MMA given a fighting chance for Olympics
SINGAPORE // As mixed martial arts ( MMA) fights for recognition as a mainstream sport, the power brokers behind its surge in popularity are adamant inclusion in the Olympic Games is inevitable.
MMA in the Olympics might be only 20 years away, said Mark Fischer, the Ultimate Fighting Championship ( UFC) managing director, Asia Pacific. He said the growth of the sport in Asia and the introduction of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation are key developments on the road to the Summer Games.
“Yes we do believe that MMA should be in the Olympics given its prominence as a sport all over the world,” Fischer said yesterday. “Mixed martial arts, under the global leadership of UFC and us really inspiring and pushing the envelope, I think has a great chance to become an Olympic sport because it is participated now by countries literally all over the world. “Because of the interest, because of the investment now, the start-ups, gyms, promotions, et cetera that are going into mixed martial arts, then we are very confident that we are going to have the weight behind this movement to be in the Olympics.” One of the fastest growing sports in the world, MMA is a full-contact sport that allows fighters to utilize techniques from both striking and grappling martial arts such as boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling and judo. Aided by the hugely popular reality TV show series The Ultimate Fighter the UFC has grown to 30 events a year and reaches 354 million homes in 145 countries.
UFC fighters Randy Couture, left, and Mark Coleman have helped the sport’s popularity.