HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Many boxing people resent Mixed Martial Arts in general and the Ultimate Fighting Championship in particular.
It's relatively new. It's catching on fast. It's hurting their sport at the box office.
I've heard legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum dismiss it -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- as grown men rolling around in their underwear.
Personally, I think those resentments are well founded.
I'd much rather watch something like Saturday night's Viva Don King boxing card at Seminole Hard Rock than the latest UFC battle.
In fact, I can't watch UFC -- at all. I find it grotesque and overwhelmingly violent, and King agrees with me ... to a point.
"MMA is just an outright Pier 6 brawl," the octogenarian promoter said this week. "It's sophisticated barbarism."
Yet that's increasingly what the video-game generation craves, a fact that obviously seems to be driving UFC's popularity.
Well, that and the promotional genius of UFC President Dana White.
Count King as an admirer of sorts.
"UFC is doing a much better job in advertising and promoting their (events) than the guys that are out here (in boxing)," King said. "The young kids want to see action, and UFC is exciting. That's where the knockout punch comes in boxing."
And yet, that's as far as you'll draw King into a comparison of the two sports.
"There's no comparison," he said. "It's 'in addition to.' "
Mike Marrone, the Vero Beach cruiserweight fighting Panama's Guillermo Jones for his WBA title in Saturday's main event, echoes that sentiment.
Marrone agreed with my analogy that MMA is to boxing as arena football is to the NFL.
"It's a different sport to me," Marrone said. "Apples and oranges. It's not the same. It's not even close to being the same."
So who's tougher?
Marrone has a few friends who train on the MMA circuit. He has met a few of the bigger stars in the UFC realm.
Does he find himself defending boxing's honor against this new challenger?
"I don't really get into many arguments with them," he said. "If you get an MMA guy that comes into a boxing ring and boxes any world-class boxer, the world-class boxer is going to kill him."
And the reverse?
" If you get a world-class boxer and put him in the MMA, odds are the MMA guy is going to get him," Marrone said. "I've never been choked out, so I don't know what that feels like."
As much as Marrone loves boxing, as much as the business management major at Indian River State College tracks the positive trends of boxing's pay-per-view trends, you won't catch him running down White's product either.
"Is MMA popular? Absolutely," Marrone said. "Because they get these guys that look like they could live next door to you, and the guy on the couch says, 'Hey, that could be me.' It's guys people can relate to."
Of course, it's more than that.
"It's a street fight," Marrone said. "It's a train wreck . What human being doesn't turn his head when there's a car accident? That's all it is. They're good athletes, though, and I have respect for them, too. I like 'em. They're people like anybody else."
Next Saturday, White's latest UFC card will be carried on network television via FOX. He moved his card up so as not to conflict with Pacquiao-Marquez III on cable, but the truth is UFC really doesn't need to move for anyone.
In fact, King says he would gladly promote a combined MMA/boxing event if the occasion arose. Few remember he put MMA on a Muhammad Ali undercard way back in 1977 in Landover, Md.
"We were way ahead of our time on that," King said. "MMA is great. I love MMA. Many other guys think it's bad, but I think it brings in people young and old. MMA, look out. I'll be there."
Follow the money, right?