have her cook him steak after the fight. Yeah, that's definitely pro wrestling. 

And how about the idea of the always-calm individual that suddenly loses his cool and wants to get his hands on the loud-mouthed opposition? That's so wrestling. 

One could say this fight had a clear heel (Sonnen) and an obvious babyface (Silva). And for those of you not up on your pro wrestling terminology, that's bad guy and the good guy. 

Heck, some could go as far as saying Sonnen solely sold this fight. 

I too, can buy that notion. The guy has personality and character. He did a great job. 

After the fight we even got the makeup, and even a humorous play on Sonnen's insult towards Silva's wife as Silva stated he will have a BBQ and Sonnen is invited. 


I love MMA and thoroughly enjoy the UFC. However, after such a great event that was UFC 148, MMA purists and even Dana White himself who attempt to push the record numbers that the event will amass as a result of great fights and interest due to Sonnen's near victory over Silva in the first fight, are telling half-truths. 

What Dana White doesn't want to admit, is that for the first time, the UFC, which tries to separate itself from it's distant cousins in pro wrestling and boxing, gave us exactly what those two are known for, marketing, hype, and showmanship. 

And honestly, after the interest and overall entertainment value of UFC 148, there shouldn't be any shame in admitting that. 

After all, entertainment is the bottom line. 

And yes, UFC, there is no shame in that. 

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