"If you don't like grappling, go watch kickboxing." A lot of fight fans seem to gravitate towards a toe to toe MMA match, while leaving kickboxing in the dust. I think there are a couple components behind this. Probably the biggest reason, MMA is just more popular than kickboxing, MMA organizations like the UFC and Pride have built up intrigue quickly and marketed personalities better than Kickboxing has. Which leads me to the more interesting and possibly enduring reason. Quick story: Two guys I knew in high school wanted to fight after school, two guys with big personalities, and it built up quite a buzz for a petty fight. However, for whatever reason the animosity started to decrease. They later decided to get someones boxing gloves and settle it in a controlled standup fight down in the track field. Pretty uneventful, and not nearly as much interest in the end. Point is, MMA has a chaos factor akin to a street fight that's intriguing over kickboxing to certain people. I think the fact that grappling can occur in a cage match makes it all the more sweet for them when it is kept standing, or keeps switching between a grappling match and a standup fight, because it constantly leaves you craving that aspect and coming back for more. You would think one of the best things a company could have is a product that leaves them craving just a little more and willing to come back for it. "Why would you want to watch two bums swing, when you could watch the highest level strikers compete." MMA can have such a wide discrepancy in striking ability that it leaves more room for a trend worthy out classing or an entertaining slug fest, and when guys like Silva or McGregor enter the scene they have a paved way to popularity with their skills. (Kickboxing hasn't built stars like MMA has.) I think some things enhance all this such as small gloves that mimic more of a street fight illusion, well marketed personas as mentioned before, and even the octagon itself with it's odd shape and familiar barrier like a fence. I think that's two of the keys, familiarity with our primal sense of what a fight is, and relatability. Anyways, that's my small take. Side note: This isn't meant to take away from the greatness or integrity of grappling and kickboxing, just my amateur social observation.