As the UFC brand continues its international expansion, their goal of having mixed martial arts recognized as a mainstream sport becomes more realistic. Singapore is slated to host an event on Jan. 4 2014, while trips to Mexico, Russia, and the Philippines are being discussed. As one of the fastest growing sports in the world one can only wonder as to where it will be in 20 years. According to UFC Asia managing director Mark Fischer, MMA’s future belongs in the Olympic Games.
“Yes we do believe that MMA should be in the Olympics given its prominence as a sport all over the world,” Fischer told Reuters. “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.”
If MMA is to be considered for the Olympics, it will have numerous hurdles to clear, so to speak. There are issues with drug testing, time lapses between fights, and rules in the ring that would have to be addressed.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has already eliminated wrestling, one of the original Olympic sports, in part because the tournament system is so rigorous. MMA fighters train for month in preparation of a single fight. Needless to say, having them compete in consecutive matches would be taxing to the point that their performances would suffer.
MMA might have the Olympic spotlight someday, but it won’t be in the foreseeable future.
“Do we need it? No, we are going to survive and continue to grow.” Fischer said. Would it help to put us on that next level of interest and really capture everybody’s imagination and understanding? I think it would help tremendously. But we are talking about theoreticals.”
The UFC is just beginning to gain worldwide notoriety. If they continue this upward trend, they may give the IOC something to consider.