[QODLink]
Olympics

MMA aims to master arts of Olympics

As one of the quickest growing sports in the world, mixed martial arts is 20 years away from making Olympics says chief.

Last Modified: 30 Aug 2013 10:08
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Ultimate Fighting Championship is helping to galvanise support and popularity for mixed martial arts [AP]

As mixed martial arts grapples for recognition as a mainstream sport, the powerbrokers behind its surge in popularity are adamant inclusion in the Olympic Games is close to becoming a reality.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) managing director Asia Pacific Mark Fischer said that an Olympic place might only be 20 years away thanks to the work of his organisation in growing the sport and the introduction of the fledgling International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.

"Yes we do believe that MMA should be in the Olympics given its prominence as a sport all over the world," Fischer said in Singapore after announcing that the first UFC show in the city-state would take place on January 4.

We are very confident that we are going to have the weight behind this movement to be in the Olympics

Mark Fischer, UFC managing director Asia Pacific

"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."

One of the fastest growing sports in the world, MMA is a full contact sport that allows fighters to utilise techniques from both striking and grappling martial arts such as boxing, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, wrestling and judo. 

Aided by the hugely popular reality TV show series 'The Ultimate Fighter' the UFC say they have managed to grow to 30 events a year and reach 354 million homes in 145 countries.

Doping question 

Hugely popular in the United States, Brazil, Japan and Canada, the UFC is looking to extend its reach throughout Asia and the IMMAF, founded in 2012, say they have 21 member federations on board with that number expected to reach 40 by next year.

Fischer, who previously worked with the NBA in growing their business in China, acknowledged, however, that Olympic inclusion was not on his immediate agenda as he bids to help MMA and the UFC in Asia.

"It is certainly a goal of our owners to do it one day. It is going to happen," Fischer said of the Olympic plans.

"Do we need it? No, we are going to survive and continue to grow. 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."

But questions have been raised about the UFC's governance that could derail any Olympic ambitions.

Two years ago, the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) criticised the UFC for administering their own testing of athletes and not involving either authority.

Fischer was adamant the UFC was clean and their methods above board.

"First of all, we follow WADA and on top of that we have actually in the last couple of years have instituted our own extra level of testing for PEDs (performance enhancing drugs)," Fischer said.

"So we are actually more strict now than WADA. It is a very important issue for us, we absolutely want our fighters to be clean and in the octagon competing on a very pure level."

563

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.

Featured
Frustration grows in Kiev as pledges to end corruption and abuse of power stagnate after Maidan Square protest.
Thousands of Houthi supporters have called for the fall of Yemen's government. But what do the Houthis really want?
New ration reductions and movement restrictions have refugees from Myanmar anxious about their future in Thailand.
US lawyers say poor translations of election materials disenfranchise Native voters.
US drones in Pakistan have killed thousands since 2004. How have leaders defended or decried these deadly planes?
join our mailing list