Commentary: Arum’s black-white take not why boxing loses fans to UFC

Posted Friday, Jul. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Veteran boxing promoter Bob Arum figures that one of the reasons boxing’s fan base has shrunk comes down to black and white.

Specifically, white people have a harder time enjoying boxing because none of the fighters look like they do, which is why so many of those fans now watch UFC.

Arum said this in May when he was at the American Airlines Center to promote a boxing match that featured two Latino fighters.

“When they see people that don’t look like themselves competing, there is a disinterest,” Arum said.

Don’t buy it.

Arum may have a small point, but what he doesn’t acknowledge is that when boxing was big its power names were African-Americans — Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton, Sugar Ray, etc. This is about quality, and fight fans have discovered that UFC offers quality fights because it is able to hook up the bigger names against each other.

The biggest mixed martial arts fighters are under the control of UFC president Dana White. That allows for unification of fighters and bigger fights, unlike boxing’s various belts and organizations, which can’t agree on the direction of the sunrise.

UFC’s popularity is climbing, and it might never reach boxing’s wider appeal, but it has succeeded in creating a successful and stable niche in the fight market.

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