Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Griffin vs. Bonnar: Sporting Event of the Decade?

MMA has declared the first Ultimate Fighter Finale fight between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar as the Fight of the Decade. Total no-brainer there. No MMA fight has been as important to the sport before or since. Which brings up the fight for consideration for another title: Sporting Event of the Decade.
Sounds a little too much? Consider this; there probably isn't an individual event that meant as much to a sport as the Griffin-Bonnar fight did for MMA. Not only did it save the UFC, but it's led the way for all of MMA to enter the mainstream. Without TUF, UFC might have gone under. Strikeforce (and EliteXC before it) probably wouldn't have been shown on CBS. Tapout might not have become a clothing line big enough to sell in major sporting goods stores. Forrest Griffin might still be a cop or a patrol officer in Athens, GA.
The Griffin-Bonnar fight is to MMA what Super Bowl III was to the NFL. Or what the 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship Game with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird was for college basketball. Or what Tony Hawk's 900 was for skateboarding (and action sports in general). It was the event that put the sport on the map. It can hardly be said for any Super Bowl or World Series this decade.
Sure there have been great Super Bowls and World Series and other such events this decade. But none of these had the impact the Griffin-Bonnar fight has had on their sports. Even the Red Sox reversing the curse in the 2004 World Series was virtually anti-climatic. Super Bowl XXXVI, which signaled the beginning of the Patriots' dynasty may come close. But that was more for an individual team than for an entire sport. It was hardly what you could call a game-changer.
It may be a stretch to call the Griffin-Bonnar fight the Sporting Event of the Decade to many. But no sporting event this decade has had the lasting impact on a sport and its place in society. That is how greatness is really defined. It's not just how good or how big an event was, but how much of an impact it had in the end.

(via MMA

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