|ESPN.com: MMA||[Print without images]|
|Time to make room for Kimbo Slice alongside Cobra Commander and Boba Fett on your mantel.|
There are any number of reasons why mixed martial arts will permanently supplant boxing as the premier combat sport in the United States: It's more visually engaging, the big fights usually happen on time, and talent egos are corralled.
One asset continues to go largely unnoticed: It's brand indoctrination, and it is best exemplified by the upcoming Kimbo Slice collectible figurine. ("Action figure" would be a misnomer. I don't think this thing bends -- although being able to pose him in a hunched-over, gasping-for-air position might amuse some.)
MMA lends itself to marketing and merchandizing in a manner that is completely lost on boxing. Floyd Mayweather Jr. toys do not occupy any bedroom shelves. No Mike Tyson pay-per-view has ever settled into the DVD sales charts. Boxing is a one-and-done premise; MMA is a constant. Occupying end-cap displays at Wal-Mart will do more for the sport's continued growth than virtually anything else. That Kimbo toy belongs in an MBA class.