BMF: Boxing Magic Flounders

Written by on November 4, 2019

Were you one of the many confused fite fans that could not quite work out why the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world had to wait for 2 guys with more than 20 losses between them to finish fighting for the BMF Strap?

I sure as hell was, this despite the fact that both Golden Boy and DAZN confirmed that Canelo v Kovalev would not take place before the Main Event at UFC 244. So the question begs asking, which Megamind decided to make the $365 million man wait until the end of an event that only made just over $6,5 million at the gate? Because in effect, two (2) World Champions were left on the couches in their respective dressing rooms while Diaz and Masvidal fought for a belt that according to the UFC is a “one-time event” and in the greater scheme of things, means jack-shit!

Forgetting the obvious, like fight scheduling way-back-when, the answer – for me – lies in the fact that the current sports media space is being driven by pay-per-view – so its maximum eyeballs that matter! Based on Saturday night’s decision it looks like boxing is wanting to capitalise on the MMA – in particular the UFC – fan-base or was the advent of the BMF Title just too much for both Golden Boy and DAZN to handle? Did the hype around the BMF Title along with the accompanying WWE circus become bigger than watching Canelo look to become a 4-division Champion?

Could it be that UFC 244 was the first time a sitting US President attended a UFC Championship fight or could it be that despite having some of the top pugilists on their books, both Golden Boy and DAZN are simply mismatched against the “magic” of the UFC. Yes, the BMF belt was a marketing stroke-of-genius, something I would expect from the notorious mind of Conor McGregor, who has also stated that he was the man to sign off on the BMF belt’s design. But does that mean that MMA is now the new driver when if comes to Fite Sports? Does boxing NEED the MMA fan-base?

From a South African context, the answer is most certainly YES! Following on the retirement of Mike Tyson and the retirement of both Brian Mitchell and Baby Jake Matlala, to name a few, boxing in South Africa seemed to disappear as it faded from our TV screens. There was no longer the urgency to wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning to watch one of our World Champions in the square ring or any of the other of the World Title fights. It is only in the last 4/5 years – off the back of the global interest in MMA – that boxing is again building itself back up to its former glory days.

How much of an impact did the Mayweather/McGregor fight have to do with the healthy state of global fite sports? I personally think it was MASSIVE especially when one considers that since then there has been much talk from athletes looking to change focus, most recently Tyson Fury’s successful foray into WWE along with Claressa Shields and Tyson Fury both talking about moves to MMA. Add to this the spectacle of the amateur fight between internet sensations KSI v Logan Paul back in 2018 and their upcoming rematch which marks both their professional debuts.

One thing is for sure, boxing can learn so much more from what MMA has done around the world – just look at what it has done for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The likes of Karate, Judo, Muay Thai and Kickboxing are still light years behind and one wonders how big Karate could have been if the powers that be had taken Mr Miyagi to the next level? In the end, this weekend saw boxing bow to MMA, whether this will ever happen again remains to be seen.

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