Quantifying the exact impact of catch-as-catch-can wrestling and its derivative sports is a complex task, as it involves estimating the total number of fans, athletes, coaches, and promoters involved since 1870. Furthermore, comparing this number to the impact of all other sports would require making broad assumptions and generalizations. However, we can provide some context and rough estimates based on available data and historical trends.
Catch-as-catch-can wrestling and its derivative sports, including Olympic freestyle wrestling, American scholastic wrestling, WWE-style sports entertainment/pro-wrestling, and mixed martial arts, have attracted millions of participants and fans over the years.
It’s challenging to provide a single number estimate for the total number of people involved in these sports since 1870. However, we can make a rough estimate based on some known facts:
According to a report from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), there were over 245,000 high school wrestlers in the United States in 2020. The WWE, a leading professional wrestling organization, reportedly has around 36 million fans worldwide. The UFC, the premier MMA organization, has millions of fans and athletes worldwide. In 2020, the UFC was estimated to have a global fan base of around 625 million people. Considering these data points, along with participants and fans of Olympic wrestling, we can conservatively estimate that there have been hundreds of millions (perhaps billions) of people impacted with catch-as-catch-can wrestling and its derivative sports in some capacity since 1870.
Comparing this number to the impact of all other sports is challenging, as each sport has its unique following and level of participation. Some of the most popular sports worldwide include soccer, football, baseball, basketball, running, and cycling. According to a 2018 report from Nielsen, soccer alone has an estimated global fan base of more than 4 billion people. Other popular sports like basketball, football, and baseball also have fan bases in the hundreds of millions.
In conclusion, although catch-as-catch-can wrestling and its derivative sports have had a significant impact with tens of millions of participants and fans, with over a century of impact the quantity could be well into hundreds of millions or even billions. The influence of catch-as-catch-can wrestling remains dominant within the world of combat sports and was seminal in shaping the development of modern MMA and professional wrestling, and remember Scientific Wrestling is the King of Catch!