Will MMA ever be an Olympic sport?

July 26, 2012

MMA Fighting reports on a recent poll which indicates 25% of Americans think Mixed Martial Arts should be an Olympic Sports.  The poll which was commissioned by Yahoo! Sports indicates MMA is second only to baseball (33%) in sports people would like to see in the Summer Games.

In addition to baseball and MMA, softball (24%), lacrosse (19%) and field hockey (15%) round out the list.  Notably, softball was last an Olympic sport in 2008.  It will sit out 2012 and 2016 but there is support for its return in 2020.  My last check has field hockey as a current Olympic sport.  Baseball was last an Olympic sport in Beijing in 2008 and there are no plans for its return at this point.  With the World Baseball Classic, which returns in 2013, there is at least a reasonable replacement for its absence from the Summer Games.

Via MMA Fighting:

Yahoo! partnered with Ipsos MediaCT to conduct the study in May of 2012. 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 to 64, ‘who are representative of the U.S. online adult population’, were polled, according to a press release

According to the report, UFC head Dana White is for amateur MMA provided that it is regulated.  White would like to see the Olympic committee get behind the idea, and similar to boxing, White would like to see amateurs do well so that when they turn pro, they would have a built in fan base.

Payout Perspective:

The Summer Games already have amateur wrestling, boxing and tae kwon do as sports.  Would it have room for mixed martial arts?  The one issue for MMA to be an Olympic sport would be the need for an infrastructure to train and regulate amateur fighters.  It’s unlikely that the UFC, Strikeforce or Bellator fighters would want to compete for free despite it being for their country.  Moreover, it would be unlikely that Dana White or Bjorn Rebney would allow one of its fighters under contract to fight (with the possibility of being injured) at the Olympics. But, with the popularity of the sport, we could see younger, unsigned fighters seeking visibility going the amateur route.  Perhaps we see wrestlers or boxers that could not make it in their sport make it in MMA.  In the end it is nice to see the support and notoriety MMA is receiving.

7 Responses to “Will MMA ever be an Olympic sport?”

  1. Machiel Van on July 27th, 2012 7:12 AM

    I’ve become too jaded by the awfulness of Olympic boxing to think Olympic MMA would be an enjoyable prospect.

  2. JB on July 27th, 2012 8:09 AM

    Agree with Machiel.

    The rules would have to be too watered down in order to keep the winners in fighting condition. To get gold or silver, a fighter would need to participate in 4 or 5 fights over two weeks.

  3. BrainSmasher on July 27th, 2012 11:41 PM

    It would have to be something silly like short fight time, no elbows, bigger gloves and no head kicks or knees to head, and winner by draw first blood/TKO/KO/Sub/Decision. I think that would be enough adjustment to make the winners pretty fresh and keep most of the skill aspect in the fight.

    Its a shame because MMA is honestly the only legit Olympic sport and would be perfect. Every nation has their own fighting style, martial art, and sometimes body type. All the others sports are pretty much 1 countires sport and the rest trying to play it.

  4. James Gillard on July 28th, 2012 4:13 AM

    If MMA was an Olympic sport, it wouldn’t look anything like the MMA we’ve come to expect.

    On a side note, BJJ should be an olympic sport.

  5. Jason Cruz on July 28th, 2012 7:26 PM

    @James: Agree. If Judo, Wrestling, Boxing and TKD are Olympic Sports, so should BJJ

  6. aintitthetruth on July 28th, 2012 10:46 PM

    It seems the BJJ federations would have to change their rules. I can’t see an international sporting event supporting neck/spine cranks and heel hooks.

  7. BrainSmasher on July 31st, 2012 2:50 PM

    I though most BJJ competitions already banned those. I knew ADCC allowed them and some tournys but i though most didnt. I think some Neck cranks are only allowed to pass the guard. But not as a submission. This caused a big problem yes back between Monson and Pano. But that used to be the rules just not sure under what Org.

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