This is mostly in response to Brent Brookhouse's article: "Let's all be adults and shut up about MMA vs boxing already."
I disagree with some of the things Brookhouse said. I'll start by analyzing some of the points he made. I'll conclude by briefly stating why (and for how much longer) MMA vs. boxing still needs to be discussed.
"When someone like Jones feeds into the ‘this is real fighting, like in the streets’ mentality. Feel free to call it idiotic. Because it is. The goal of neither sport is to be a street fight. When a fan does the ‘x is better than y, fact’ thing. Blow it off as idiotic. Because it is. Personal preference doesn't make a sport ‘better.’"
First of all, I don't know these idiots you speak of. Jon Jones said in the interview quoted in Brookhouse's article, "What I do, I consider to be the true art of fighting." He is not, nor is anyone else, forgetting that you can eye-gouge and groin shot in a street fight. MMA is basically street fighting turned into an art form/sport. People that have trained groin shots for years may disagree, but I don't consider that an art. If some people think that MMA is the exact equivalent of a street fight, then, yes, they are idiots, but I haven't seen these people, and if you have, they're probably trolls.
Although I can't speak for Jones, when he talks about the "true art of fighting", I'm pretty sure he's talking about MMA with the rules that are currently in place. For the most part, there is mutual respect in this "true art of fighting". I don't think Jones or many other people would consider groin shots and testicle twisting an art.
"While the fires of MMA vs. Boxing have died down since the bad ol' days, there's still this 'in a real fight' defense of one as superior. And let's all stop doing that. The point of MMA is not to be a representation of a street fight or a bar fight. It's a sport… Neither sport is 'better,' nor is neither sport a representation of 'true fighting.' Yes, MMA involves more aspects of ‘fighting’ but unless you're willing to accept that the next logical step of the argument is that the UFC had better rules in the first few ‘no-rules’ shows because they were -- and there's no way to argue against this -- more like a real fight, then you have to drop the ‘that's not how fighting is on the streets’ argument to denigrate the sport of boxing."
If you think that saying MMA more closely resembles a street fight than boxing is denigrating boxing, there's probably an emotional investment or something else clouding your judgment. Unless someone brings it up every time a boxer accomplishes something, it's simply an observation and a fact in most peoples' eyes.
Let's just state the obvious. We're not talking about MMA being "better" in a general sense and/or from a subjective view. Which sport better resembles a street fight is pretty objective. Quick estimate (just for discussion purposes): boxing uses about 30% of what's used in a street fight (hands), MMA uses about 85% (30% hands, 25% kicks, 30% grappling), street fighters use everything MMA fighters use plus 15% worth of eye-gouges and whatnot. We may not like the image that comes with people saying that MMA resembles a street fight, but it's still a valid point.
Brookhouse commented that, "there's still this 'in a real fight' defense of one as superior." He even called it a "dopey thing that MMA fans still cling to". If you lived in a bad neighborhood with your son where he constantly got picked on and beat up (street fight style), you would probably sign him up at a MMA gym (assuming you're not moving somewhere else). Without a doubt, he would have a better chance of defending himself with MMA training. It is a "superior" form of combat in this very obvious way.
Brookhouse also stated, "unless you're willing to accept that the next logical step of the argument is that the UFC had better rules in the first few 'no-rules' shows because they were more like a real fight, then you have to drop the 'that's not how fighting is on the streets' argument to denigrate the sport of boxing." Just because you don't want to see eye-gouging and groin shots doesn't mean that you can't compare the two sports (with respect to which one more closely resembles a street fight). It's not all or nothing. MMA is a much closer representation of a real fight. This is pretty much a fact. Again, it doesn't denigrate the sport of boxing unless: a) you have an emotional investment in the sport of boxing to make you think this way, or b) fans constantly bring it up whenever a boxer accomplishes something.
When will this discussion end? I see it like the Democrats vs. Republicans discussion. Generally speaking, MMA promoters are out to please the fans first, make money second (just like Democrats usually want to please citizens first, with other issues taking a back seat). Generally speaking, boxing promoters are the opposite, money first, fans second (just like Republicans usually want to please corporations first, with other issues taking a back seat). This is not right for obvious reasons and it's worth talking about. Also, boxing has the WBA, WBO, WBC, IBF, IBC, IBO, etc... I would probably watch boxing just as much as I watch MMA if there was one major boxing organization (I want to see the best vs. the best, not champions trying to hold on to their belts/flawless records). Once boxing gets its act together (not that MMA is perfect, but boxing has more to learn from MMA than the other way around), we can stop having this discussion.