Opinion: Adrien Broner and Another Round of Boxing vs. MMA
By Jesse Heitz
In the last few days, numerous stories have surfaced regarding what one could call the identity of Mixed Martial Arts. However, today’s piece will examine the major story floating around that features a prominent member of the boxing community taking aim at MMA.
In an interview with Fighthype.com World Boxing Association Welterweight Champion Adrien Broner stated,
“I’m really not too big on MMA. I really don’t look at it as a real sport because anybody can come into MMA and learn that. You can learn that. Listen, you can’t just come in to boxing and be a world champion. You’ve got to be born with it … Like you. Right now, you can go into MMA, learn all the submission moves and be a world champion. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. I don’t give a fuck what you do, you can try to come over to boxing, and you won’t ever be a world champion. I’m not disrespecting you, but I’m just saying, that’s how it works.”
The first order of business is to state that this view is just plain absurd. Anyway, I’ll happily burst Mr. Broner’s bubble. You can learn technique after technique, be it punches or submissions. You can be a walking technique encyclopedia, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate to having the athletic prowess or simply the inherent ability to become proficient in a given art’s practice. You can’t simply be taught how to be a world champion grappler. Everyone who goes to their local Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school does not, simply with enough practice, become an ADCC or Mundials champion.
Let’s be clear, practice and long hours at the gym will only maximize your given athletic ability. It won’t magically give you the striking of Anderson Silva, the wrestling of Georges St-Pierre, and the ground game of Demian Maia. This is what makes Broner’s argument so ridiculous. For a grown man to harbor the notion that you could be taught world-class grappling, wrestling, and striking, yet somehow the same rule wouldn’t apply to boxing.
Broner isn’t the first boxer to espouse such sentiments. A long line of boxers, supremely confident in the superiority of their sport, have entered the MMA world with the vast majority receiving a rude awakening. If Broner is so unshakeable in his beliefs, why not take some time “to learn” some of the submission moves he’d need to be a world champion, then enter the Octagon and tangle with the likes of Jose Aldo or Anthony Pettis?
It appears that Broner can’t help but regurgitate the same old tired argument that has been spewed from boxing’s talking heads for years. Don’t get me wrong, I love boxing, which of us MMA acolytes doesn’t respect and appreciate “the sweet science”? But let’s face it, boxing isn’t the sport that it was prior to the dawn of MMA. It’s a decaying sport, as much as I hate to admit it, that’s the reality.