UFC President Dana White stated this week in Sydney, Australia, site of this weekend’s sold out UFC 110, that the UFC would support a move for mixed martial arts to become an Olympic sport. Though he also stated the the company would not actively lobby for MMA’s inclusion, he gave his blessing should the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decide to include the sport during their games. Currently, the Olympics support four different disciplines associated with MMA as individual events. These events (boxing, wrestling, taekwondo and judo) have yet to feature reputable MMA stars, and a move to include MMA could certainly bolster ratings and drive excitement.
“It would be a huge benefit to us if mixed martial arts became an Olympic sport,” White said. “It would create instant awareness around the world, and it would be huge.
“I would support it 100 per cent. I personally am not out there trying to get mixed martial arts as an Olympic sport … but if it popped and they said, ‘Yes, we’re thinking about it,’ I would go guns ablazing and try to make it happen.”
I think it would be great to see MMA as an Olympic event. It would legitimize the sport while showing that the IOC cares about staying current and fresh. My concerns are that on such a big stage, people will certainly condemn the sport for being too violent, unless there are rule changes, which I would almost guarantee there would be if something like this was to happen. If MMA was to become a Olympic sport, but modified to IOC rules, I don’t see Dana White being as supportive then. What I would like to see in the meantime is some of the higher level fighters competing at their strongest discipline for their country. How cool would it be to see George St. Pierre suit up for Canada against the American, Jon Fitch in a pure wrestling match? Something like that would be great to watch and could still serve to legitimize the sport, since it would be obvious to people who think that UFC fighters are just brawlers, that these men are unbelievably skilled, trained athletes.
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