Dana White can't save wrestling, ponders MMA in Olympics


“I’ve been battling this problem for years now; colleges are dropping it, high schools are dropping wrestling,” said White following Wednesday’s UFC on Fuel TV 7 press conference in London

“It’s an awesome base for fighting, for mixed martial arts, for everything. It changes people’s lives. It’s this grueling hard work and dedication, all the things that go in with being a wrestler.

“The problem is nobody wants to watch it.”

Therein lies the crux of the issue for the Olympics.

While the Olympics were originally the ultimate platform for sports, like most other ventures in the modern age, it has become a multi-faceted money machine, largely driven by the bottom line more so than by the will to declare the top athletes in the world in their respective sports.

That’s a key element of the IOC’s decision not lost on White.

“Any sport, especially these days, it’s about selling tickets and eyeballs and viewers and all these other things,” he stated, indicating that this could perhaps even be an opening for mixed martial arts to eventually find its way into the Games.

“There’s been a lot of people saying (to me) you gotta do something. But what this could be is the evolution of mixed martial arts becoming an Olympic sport,” White hypothesized. “We bring spectators, eyeballs, whether it’s on TV or whatever it is. This sport draws, wrestling doesn’t.”

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Recent Comments »

chaplinshouse site profile image  

2/14/13 10:59 AM by chaplinshouse

i want someone to ask dana if he would consider sponsoring mma athletes if mma gets into the olympics.  if so how would it work, flat rate? or based on expected earnings lost the ufc would lose some key talent temporarily that want to compete.  would be nice if the ufc stepped up and sponsored them so they wouldn't starve to do so.  being that they're repping mma/ufc

Son of Neckbone site profile image  

2/14/13 10:18 AM by Son of Neckbone

Wrestling is a very watchable sport, but honestly at the Olympic medalist level it is by and large a stalemate.It is one of the few sports where watching it at an amateur level is much more entertaining than at the highest levels.

eljamaiquino site profile image  

2/14/13 9:55 AM by eljamaiquino

USA wrestling didn't support MMA, so there they go...

eljamaiquino site profile image  

2/14/13 9:54 AM by eljamaiquino

Bjj wont ever be an Olympic sport because Judo already is. Judo wears the same gis with more viewer friendly rules, more competitors. Mma would be something like Pancration, body punches only..

Brian J DSouza site profile image  

2/14/13 5:27 AM by Brian J DSouza

Wrestling (and judo, to a lesser extent) is basically a feeder organization for MMA. Even the guys who aren't in the Olympics or alternates were vying to become world champions and dreamed of the Olympics. Think Ronda Rousey would be garnering all this attention if she wasn't an Olympian, bronze medalist? What if it was judo being pulled at this moment? It's shortsighted for MMA stakeholders not to support wrestling, but to each, his own.

WhoppersJr site profile image  

2/14/13 5:07 AM by WhoppersJr

Even though its all a fantasy and will never happen, I doubt very much that professional MMA fighters would be competing in the Olympics....

JeffersonDArcyChoke site profile image  

2/14/13 4:53 AM by JeffersonDArcyChoke

Please no. You think cards are watered down now?Imagine Olympics year when everyone is on the shelf for the games. Then they are all injured and on the shelf for the next year.

Andy Rigg site profile image  

2/14/13 4:26 AM by Andy Rigg

if it did get in and it was good, dana would slag it off every chance he got. at the same time trying to convince the fertittas to buy the olympics

WhoppersJr site profile image  

2/14/13 4:12 AM by WhoppersJr

Olympic MMA would be shit. I don't think anyone who thinks its appropriate for the Olympics or thinks that it would resemble amateur MMA in any way has a brain in their head.Guys would have to wear headgear, big gloves, and likely shin/foot guards. Then add in the fact they likely wouldn't let competitors wear board shorts or go shirtless either, so they would have to probably wear a gi, singlet or wetsuit (Kirik?). How many competitors would be involved? They have a two week window to carry out a tournament, and guys are expected to "fight" 4-5 times in that period? Who will judge this, since we can't even find knowledgeable judges to score professional bouts?Its a total mess if you think about it. If BJJ can't even become an Olympic sport, I doubt we are going to jump right to MMA. It will never happen.

WhoppersJr site profile image  

2/14/13 4:02 AM by WhoppersJr

THIS!!I would turn on the TV and see that figure skating was on, then realize that NBC had either shown the wrestling matches two years earlier or I would have to wait two more years to see them! Whats up with that?!! I'm sick of Winter Olympics figure skating taking valuable TV time from Summer Olympics wrestling!