On Tuesday afternoon, combat sports fans around the world were up in arms regarding the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to remove the sport of wrestling from the Olympic games starting with the 2020 games. UFC President Dana White has expressed his disappointment in the IOC’s decision but also contemplated the possibility of MMA becoming an olympic sport.
”It [wrestling] is such an important part of the sport,” Dana stated at the post-fight media scrum, ” I don’t see it dying but it is bad that it is not going to be an olympic sport. That is what guys get into it for. Guys wrestle in college and highschool hoping someday to make it to the olympics.”
White does not understand the negative criticism regarding introducing MMA into the olympics and feels that it would have a great impact on the sport and its athletes. He believes it would be an opportunity for athletes to increase their value and marketability prior to becoming professional fighters.
“Why would it be terrible to have olympic mixed martial arts? It wouldn’t be terrible at all, it would actually be a great thing. Not only would it be a great thing for the sport but it would be a great thing for the athletes. You remember what the boxing guys were getting signed for when they had an olympic gold medal? Big money. I don’t see how it’s a bad thing. It would be just like boxing. The pros would be the pros and the amateurs will be amateurs and win gold medals and then become pros. “
White also argues that Olympic MMA would legitimize the amateur status and would be a significant improvement from the current standard of amateur MMA which lacks considerable regulation.
“There are amateur [MMA] shows going on right now. Not for the promise of gold medals and to sign for millions of dollars and to a f***ing big organization. Its to the promise of the promoter not having to pay the fighters. That’s what amateur means. If you run an amateur show in the United States you are f***ing over a bunch of fighters. You are putting on a show where you are getting sponsors, you are getting paid and all this other s*** but you don’t have to pay the athletes.”
Although he fully support its inclusion, the UFC president does not feel he is the man who will help bring mixed martial arts to the olympic games.
“I’m not the guy who is going to go out and start olympic mixed martial arts but it could happen. We have talked to them. [IOC] “