Dana White “Can’t Be the Guy to Save Wrestling,” Ponders MMA Entry into the Olympics


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit
UFC president Dana White

UFC president Dana White

The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday dropped a bombshell on the wrestling world, removing the sport from the Olympic program, knocking it out of the 2020 Olympic Games.

“This is a process of renewing and renovating the program for the Olympics,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “In the view of the executive board, this was the best program for the Olympic Games in 2020. It’s not a case of what’s wrong with wrestling, it is what’s right with the 25 core sports.”

Those core sports are: athletics, rowing, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, weightlifting, handball, hockey, judo, aquatics, modern pentathlon, taekwondo, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, triathlon, sailing and volleyball.

Wrestling is now on a short-list of eight sports that can argue its case for inclusion in the Games, but it is unlikely that it would be readmitted so quickly after being removed from the list of core sports. The other sports vying for inclusion are baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu.

When the bomb dropped on the wrestling world, the shockwaves immediately hit those in the mixed martial arts world smack in the face.

Wrestling is one of the core elements of MMA. Numerous successful wrestlers have made the move from the wrestling world to professional fighting: Daniel Cormier, Matt Lindland, Dan Henderson, Randy Couture, Mark Munoz, Cain Velasquez, and numerous others chief among them.

As soon as the word spread, calls immediately went out to UFC president Dana White to be the savior, but considering what the wrestling world is up against, that’s not likely to happen.

“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.”

It’s not that White wants wrestling to go away, far from it. Wrestling is a fundamental part of Olympic history – which makes the IOC’s decision all the more difficult for many to come to grips with – but it is also a core discipline of mixed martial arts.

For White, however, the IOC’s decision wasn’t as surprising as it seems it was for many others.

He has been bucking the trend of the waning popularity of competitive wrestling for years, understanding that it’s survival is important for the development of fighters. He seems less inclined to fight the changing tide, however, than to accept that competitive wrestling’s decline may just be an evolution of sport.

“I can’t be the guy to try and run out and save wrestling,” White declared.

“Do you know how many wrestling programs I’ve funded over the last five or six years? A lot. I don’t want to see wrestling go away either.

“It’s such a big part of the sport, but something is gonna happen here. It’s gonna evolve into mixed martial arts or something, I don’t know. I don’t think wrestling is gonna go anywhere, but competitive wrestling definitely is.”

Where it’s not going is the 2020 Summer Olympic Games, which will be held in Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 26 days ago
  • 103 views

LAS VEGAS – Ronda Rousey’s impact on women’s MMA is evident. After all, the UFC wouldn’t employ female fighters if it weren’t for the “Rowdy” one. But UFC boss Dana White believes she’s transcending the boundaries of MMA.Filed (...) read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 78 views

UFC President Dana White set the MMA world on fire when he defended the decision of the UFC and Fox Sports to terminate Chael Sonnen's broadcasting contract, but if he plays his cards right, "The American Gangster" could be back. In an interview with MMA Fight Corner's Heidi Fang (at the 5:58 mark), White explained that while the chips are down for Sonnen right now, he could feasibly return to working for the promotion (transcription per Mixedmartialarts.com): "It breaks my heart," [White] said. read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 34 views

UFC President Dana White discussed his opinion on the new NSAC executive director and what he likes about him so far. It seems the "proactive" approach that Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Robert Bennett took on early in his reign as commission head has gotten him into the good graces of the UFC's head honcho. Dana White, who is in Las Vegas for the International Fight Week and the two live events that accompany it, took a moment on Wednesday afternoon to offer a stark contra read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 210 views

That guy in the truck, however... Let's start off with Joe Rogan getting put on blast by UFC President Dana White for asking Ronda Rousey if she was willing to rescue the UFC 176 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Los Angeles, Calif., which takes place in less than a month and is without a main event (because of this). U mad? Yikes. Turns out Rogan was not to blame for the post-fight faux pas, according to comments White made at the UFC 175 post-fight press conference (watch the replay here), not long read news >>

  • 14 days ago
  • 67 views

Dana White recently sat down to talk to Japanese MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba about his days with Pride FC. Check out some snippets from their conversation. read news >>

  • 6 days ago
  • 566 views

So you’re head of the world’s largest MMA promotion, and 24 hours before a major event on network television, you learn that one of your headliners won’t fight because his opponent failed to make weight.Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 37 views

Forget what you think you know, business has never been better for UFC, according to promotion president Dana White. While its last two pay-per-view (PPV) events didn't exactly break the bank, business for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is alive and well. That's according to promotion president Dana White, who says that despite the fact that some PPV events, like UFC 174, didn't bring in huge numbers at the box office -- not that he expected it to -- the promotion is still thriving and mak read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 56 views

Dana White wants everyone to know that business is booming in UFC land. In fact, it's 'never been bigger.' One of the more consistent narratives in MMA for 2014 has been the UFC's declining business. While we don't know any specific numbers for UFC 174, the early talk is that it did less than 100,000 pay-per-view buys, a number that seemed unthinkably low in very recent years. Jon Jones hasn't developed into a star capable of pulling much more than 350,000 buys, despite being a freakish talent w read news >>

  • 29 days ago
  • 47 views

Glancing at the language regarding Chael Sonnen's 'termination' with UFC and FOX Sports, you had to know the door hadn't been completely slammed on the charismatic fighter turned commentator. Unlike his hard-line stance on castoffs Paul Daley and Jason High, UFC president Dana White doesn't sound like he's completely out of the Chael Sonnen business. "It breaks my heart," said White of the decision to cut ties with Sonnen. "I care about Chael very much. Me and Chael have had a very good relation read news >>