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Judo Olympian Teddy Riner: “There Is No Moral Code in MMA”

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2012

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 18: Teddy Riner (L) and Richard Gasquet (R) attend Ligue 1 match, Paris Saint-Germain FC v LOSC Lille Metropole on December 18, 2011 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

For years, the UFC has helped turn skeptics into believers of MMA growing into a mainstream sport, but as with all ambitions, you can't please everyone.

French Olympian Teddy Riner is one of the most respected Judo practitioners in the world. As a third dan black belt, Riner is a five-time Judo world champion and a 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist.

Much like wrestlers, there really isn't a professional avenue for Judo players outside the Olympics.

After the big games, what's next?

This is a question Strikeforce women's MMA champ Ronda Rousey asked herself countless times after winning a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing games.

"I thought that if I won an Olympic medal, life would be good," said Rousey, according to Maria Cheng of the Associated Press. "But I won the medal and life went on and nobody cared. MMA was a good opportunity to use my Judo skills and make a living."

The success of fighters like Rousey, Hector Lombard, Karo Parisyan and Yoshihiro Akiyama has given Judokas another avenue of competition.

While Rousey and many others are on the MMA bandwagon, Riner has maintained his anti-MMA stance for years. There are rumors he was offered a fight against Satoshi Ishii back in 2009, but he respectfully declined to engage in an activity he sees lacking in "moral value."

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"Fighting in a cage doesn't appeal to me," Riner said, according to Cheng of the Associated Press. "There is no moral code in MMA. I am a warrior on the tatami, but you always have to respect your opponent."

Riner is set to compete as a member of France's 2012 Olympic Judo team.

MMA has yet to be deemed an Olympic sport, but fans have been watching the games this year with invested interest.

The cage may not appeal to Riner, but there are tons of other athletes who would love an opportunity to compete on a mainstream MMA stage.

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