by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
(photo courtesy of HBO)
The voice of HBO Boxing, Jim Lampley, bashed the sport of MMA on Monday during his guest-hosting gig on Jim Rome’s show.
While UFC president Dana White continues to say, as recently as last week in the Washington Post, that the UFC is “coming soon” to HBO, it seems pretty clear that Lampley does not approve and will not be rolling out the welcome mat when or if the UFC does sign with HBO.
Lampley said that while boxing is a real sport, UFC events are nothing more than a bunch of bar fights. Lampley showed no respect for MMA or its competitors, even saying that MMA fighters are “not athletes.”
Mixed martial arts and the UFC were repeatedly referred to as “no-holds-barred fighting” by Lampley, even though that hasn’t been true since 1994. He apparently didn’t even get the proverbial memo about how Zuffa added all of the rules in 2001.
Lampley went on to say that any of the top fighters from the UFC or K-1 would lose very quickly to a top boxer. That may be true in a boxing match, but it would certainly not be true in an MMA fight.
Even if an MMA fighter did beat a top boxer in an MMA fight, Lampley said it would “mean nothing” because “it’s a bar fight,” and he could go to a bar at any time if he wanted to see a bar fight.
Regarding the popularity of MMA in the United States, Lampley said that the UFC will never be bigger than boxing, which is already a factually incorrect statement when it comes to TV ratings and all but the biggest boxing pay-per-views.
Lampley, who has come under fire from some boxing fans in the past for “cheerleading” the HBO-backed fighter in many major boxing matches, is not exactly Mr. Credibility, so his comments should not come as much of a surprise. As the long-time play-by-play man for HBO Boxing, Lampley is also a major player in the old-school boxing crowd, the majority of which feels very threatened by MMA as it continues to chip away at boxing’s audience.