With the UFC plugging their further expansion into Asian markets (in this case, Singapore), Zuffa executives took another chance to express their desire for, one day, helming a push to get MMA included in the Olympic games.
Speaking with Reuters, UFC Director of Asia-Pacific Market Mark Fischer said the following:
"Yes we do believe that MMA should be in the Olympics given its prominence as a sport all over the world...Because of the interest, because of the investment now the startups, gyms, promotions etc that are going into mixed martial arts, then we are very confident that we are going to have the weight behind this movement to be in the Olympics."
MMA is, truly, a globally popular sport. The UFC itself has traveled and found success in Australia, England, Sweden, Japan, China and Canada, and has plans to hold events in Poland, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, Turkey and India. There are also dozens of promotions that put on shows to sizable crowds of roaring fans.
That said, it is incredibly premature to say that there's a good chance that MMA is ever going to be an Olympic sport.
As was well-documented during the fallout, Europe holds an incredible amount of swing in deciding what goes on in the Olympics (nine of 15 people on the IOC are from Europe). Europe, though, has mixed feelings about MMA, with countries like Poland and England being home to major promotions like KSW and BAMMA, but also countries like France where the sport is outright banned.
That is on top of the fact that MMA has no true globally-governing body. While sports like wrestling and taekwondo have FILA and the WTF, MMA rules around the world, and even across America, can differ. Depending on where an event is held, things like the area for the fight (cage or ring, size, shape, etc.), length of rounds and legality of certain moves (elbow strikes, stomps) can differ.
Regardless, the UFC has aggressive international expansion plans. It will likely have to be content with just that, however. You can read more about the hurdles MMA faces with getting into the Olympics here.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!