MMA given a fight­ing chance for Olympics

The National - News - Sport - - LEADING OFF - Pa­trick John­ston

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.

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Im­ages

UFC fight­ers Randy Couture, left, and Mark Cole­man have helped the sport’s pop­u­lar­ity.

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