For all sports that are currently not a part of the Olympic Games becoming an Olympic sport is the ultimate goal, as not only does it frequently come with additional government funding, but it also gives the sport added kudos and additional media exposure.
Judo was first introduced to the Olympic Games in not surprisingly Tokyo in 1964. It was not part of the games in 1968 but has been a part of every Games since then. Taekwondo was a demonstration sport at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games in Seoul and Barcelona before becoming an Olympic sport officially in Sydney in 2000. It has been a part of every games since. Karate has submitted a case to be a part of the Olympic Games but as yet has been unable to win over the International Olympic Committee.
In many countries all of these martial arts and others are self governed, but with the increase in popularity of the Cage fighting where many different martial arts are combined there have been moves to bring them all under one umbrella, as a Mixed Martial Arts association. One can expect one almighty struggle similar to that usually seen on the mat by some bodies if they are to hand control over to one overarching group.
However the carrot may well be that Mixed Martial Arts believe that their popularity through the cage fighting should see them become a part of the Olympic Games. Will Karate forgo its individual bid to become a part of MMA’s push?
Densign White who was the Chairman of British Judo and is himself a seventh dan, is now the head of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and he has openly declared it is his intent to see Cage fighting as part of the Olympic Games. He has said that he even wants boxing to come under the Mixed Martial arts banner; the chances of this are extremely unlikely.
“The growth of MMA globally has been extraordinary, particularly as an amateur sport, and my job will be to raise the game in terms of governance, coaching and doping control.” White is quoted as saying. “I am convinced that we will eventually see it in the Olympic Programme.” Of course the first thing he will have to do is raise the number of female participants as the IOC want all Olympic sports to be open to both sexes. Female boxing having debuted at the London Games in 2012.
With sports such as Squash, Softball, Baseball, surfing and roller sports mounting legitimate claims to be included in the Olympic Games, one feels MMA may have a fair wait on its hands, but then again money talks.
Other sports putting their hand up for inclusion include darts, chess, pole dancing, cheerleading and believe it or not video gaming.
Which would you like to see at the games most? Let us know.