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Some people watch UFC because they 'think the fighters are going to die'

A senior American journalist has given a less-than-glowing portrayal of the increasingly popular sport.

The barbaric nature of UFC has been criticised by some.
The barbaric nature of UFC has been criticised by some.

ONE OF THE reasons people watch UFC is because they think fighters are “going to die,” according to a senior American sports writer.

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off the Ball, NBC’s Darren Rovell described how the sport has become a “billion dollar industry” and recalled the enormous growth it has made since Dana White became its president in 2000.

UFC has become increasingly popular ever since, as evidenced by Fox TV’s decision to invest in the sport, with as many as six million people watching their shows.

However, Rovell says UFC still has a long way to go if they aspire to reach the level of popularity that boxing achieved at its height, adding: “They’re still doing pay-per-view for the most part…That’s what killed boxing.”

And Rovell believes there is potential for the sport to gain worldwide popularity, describing it as “extremely exciting,” but says a lot will depend on people’s “first impression” of it:

“In Europe, they aren’t used to mixed martial arts. The main fight might last a minute and a half – are they gonna be ready for it?”

The sport was originally inspired by Gracies in Action video series, produced by the Gracie family of Brazil, featuring Gracie Jiu-Jitsu students competing against martial-arts masters of various disciplines such as karate and kickboxing.

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Paul Fennessy

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