In an interview with Mirror Fighting, UFC former Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta mentioned that “Where we’re going with UFC, eventually we (MMA) will be part of the Olympics.” But the decision of whether this will happen will depend on the gov
It has been confirmed that Karate will join Taekwondo, Judo, boxing and fencing in the Olympic pantheon of martial arts and wrestling will also return in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. This shows signs of the Olympics governing body being open to new and popular martial art disciplines to be included.
The Olympics are a business and they want to attract those younger viewers for all these big television deals
-UFC former Chairman, Lorenzo Fertitta, Aug 2016
Many MMA fighters had made it big in the Olympics before moving into the world of MMA. Take for instance, Sara McCann who is a silver medallist in freestyle wrestling in 2004 Olympics and the famous Ronda Rousey who is a bronze medallist in judo in 2008 Olympics.
For Olympic recognition there are a number of criteria which the IMMAF, MMA’s amateur international governing body, and MMA must meet in order to be considered for recognition. As part of this, official recognition from national governments and Olympic committees can be highly influential. Among the 50 Member Nations under IMMAF’s umbrella, over half have achieved the great milestone of official recognition from either national government or the National Olympic Committee (NOC).
“Our vision is for Mixed Martial Arts to be recognised as a sport and ultimately become an Olympic sport,” stated an IMMAF spokesman. “Becoming an Olympic sport is the ultimate achievement and highest formal recognition possible for any sport. Hence that is what the IMMAF will strive towards.
As IMMAF was already compliant with WADA’s anti-drug code, there was a lot of optimism surrounding their application to become an official signatory to the WADA code. Success would have rendered eligible IMMAF’s application for recognition from Sport Accord. In turn, Sport Accord affiliation is a usual requirement for sports seeking recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). WADA approval would have also provided tangible support to IMMAF’s anti-doping programme, better enabling the sport’s sole governing body for Amateur MMA to improve safety for its participants.
However WADA has rejected IMMAF’s application. While compliance to the WADA code is essential for an application, rejections can be handed out based purely on the disapproval from any current sports body under the Sport Accord umbrella, without the need for justification.
Meanwhile, the popularity of MMA continues to increase – from the recreational through to competitive amateur and professional levels. The IMMAF President believes that this in itself bestows a responsibility on WADA to be forward thinking and fulfill it’s duty in sport regulation without bending to political pressure.
“We will continue to show leadership, and the merit and effort shown by IMMAF will continue as a driver for clarity. We will not be pushed into a corner and shall continue to pursue this.”
-IMMAF CEO, Densign White, Jan 2017
Stay tuned as we cover more on this.