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Boxing Promoter Bob Arum Questions the Future Growth of Mixed Martial Arts
Posted on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 6:02 am
by IDMA Editor

Bob Arum, who promotes boxing under the Top Rank name, spoke to USA Today's Sergio Non in regard to the future of mixed martial arts recently.

As expected Arum, who has denigrated that sport in the past, painted a future with limited growth potential.

Photo of Bob Arum - photo credit

Arum's logic is that MMA appeals to only one demographic: "It's the same audience over and over," Arum told Non.

"It's white males, and they have never been able to expand their demographic."

Arum obviously did not listen to or receive notes from UFC president Dana White's UFC 127 media call, where he laid out plans for international versions of the popular "The Ultimate Fighter" reality show.

The first of which will most likely film in 2011 in the Philippines, according to White.

Arum also missed the news when UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre travelled to the Philippines and drew huge crowds.

ďIf people think Iím popular in the United States, they should have seen how it is over there. It was insane," St. Pierre recalled.

"I needed to have three bodyguards everywhere I went, and people were stopping the cars and buses in the street to come see me. I couldnít believe my eyes. Itís hard to believe that the sport is even more popular than even in America.Ē

Arum, who has called the published pay-per-view numbers of the UFC suspect in the past, also ignored the huge popularity of the sport in Japan. In that country, MMA has generated millions of television viewers in the past, with the highest number being 54 million people tuning into a 2003 K-1 event.

Arum continued to dismiss MMA's growth: "The Hispanics don't care anything for it. Most African-Americans don't watch it. Hey, this country is becoming more and more Hispanic, and it's growing African-American (in the) audience."

"So the future success of UFC is limited. The success of boxing is not, because boxing reaches those groups. The only demographic that boxing has lost is the white, young males, period."

Arum's words are suspect from the start, as he has proven in the past to have an axe to grind with MMA and the fans of the sport.

In 2009, he told Ariel Helwani that "UFC fans are a bunch of skinhead white guys watching people in the ring who also look like skinhead white guys."

Helwani then called Arum out saying, "I'm not a skinhead, I'm actually a Jew, I'm not a 'white guy' so nothing like that, no tattoos and a lot of people I know in MMA don't have any tattoos."

Helwani's words failed to stop Arum's tangent: "It (MMA) is not something I would ever care to see, guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground, it's not a sport that shows great, great talent."

In the end, Arum comes across as the bully who is finally getting pushed back.

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