Former pro boxer Fernando Vargas spoke recently with the Las Vegas Sun about his desire to promote hybrid boxing-and-MMA events. What I felt would be a fairly vanilla article rehashing the decline of boxing and rise of mixed martial arts, quickly turned into an eye-opening annoyance of an interview.
Vargas shows himself to be rather uneducated about MMA, although interested in its popularity. As with most of the boxing industry, there’s not much respect shown by this former world champ for the deeply ingrained tradition of martial arts, outside of the here-and-now money.
Fernando’s no Larry Merchant by any means, but the following quotes I found to be alarming.
“I get to have my first love in boxing and you get mixed martial arts, so you get the best of both worlds,” Vargas said. “This has never been done before where we’re putting the two sports alternating.”
First off, it has indeed been done and did not fare so well.
“MMA is the newest craze in the entertainment world,” Vargas said. “MMA is a legalized street fight and everyone loves to see a fight.”
Fernando, Fernando, Fernando… a legalized street fight? By the same standard what does that make boxing out to be, then? Will Fernando take over as the new Gary Shaw? Lord, help us.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with this bit…
“I’m definitely interested to see how fans respond to it,” Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer said. “Certain aspects of both boxing and MMA carry over in this sport, so I guess the fan base probably can as well.”
Keith, you’re a good guy, but it’s not that simple.