How do we fix MMA and boxing’s worst problems?

MMA and boxing have longstanding issues but John Nash has some snappy solutions.

By: Stephie Haynes | 4 months ago
How do we fix MMA and boxing’s worst problems?

The trouble with MMA and boxing

Let’s face it, combat sports need a lot of work, but for the purpose of this post, we’re specifically focused on MMA and boxing. It should be noted that the latter has an advantage over mixed martial arts thanks to the Ali Act. That said, there is still a plethora of problems that need addressing in boxing.

As far as MMA is concerned, there is a long and winding road ahead of any positive changes, especially with the UFC who set the standard for contract structure by which all other organizations have followed. John Nash has seen contracts from all manner of promotion, large or small, and for the most part, there’s very little difference between them.

So, what are the most glaring issues plaguing boxing? At the top of the list are the sanctioning bodies and how they don’t really do what they’re intended to do. Further compounding the issue is the ABC not really making sure that the sanctioning organizations are enforcing their rules. Just check out the way Association of Boxing Commissions Director Mike Mazzulli answers Aaron Bronsteter’s questions about problems with officiating, and Luke Thomas’ astute commentary about it:

And what about MMA’s most visible problems? I mean, where do we even start? I guess we’ll go to the top and begin with having titles exclusive to promotions and how that can (and has) led to a monopoly in the industry. We could talk about the extremely restrictive nature of the contracts or that there is no form of collective representation available. We could even beat our tired old drums about how bad the revenue share is for UFC athletes. There is no shortage of examples we can point to illustrating how the largest promotion in the world is willing to slice and dice budgets at the expense of the fighters, all while bragging about their record profits.

Potential solutions

Bearing all that in mind, what are some potential solutions to these longstanding issues? If John Nash had his way, he’d make some much needed changes to both sports. One of the things at the top of his list for boxing is making the rankings more objective as well as having title obligations strictly enforced. Step-aside money should have a limitation on how many times a boxer can accept it, as some have abused this privilege.

For MMA, Nash would like to see the Ali Act in place and/or the antitrust suit going to the plaintiffs thus limiting the extreme measures organizations have gone to in the pursuit of locking fighters into draconian contracts. These solutions are years away from coming to fruition, if at all, but John has some ideas for what fighters and boxers can do on their own.

Hold on a second

You can check those out as well as what his dream scenario would be for both sports collectively in the latest Hey Not the Face! episode. Here’s a free preview to get you started:

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About the author
Stephie Haynes
Stephie Haynes

Stephie Haynes has been covering MMA since 2005. She has also worked for MMA promotion Proelite and apparel brand TapouT. She hosted TapouT’s official radio show for four years before joining Bloody Elbow in 2012. She has interviewed everyone there is to interview in the fight game from from Dana White to Conor McGregor to Kimbo Slice, as well as mainstream TV, film and music stars including Norman Reedus, RZA and Anthony Bourdain. She has been producing the BE podcast network since 2017 and hosts four of its current shows.

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