When I first heard the announcement that Affliction and Golden Boy would promote hybrid events featuring boxing and MMA fights, I shook my head in disbelief. It did not surprise me. Companies in trouble often grasp for straws. Affliction could not sell a thousand tickets for their second event. A fatal miscalculation led to their predicament and now the solution is a collage of boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. I just do not get it and neither do most other Mixed Martial Arts fans.
The concept sounds intriguing at first. Combine the two sports and create a mega-event. The problem is the two sports are not as closely linked as people think. Both feature fighting and a referee. The similarities end there. MMA has succeeded because it is not boxing. Boxing events are built around one huge fight and a series of lesser match-ups. MMA uses the pro wrestling formula and builds a strong card from top to bottom. It lives off of the concept that any fighter can win and some day become a star. It is the polar opposite of boxing.
The details of the hybrid events have not been revealed yet. I sincerely hope they think it through and go with moderation. A fight card split between boxing and MMA would be a disaster. The only way I could see this working is if the events feature a series of MMA fights and one boxing match. The boxing match would need to be a huge draw and feature top talent. The one big boxing match would draw PPV buys without annoying diehard MMA fans. Any more than one boxing match and you run the risk of alienating MMA fans, who are usually not boxing fans to begin with.
I am not sure when or where the misconception began, but it grows with each passing year. For some reason, people think MMA fans are also interested in boxing. They think MMA fans are simply disgruntled boxing fans. While there are some who fit this description, the majority of MMA fans could care less about boxing. To me it is like Wimbledon deciding to hold ping pong tournaments at Centre Court.