With Brazil deep in the middle of Olympic fever leading up to the 2016 games in Rio, it shouldn’t be surprising that the South American press is asking UFC brass a lot of questions about MMA’s inclusion in future games. Who knows if the answers we’re getting are your standard ‘Yes we’d like to see it eventually’ boilerplate stuff or a sign that the promotion really is serious about making this happen ASAP, but here’s what Lorenzo Fertitta recently said about it:
“We’re aware that the sports have already been determined for the Rio Games, so we’re working on the Olympics after that,” UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta is quoted as saying in Brazil’s “Estadão” newspaper.
For the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the IOC has picked rugby and golf as the extra sports, but Lorenzo has been working behind the scenes on the 2020 Games, for which a host nation has not yet been established: “We had lots of positive responses from members of the International Olympic Committee, including Carlos Nuzman. I know it will take some time to educate people but if you take a look at our sport, you can see it’s a combination of several Olympic sports: boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, taekwondo and judo. That’s what mixed martial arts are.”
For the sport to be part of the Olympics, it first needs to pass through a number of prerequisites, like having an International Federation to oversee the sport, a certain number of countries practicing the sport, and broad popularity, among other things.
I wonder if the UFC itself could be considered an ‘international federation.’ It certainly has the international part down, but I dunno if it is incompetent and corrupt enough to meet the standard most other Olympic-level federations have set over the years. There’s also the issue of most Olympic combat sports being completely wussified. Even boxing fans are all like “WTF is this garbage?” when it comes to Olympic boxing nowadays. And they’ll watch anything.