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Russian Olympic Wrestling Coach Goes on Homophobic Rant, Hurts His Own Cause

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Akzhurek Tanatarov of Kazakhstan in action against Ramazan Sahin of Turkey during the Men's Freestyle 66 kg Wrestling bronze medal fight on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL on August 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Steven RondinaFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2017

The likely demise of wrestling from the Olympic Games has resulted in a huge outcry from both the sport's alumnus and the MMA world. In the scramble for more information, many have criticized wrestling's governing body, FILA. Some have taken issue with the possible conflict of interest among some IOC members who have maintained connections to other sports that were on the chopping block.

Russian Olympic wrestling coach Vladimir Uruimagov, though, is going in another direction, blaming an alleged gay conspiracy against “manly” sports like wrestling (en.rsport.ru. h/t SBNation)

If they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world...It turns out this committee is headed by a [gay]. It is necessary for millions around the world who understand that this is a man’s sport and who understand the need to continue the human race to go out and explain their position to the Olympic Committee. We should prove and explain that in any other case there is no future.”

Obviously, his claim is utterly ridiculous, plain-and-simple offensive and a product of a less-than-tolerant environment in Russia (detailed here, via Huffington Post). At its roots, though, it is not a notion exclusive to this one kook.

The claim that society is becoming “wimpier” has come up in everything from Time Magazine's 2006 Person of the Year (being the amorphous label of “you”) to Mattel allowing proper nouns in Scrabble. Wild criticisms of other “wimpy” sports like synchronized swimming, table tennis and trampolining have also been numerous.

Still, a legitimately homophobic rant does nothing but hurt wrestling's chances at returning to the Games after 2016. Attacking an IOC member's sexuality is just profoundly unwise when he holds the fate of your sport in his hand.

While Uruimagov is claiming this conspiracy, the Games have long hosted countries with strong anti-gay policies including Iran (a powerhouse in wrestling in recent years), Jamaica (home to Olympic sweetheart Usain Bolt) and Kenya (a consistent presence on the podiums in track events).

Coincidentally, the UFC will be putting its first openly gay fighter front and center in a week. UFC 157 is headlined by women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and former military lesbian, Liz Carmouche.

Keep an eye out on Bleacher Report for more developments on wrestling's fate, and all the MMA news you could want.

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