As wrestling makes its final push to remain in the Olympics, a sister sport is looking for inclusion, too.
Mixed martial arts may be 20 years away from joining the Olympics, UFC Asia managing director Mark Fischer told Reuters.
“Yes we do believe that MMA should be in the Olympics given its prominence as a sport all over the world,” Fischer said.
“Mixed martial arts, under the global leadership of UFC and us really inspiring and pushing the envelope, I think has a great chance to become an Olympic sport because it is participated now by countries literally 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.”
Fischer, however, said joining the Olympics was not on the immediate agenda.
“Do we need it? No, we are going to survive and continue to grow,” he said. “Would it help to put us on that next level of interest and really capture everybody’s imagination and understanding? I think it would help tremendously. But we are talking about theoreticals.”
Reuters cited drug-testing issues MMA must clean up, though.
MMA already boasts one Olympic champion. Henry Cejudo, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling, has successfully transitioned to the octagon, compiling a 4-0 record.
Cejudo recently signed with Legacy Fighting, with whom he will make his debut Oct. 11 on the satellite network AXS TV.