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Ultimate Fighter Vs. The Contender, Which Will Come Out On Top

Aug 17, 2007
Spike TV and ESPN are going head to head with their latest reality series launches. More may be at stake than originally meets the eye. Boxing which used to be the mainstay of ESPN, late night sports, sports bars, casinos, Pay Per View and gambling, has lost vast market share and audience to the latest trend in fighting, mixed martial arts. The audience that generally watches this programming is 18 to 35 years old and is highly coveted by many advertisers as they are a high brand recognition and very profitable niche. Just by a quick search on Google one can see the rising popularity of mixed martial arts and the opposite for boxing.

It all started with the advent of the UFC, Ultimate Fighting Championship, in the early 90s. Stars like the Gracies, Ken Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Dan The Bear Severn, etc fought in no holds barred contests that were both grueling and exciting. The gore, injuries, and anti fighting crowd grew and resulted in multiple bans and the UFC had to resort to overseas tournaments which almost bankrupt the organization. Then, just like in boxing, safety rules were implemented and it was allowed back in the U.S. It was even okayed by the Nevada Boxing Commission and they started holding fights at the Las Vegas Casinos. Then UFC president Dana White made an agreement with Spike TV for a ultimate fighting reality tv show and the rest was history.

NBC, at the same time launched The Contender. A Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray production that basically watched a group of boxers get eliminated or narrowed to the one final winner. The first series of The Contender was basically awful, and resulted in the show being cancelled. NBC then sold it to ESPN, whom has since focused more on the fighting and less on the fighters personal lives, NBCs big mistake. The Contender has fared better under ESPN as one can see on Google, Myspace or EBay auction sales. It still lags far behind Spike TVs Ultimate Fighter.

The ultimate Fighter has more to offer than just upper cuts and body blows. It also has managed to include a very diverse group of fighters and some of the best fighting in history, like Forrest Griffin and Stephen Bonner, an unbelievable slugfest that capped the first series as a massive hit. The Ultimate Fighter adds an element of the unknown as fighters of different backgrounds and fighting styles are matched up. Jiu Jitsu and submission fighting against strikers, kickers, etc, the possibilities and excitement are limitless. There is more at stake in every fight, like the question of which fighting style is superior.

The boxing in The Contender is basically about conditioning and experience. There is a long history with boxing, but just as with baseball and the Barry Bonds steroids scandal, the legend and lure has been lost by fighters like Mike Tyson and their poor behavior both in and out of the ring. There is also a dark cloud over boxing as evidence and allegations of corruption, set up and thrown fights have recently been made public.

The Contender versus the Ultimate Fighter is a great match on its own as much more is at stake. The future of boxing as we know it is at a crisis. Their fan base and popularity has dwindled in recent years and the UFC and its reality show the Ultimate Fighter are shaping up to take most of its audience away. Just look at the number of illegal videos and downloads on Youtube for mixed martial arts and UFC ultimate fighting. As soon as UFC 61 Royce Gracie and Matt Hughes hugely popular fight was over, it was already on Youtube and elsewhere on Google, Myspace and Ebay. In Vegas, rumor has it that an acquisition or merger may be necessary in the very near future if boxing is to survive. If they do not do something soon, boxing will end up like the Brooklyn Dodgers, a distant memory.
About the Author
David Maillie specializes in automotive safety products and information. He holds numerous patents and awards for his patented headlight cleaner and restorer. For more information, tips, safety and money saving products for your auto please visit MDWholesale
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