According to the “Korea Joongang Daily,” the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has become one of the most popular sports in the modern world. In 1993, the UFC was founded, but Mixed Martial Arts was viewed as more of a street fight, instead of a regulated sport.
This forced the leaders of the UFC to create stricter regulations and enforce harsher punishments for doping violations. Mixed Martial Arts is finally legal in New York, and it was the last state in the United States to legalize the sport. The sport was banned entirely in the state because of its violent and aggressive nature.
UFC has seen exponential growth over the last 10 years and was listed number 10 on “Forbes” “World’s Most Valuable Sports Brands.” UFC is worth an estimated 440 million dollars. “Taipei Times” reported, in April 2016 that N.Y. legalized professional Mixed Martial Arts fights. Unfortunately, back in 2001, there was only one fight in N.Y., which was known for the brutal violence endured by the fighters, as a result, led to the sport being banned from the state for 15 years.
“The Times Herald Record” reported, Dennis Bermudez who is also known, as “The Menace” of Saugerties, N.Y. pleaded his case at the legislative offices in Albany, N.Y. Bermudez explained, he needed to travel to different states to compete in Mixed Martial Arts, with his shortest trip to East Rutherford, NJ, which was a 90-minute ride each way. The main argument against Mixed Martial Arts in N.Y. was the violent nature of the fight, but Bermudez’ counterargument was the fact every aspect of the sport is already legal in the state, including kickboxing, Jujitsu, and traditional boxing. Mixed martial arts is finally legalized in New York, which is expected to double the value of UFC, by permitting fights in one of the largest states in the union.
To make the UFC more accountable and accepted worldwide, Mixed Martial Arts developed unified rules and ultimately banned its most dangerous fighting moves. This shift moved the UFC toward a respectable brand and image. Mixed Martial Arts gained mainstream attention in 2005 when the UFC produced “The Ultimate Fighter” on FX, which depicted the journey taken for an individual to become a professional fighter. Additionally, Mixed Martial Arts began to recruit professionals from various forms or variations of martial arts, which incorporated of Judo, boxing, and wrestling.
The UFC President Dana White has remained a prominent figure and works to keep the sport fresh, interesting, and engaging with their fighters and fans. Ronda Rousey has also brought Mixed Martial Arts into mainstream media, because until recently, she was an undefeated fighter for UFC. Rousey was able to show, even women can participate in the sport and still maintain the professionalism enforced by other sports.
The UFC fights still seem to be aggressive in nature. Most sports are aggressive, especially football and hockey. This does not change the popularity of the sport, but in reality, fans find the sports more interesting. White works to choose fighters who have conflict, which drives the ratings of their pay-per-view events, which are planned to pique the curiosity of its fans.
New York has finally legalized Mixed Martial Arts, and the UFC will be able to occupy some of the largest venues the state has to offer. There is always going to be resistance to violent sports, but it seems unlikely there will ever be a ban on Mixed Marital Arts, or other legal sports in any of the states anytime soon, even with evidence of the damage inflicted to the participants.
Mixed Martial Arts lost Kimbo Slice on June 6, 2016, also known as Kevin Ferguson when he passed away from heart disease. Slice was an example of a professional fighter, who gained popularity through UFC after participating in a different fighting sport. Mixed Martial Arts is a complete fighting forum, which allows their participants to use any kind of fighting style to meet their personal needs. This keeps every fight different and exciting, which will keep the UFC and mixed martial arts a prominent sport around the world.
By Kristina Lasher
Edited Cathy Milne
KOREA JOONGANG DAILY: UFC fights to make mixed martial arts a global phenomenon
TAIPEI TIMES: UFC the brand to beat in mixed martial arts
TIMES HERALD RECORD: One bloody bout over: MMA legal in New York
Image Courtesy of Jamison Hiner’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License