This Sunday August 29th — represents neither celebrity boxing — nor MMA versus boxing. Many of you will in fact debate this, yet, where does this leave us? Where does it end? The more precarious sentiment you should all be asking yourself is: Is it weird and off-putting how we all can ruefully say, ‘I can't wait to see Jake Paul finally fight a real MMA fighter with knockout power.' Ehm... (Insert UFC Just Bleed Guy gif). Golly.
Jordan Breen offers the most perspicacious insight into this. As Breen notes, "The truth is that while there is certainly a crossover between boxing and MMA fans who adore them both alike, for the kind of MMA fanatics who are active on social media, read MMA news every day and consume multiple events a week, there is a longstanding inferiority complex." Breen further adds that in the following years of MMA's inception — from the late 90's — ‘human cockfighting' fans have assembled and smouldered as one, particularly due to the accessibility of the internet in comparison to earlier times, "giving them a bonding place to share their interest in this outlaw pursuit."
Now, let's analyze this for a moment. And let's not forget how MMA fans have evolved from the Affliction and Tap Out - intentionally small sized t-shirt — machismo boasting days. Looking to start a fight with anything they look at, after a few fruity flavoured excessively water-downed vodka shots. All while drooling over the exotic dancers in the strip club (mine was called The Fox).
We need to focus on what’s the actuality: Jake Paul, the former Disney and long-standing YouTube star, has got himself here by his own volition. He takes his boxing training seriously. MMA fans can be as sour and butt hurt as they like; however, what they or the boxing community cannot deny is the ascendance of this rigmarole saga (along with his brother Logan Paul in the boxing world), is continuing to climb. With Paul signing a multi-fight deal with Showtime in May of this year, the publicity and profile-raising allure will continue to grow. Yet, if the fair likelihood he loses his next fight to the former multiple time UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (by rather embarrassing fashion) the general combat sports consensus will stay sane. Neither MMA and/or the boxing community can debate this with ease – in terms of what this cacophony of a boxing event does: for all of combat sports.
It’s worth noting that in terms of concerning baggage, Paul is known for being a ceaseless scam artist, especially when targeting children in his previous discreditable marketing schemes; was caught using racial slurs on camera, and has been accused of sexual assault. Paul has also made xenophobic comments previously, which were troubling to say the least.
In terms of Woodley, his wearing backstory exemplifies the epitome of hard times; a child born into it.
Growing up in a dysfunctional household, as Ross Cole of LowKickMMA states, "with a family of 15 crammed into a four-bedroom home in a rundown area in Ferguson, Missouri."
By way of LowKickMMA, Woodley notes, "We really had a choice. We could either get picked on every day or you would join the gang and do the picking on. We used to roam these streets like we had everything going on. I’ve fought in the streets, I’ve been jumped, I’ve been shot at, I’ve ran through alleys trying to avoid people, so fighting someone in the Octagon with rules and a referee to stop it doesn’t really scare me."
A far distant from Paul, who’s most hard-pressed times comprised of work in landscaping for a brief period as a young teenager.
With two entirely different backstories, two entirely different backgrounds in terms of combat sports and survival, despite what fans say: they will watch this Sunday night to see who comes out on top. Let’s all turn from being acrimonious and bitter, to sanguine and cheerful. For the prospect of a more fruitful and global — combat sports ecosystem.