Randy Couture: More Than 30 Countries Want MMA in the Olympics

John HeinisSenior Analyst IFebruary 12, 2014

Randy Couture arrives at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards at Sony Pictures Studios on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Culver City, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Richard Shotwell/Associated Press

UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture believes we aren't that far away from seeing some form of mixed martial arts in the Olympic Games. 

Speaking briefly with TMZ Sports, The Natural explained that somewhere between 34 and 39 countries have signed a petition to include a new combat sport in the Olympics. 

Couture was leaving an event in L.A. this weekend when he said, "I think there's 34 or 39 countries that have signed petitions" for a sport called pankration ... an ancient form of MMA ... FYI -- pankration was an olympic sport in ancient Greece. The only rules were no biting or eye-gouging ...  So, when should we expect to see MMA fighters competing for the gold? Probably not any time soon ... in fact, a UFC exec recently said he thinks it's still 20 years away.

The UFC's current set of rules do not allow groin strikes, biting, eye-gouging, or elbows thrown in a "12-to-6" motion and knee strikes to a grounded opponent, among other things.

Worth noting is that the now-defunct Pride brand didn't allow elbows on the ground but made up for it by allowing soccer kicks. 

Couture, one of only two UFC fighters to hold world titles in two weight classes (the other being BJ Penn), has been retired since a devastating knockout loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 129 in April 2011.

The 50-year-old largely took a step back from the sport after that, landing some acting roles, most notably appearing in the summer action flicks The Expendables and The Expendables 2.

He will reprise his role as Toll Road, the team's demolition expert, in The Expendables 3, which hits theaters in August.

He recently returned on the MMA scene to coach Season 1 of Fight Master: Bellator MMA, serving as one of the four head coaches on the show.  

Should Couture's figures be accurate, is it possible MMA could make its way to the Olympics within the next decade?


John Heinis is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA editor for eDraft.com.