MMA in the Olympics

From June 23rd to August 8th the greatest and most competitive athletes will assemble in Tokyo for the most prestigious competition in the world. 205 countries to be represented, with 28 sports taking the stage with the addition of 5 new ones like surfing, karate, skateboarding, climbing, and the reintroduction of baseball and softball. While the excitement for the upcoming games continues to grow since its postponement last year, none of these sports is truly universal or speaks to the most primal of instincts in human nature. Yet it seems like a travesty that the sport of MMA is once again left out of the worlds greatest tournament, for many professional MMA fighters this would be an honour that they would take without hesitation, not only would they have the eyes of the world upon them but also the ability to bring home the gold medal for family and country alike. After a long battle with the International Olympic Committee, Brazilian JiuJitsu was recently announced as a sport in the 2024 Olympics which seems like a step in the right direction but for a professional fighter such as PFL Light heavyweight Jordan Young and UFC middleweight Phil Hawes, MMA would be the preferred sport over BJJ, they see it as an opportunity to be recognized on the world stage for what they do professionally while also honouring their nation. Now how would MMA in the Olympics affect the sport of MMA outside of the Olympics? Would professional MMA have to take a back seat while its athletes take time off to train and participate in all things Olympics, would powerhouse organizations like the UFC, Bellator, PFL, etc allow their premiere athletes to compete, like say PFL middleweight Rory McDonald for Canada, Bellator champ Chris Cyborg with Brazil, or even UFC and PPV king Conor Mcgregor and Ireland. Who knows, maybe some of these premier athletes would not want to compete in the Olympics due to taking a pay cut or not defending their belts, which would, in turn, give that spot to a young up and comer looking to break out in the sport and further their careers. Corruption has also plagued the integrity and morality of the IOC for years as Olympic judging has been under severe scrutiny for decades now from the Russian doping scandals to the likes of Roy Jones Jr, Floyd Mayweather, and Michael Conlan being robbed by the officials. What could this do to a young fighter’s career or confidence if this virus were to plague MMA in the Olympics? While there are a million variables that need to be taken into consideration I’m left wondering why no one has bothered to ask the 2 only two groups that truly matter in the Olympics, the competitors and the fans. Millions already watch MMA on a yearly basis through many different organizations worldwide, the inclusion of the sport would bring in countless viewers that were once oblivious or to be honest never even cared about the Olympics.

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