Should MMA Be an Olympic Sport? Uh, Yeah

Posted: December 27, 2010 in Local MMA, Marketing, PR

I’ll be honest, these days little that comes out of Hershel Walker’s mouth impresses me.  However, a recent comment of his did catch my ear and my imagination. Walker recently told  MMAjunkie.com that MMA should be part of the Olympics.

“I don’t know why they don’t make it an Olympic sport,” he said. “It’s like five sports rolled up into one. You’ve got karate, judo, jiu-jitsu, boxing and wrestling all rolled up into one. There are more countries that have MMA fighters than countries that have basketball teams or baseball teams.”

Well in the words of the departed Chris Farley, Ladee freakin’ dah!  Of course I agree with this statement.  Just a few of the benefits this sport would receive as being part of the Olympics:

  • World class athletes will be able to showcase their skills on the world stage; In terms of Patriotism, fighters could represent their countries in more than just spirit and a raised flag in an Octagon.
  • Brands be damned (Yes, the marketer said that); Fighters will know they are the very best despite whether they fight for the UFC, STRIKEFORCE, Bellator or any other organization.
  • Unified rules.  The MMA organizations differ on rules and fans can’t seem to agree on what they want other than better judges.  Perhaps a set of Olympic level rules can bring some order and consistency to the MMA kingdom.
  • The sport will finally reach the legitimacy stage they are working so hard for.  If curling, snowboarding and guys who ski and then shoot rifles are qualified for the Olympic gold surely MMA should be as well.

What do you think about MMA in the Olympics? Will it ever happen?

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Comments
  1. As much as I would love to see it – I think it would never showcase the elite fighters. The sport has tremendous injury potential and with those tiny gloves fighters in an Olympic tournament would risk substantial loss of warning potential if injured. If I were your agent, I wouldn’t advise my fighter to compete and risk the loss of earnings. I assume it would work in the IFL team based competition design hypothetically. However, top caliber fighters won’t do it. If they implement large gloves for protection out goes the grappling and BJJ side. If they use boxing style amateur headgear out goes striking prowess and BJJ chokes. I can’t see it but maybeim missing something – how do you envision it?

  2. Woops trying to post with an iPhone – I meant loss of earning potential not warning potential. D’oh!

    • All good points, Ryan. I don’t see the earnings loss being as much of an issue. Think about Olympic athletes, they still have sponsors, they still get exposure. I think some brands – and I’d wager, more top tier brands, – would be more willing to sponsor a fighter if they knew he’d be on a station like NBC in front of the world instead of just SPIKE or Showtime. I think you’d have to be somewhat team based, since it is the Olympics, and likely tournament bound in weight classes. If PRIDE and K-1 can pull off tournaments, I think the Olympic committees certainly could. If the NBA ‘stars’ can play for Olympic teams I don’t think they’d have trouble rounding up passionate and patriotic MMA stars for the Olympics.

      Hey, at the end of the day, this is all just talk and big dreams – I don’t think we’ll see this sport in the Olympics in my lifetime. But who knows?

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