Is MMA the “new” Olympic sport?

With the Olympics dominating the world’s press for the last few weeks, invariably the argument as to what constitutes an Olympic sport came up. Here in Vancouver the question as to whether judged events are actually sports flared with the Russian complaints about ice skating results and the Australian complaints about freestyle skiing. I’ll leave it to others to argue except for one editorial comment: When the Russians cajoled, bribed and blackmailed judges to vote in their skaters’ favor for over 50 years the Olympics were fine. Now that a new system is in place which is more objective, their skaters do not dominate and now they’re whining. See you in Sochi my Russian friends.

And as always, our beloved MMA mentor and leader, Dana White, when asked if the MMA should be in the Olympics replied yes and that the UFC would support it. Good on you, Dana because whether these reporters were asking this question tongue in cheek the fact is that MMA is actually a direct derivative of the pankration, the original MMA of the Greek ancients. Boxing and wrestling were popular sports then but the pankration was the most popular by a mile and there is no reason to believe that it wouldn’t be the same today. But is it too violent? Does it reflect Olympian values? Does it pander to the basest levels of society? Let’s take a look.

MMA is tough. Did it, taught it and have the face to prove it. But I NEVER once hated an opponent, dissed another teacher or coach or resorted to unsportsmanlike behaviour. In fact, fighters as a rule, get along with others, honor their foes and more often than not will graciously concede when outmatched. MMA is a sport built on time-honored traditions, most of which are grounded in mutual respect, especially those coming from the Asian martial arts. Watch the UFC. Sure there’s a bit of trash talking before the match but almost never after it. People involved in MMA live Olympian values every time they get into the Octagon. Throw in the fact that yes, sometimes it’s bloody but surrender is always seen as honorable and injuries look far worse than they are. I saw more people hurt more seriously in the skiing at the Olympics than I’ve seen in the last few years in the UFC. Rough, tough…yes but more dangerous than other sports…I don’t think so.

But you might want to make a few alterations for Olympic consumption. What do you think of these?

  • shorten the rounds from 5 minutes to 3.
  • introduce a point system that would reward more difficult techniques
  • head protection (something like wrestlers wear)
  • 3 unanswered punches to the head would effect a stoppage or even stop to the fight

Anyway, just some thoughts.

PS Sorry for the long lag in postings. Family illness. Enough said.

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