Mixed Martial Arts Should Become an Olympic Event

E. Spencer KyteSenior Analyst IFebruary 13, 2010

Boxing? Check.

Judo? Check.

Tae Kwon Do? Check.

Wrestling? Double check: one for freestyle, one for Greco-Roman.

Mixed Martial Arts? GASP! SCOFF!

Such is life for the world's fastest growing sport.

While comprised of multiple disciplines that are featured in the Olympics, Pan-Am Games, and countless international competitions each year, the idea of bringing the sport of mixed martial arts to the Olympic stage is met with skepticism and criticism from many outside observers.

Of course, that should come as no surprise considering the lack of coverage the sport receives outside of the MMA community. If it's not a YouTube street-fighting sensation or something negative, no one wants to discuss that barbaric sport they do in the cage with all the bleeding and violence.

What is truly interesting is that any possible objections people may have to the inclusion of MMA in future Olympics are shaky at best.

The violent nature of the sport would surely be the first target, but as the professional ranks have shown over the last ten years, boxers have endured far more serious injuries than MMA fighters.

Additionally, just as Olympic boxing utilizes headgear, theoretical Olympic MMA could do the same, also making use of chest protectors as they do in Tae Kwon Do if necessary. After all, we wouldn't want anyone to get hurt at the Olympics...

Fighting in a cage could come under attack, but we all know that the sport is also contested inside a traditional boxing ring in many promotions. While it would be a transition for some of the athletes, chances are they'd be okay with moving out of the cage to compete for their countries.

In all honesty, the move of MMA into the Olympics seems almost too easy when you're not busy searching for reasons to say no.

Randy Couture, one of the greatest icons in the sport, was an Olympic alternate, as were UFC 109 Fight of the Night winner Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, and Matt Lindland.

WEC lightweight Kamal Shalorus represented Great Britain at the 2004 Games in Athens.

2008 gold medal-winning judoka Satoshi Ishii was one of the most highly sought-after free agents in the sport following the Beijing Games. In his debut at Dynamite! 2009, Ishii lost to Hidehiko Yoshida, who had won gold in Barcelona 16 years earlier.

In addition to the numerous Olympians who have transitioned into mixed martial arts, one of the sport's greatest stars has expressed interest in trying his hand at Olympic competition.

Georges St-Pierre (pictured) recently drew a great deal of attention in the MMA community and nationally in Canada for expressing an interest in attempting to make the Canadian Olympic Wrestling team for the 2012 Games in London, England.

While Olympic wrestling and the wrestling St-Pierre uses to dominate opponents inside the Octagon are very different animals, few who have witnessed the UFC Welterweight champion's evolution into one of the best wrestlers in the sport question whether a dedicated St-Pierre could make the team.

What better way to showcase a sport that is growing in popularity around the world than by having the best of the best represent their countries in competition?

The archaic ideas of mixed martial arts being a "bloodsport" and "the only rules being that there are no rules" would be proven false once and for all, and people could start to see the incredible spectacle that they've been ignoring for too long.

Mixed martial arts is an amalgamation and evolution of a number of current Olympic events.

Once more people begin to realize it, they'll agree that mixed martial arts should be an Olympic event.