MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world, and making the most of the momentum, the UFC is on a mission to get it into the Olympics. “We’re aware that the sports have already been determined for the Rio Games, so we’re working on the Olympics after that,” UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta is quoted as saying in Brazil’s “Estadão” newspaper.
For the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the IOC has picked rugby and golf as the extra sports, but Lorenzo has been working behind the scenes on the 2020 Games, for which a host nation has not yet been established: “We had lots of positive responses from members of the International Olympic Committee, including Carlos Nuzman. I know it will take some time to educate people but if you take a look at our sport, you can see it’s a combination of several Olympic sports: boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, taekwondo and judo. That’s what mixed martial arts are.”
For the sport to be part of the Olympics, it first needs to pass through a number of prerequisites, like having an International Federation to oversee the sport, a certain number of countries practicing the sport, and broad popularity, among other things. “MMA should already be in the Olympics. All you have to do is take a look at the sports already in the Games: boxing, where there’s punching; taekwondo, where you can punch and kick; judo, where there are submissions; and wrestling. Everything we do in MMA is already in an Olympic sport. I feel it should be added to the program soon,” remarked UFC president Dana White, who is already keenly tuned in to the vote for the host city, which shall take place September 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The candidates to host the 2020 Olympic Games are: Rome, Madrid, Istanbul, Baku, Tokyo, and Doha.