Can MMA work as an Olympic Sport?

Can MMA work as an Olympic Sport?

The 2012 Olympics are here and athletes are competing for gold in many sports that make up Mixed Martial Arts. To be a true MMA competitor you need to train in boxing and wrestling while judo has shown to be a very valuable weapon as well. To a certain extent, Tae Kwon Do is also useful to a cage fighter. All of these sports are part of the Olympics, so any fan of MMA would have to wonder, can it work as an Olympic sport?

There are many aspects of MMA that would work in an Olympic setting. Like fighters from different countries for example. Canada has a particularity strong roster of fighters like George St. Pierre and Rory McDonald. As does Brazil, Japan and of course the USA. However, MMA as we know it in the UFC, will not work in the Olympics in its current form. It’s most likely too sensationalized and too violent.

First thing to do would be to move the fight from the cage to the ring. To those not familiar with MMA, a cage could represent barbaric tones and would be a turn off. While a ring would be more familiar as one is already used for boxing. Next step would be protection. Chin pads, chest pads, head gear, and MMA gloves with more padding.

The goal of Olympic MMA would be more of a points game. So stand up would be judged similar to Tae Kwon Do competitions, while take downs and ground work would be pointed as wrestling matches. Ground and Pound would have to be left out completely. No punches to a grounded opponent, means that wrestling work would be more submission based. A tap out means the match is over. A stalemate means fighters would be stood up. Points go to submission attempts, take downs and effective striking. Make each match three, three minute rounds, and medal matches five three minute rounds.

The defunct International Fight League, while a failure of an organization, has a team format that could be used as an Olympic MMA blue print. Each team would have a fighter in each weight division. Although, unlike the IFL, wins and losses would not be team based.

In reality, I believe we are a long way from seeing Mixed Martial Arts introduced as an Olympic sport, but I have always wondered what it would look like if it were adapted for international amateur competition.

As it stands right now, jiu jitsu nor Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an Olympic sport. A staple of MMA, BJJ should at least be considered as an exhibition sport. Especially for the 2016 Olympics, where the host City is in the country that created BJJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.