Many see the Ultimate Fighting Championship as a lawless, bloody, slug-fest between two men locked up in a “cage” where the winner is the one who makes it out alive where Senator John McCain once referred to it as “human cockfighting”. Well. Their all wrong. Maybe not on the bloody and slug-fest side of it though…

The UFC is the world’s fastest growing sport and sixth most popular in the USA. Originating in 1993 the UFC is a mixed martial arts feast of fighters from all around the globe specialising in ju-jitsu, muay thai, judo, karate, and wrestling, which many take years and years to perfect. The rise of the UFC can only be credited to the professional conduct of the owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White who have turned this somewhat no-rules and unorganised sport into a domineering organisation that has seen close to 150 pay-per-views that have been conducted in numerous countries including Australia, Ireland and even Abu Dhabi.

A prime example of the rapid rise of the UFC is the attraction of new sponsors such as Gatorade who is a key sponsor in the NFL. This is due to the coveted demographic of 18-35 males that the UFC have a major control over. Encouraging these advertisers is the realisation of the professional nature of UFC fighters. Previously being labelled as “thugs”, these fighters are now being recognised for their expertise gained from many years of training and dedication. Let’s take mixed martial arts legend Randy Corture for example. Randy, a five time UFC title holder has pushed his way into mainstream culture and has become a recognisable face due to his thoughtful and well-spoken and behaved nature. This has seen him land a big Hollywood movie role in The Expendables as well as being an opinion leader for exercise gear. Yes it’s coming…YOU GOTTA DOOR YOU GOTTA GYM!

The stereotype of brutality and savageness that plagues the UFC is slowly being diminished with the sport continually reaching new highs and dominating and driving the once popular sport of boxing into the ground. This is due to its versatility such as boxing elements and a ground game, the professional nature of fighters, as well as vast rules to ensure the safety of fighters and the overall competitive nature of the sport. I can provide all the reasons in the world but the proof is in the pudding where UFC 129 in April saw 55 724 people fill the Rogers Centre in Toronto to see a home grown legend known as Georges St Pierre in action.

Yeah, the UFC can still be seen as two men slugging it out for the top prize, but it sure does please millions of fans around the world and for that reason I guess it can be seen as a now socially acceptable sport. It also looks like we have a new fan “they have cleaned up the sport to the point, at least in my view, where it is not human cockfighting any more”. Ok John…

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