The Next Five Sports To Go Big

April 1, 2009

Ever since some genius programming exec decided that poker and the national spelling bee made for compellivision, whether something is deemed a sport or not has become muddy. The UFC is the fastest growing sport in America, and undoubtedly, the latest athletic competition to go mainstream. So in honor of the debut of The Ultimate Fighter 9 tonight on Spike TV, we’ve put together a list of the next five sports that are primed to go big time.

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5. Beer Pong


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The Rules: Two teams stand at opposite ends of a ping pong table, taking turns attempting to shoot the ping pong ball into the other team’s formation of cups. If one team lands one in the other team’s cup, then that team must drink that cup of beer and the cup is removed from the table. When one team’s cups have all been removed, the other team wins.

While a lot of sports combine strategic thinking with physical prowess, only Beer Pong ensures that as the game goes on, the athletes become more and more stupid. It’s an interesting dynamic that places an emphasis on coming out of the gate strong. If you lose the first couple matches you’ve pounded a healthy amount of brew, which only lessens the chances of winning the next match. Combine this with an increased competitive urge as the suds go down, and it can be a downward spiral to the bathroom floor. Beer Pong has just recently been recognized as a legitimate competition thanks to official tournaments popping up all over the place, and it’s the only sport where drinking is not just tolerated, but mandatory.



4. Cup Stacking


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The Rules: Competitors must stack cups up, and then take them down in predetermined formations as quickly as possible.

If a bunch of dorks wearing sunglasses inside while sitting at a card table can be considered sport, then stacking plastic cups as quickly as possible is akin to a decathlon. These events are generally overrun with children, who are either the only people pure enough to enjoy something so mundane, or the only ones with enough manual dexterity to stack flimsy cups in several formations in the span of eight seconds. Cup Stacking is primed to go big time because it’s something that virtually anyone can do. All you need is a set of cups, a flat surface, and no life.



3. Buzkashi


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The Rules: Riders on horseback must pick up and carry a dead animal carcass around two poles and then deposit it in the circle of justice while dozens of other riders attempt to stop them.

What happens when you live in the desert with no soccer field, basketball rim, or tennis court for miles? You soak a dead calf or goat in cold water and create a sport with it. Buzkashi is primarily played in Northern Afghanistan, but it’s ready to go prime time. It’s so shocking that women in the country aren’t even allowed to watch. The goat or calf is gutted, beheaded, and its limbs are partially removed to make it more difficult to get a grip on. It’s soaked in the cold water so that it doesn’t fall apart during the competition. Whoever came up with the idea either needs to be committed or commended.



2. Skiboarding


Source: Kirk Thompson

The Rules: Borrowing many of the same elements of skiing, inline skating, and snowboarding, skiboarding is judged on many of the same merits. Freestyle events are judged on style and complexity of maneuvers, while racing events are all about getting to the finish line as quickly as possible.

Remember the last time you went snowboarding and you couldn’t walk right for five days? Or how about the last time you tried to ski and ended up splitting your pants at the crotch? Skiboarding was designed for people like you. Utilizing short, wide skis, it’s much easier to stay upright for newcomers who have yet to learn the intricacies of metal edges on snow. It also allows for much more flexibility in how tricks are performed when compared to traditional skis or snowboards. The sport had a huge push back in the ‘90s, but it was eventually removed from the X-Games and replaced with traditional freestyle skiing. In the last several years the sport has seen a huge resurgence, with World Championships taking place in Europe.

1. Ultimate Arm Wrestling


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The Rules: Two men are tied together at the wrist, leaving one hand free to pummel each other. Fights go for three, one-minute rounds and are ended with knockouts, pins, submissions, or decisions. A 10-point must system is used.

Somewhere someone thought to themselves, “Hey, this UFC thing is pretty awesome, but what if the two fighters couldn’t get away from each other?” That person was Art Davie, one of the co-creators of the UFC. The result was X Arm, a no-holds-barred competition where two guys are tethered to a table and beat the snot out of each other. If the UFC tested the limits of contact sports, X Arm shatters them. Sixteen years ago no one would have thought that MMA would be as big as it is now, and X Arm is undoubtedly pushing the boundaries in 2009. There are definitely some tweaks that need to be made to the sport, though. It really has nothing to do with arm wrestling since the “athletes” (and we use that term very loosely) are allowed to pick their elbows up off the table. There’s also something awkward about watching two men try to destroy each other with a table in the middle. Yet, if you’re looking for the next thing that’s going to ruffle some feathers and bring up all sorts of ethical questions, Extreme Arm Wrestling is it.



If you want to see the premiere next-generation sport in action, be sure to tune in tonight at 8PM for UFC Fight Night Live and at 10PM for the debut of The Ultimate Fighter 9 on Spike TV. Click below to schedule it to record on your DirecTV DVR!