New Poll Suggests American Support for MMA as an Olympic Sport

Julian Finney, Getty Images

A new survey commissioned by Yahoo! Sports suggests there is fairly significant support for mixed martial arts being contested as an Olympic sport. According to the survey, 25% of Americans think MMA should be included in the Olympics. Other sports people want to see in the Olympics are: baseball (32%), softball (24%), lacrosse (19%), and field hockey (15%).

Yahoo! partnered with Ipsos MediaCT to conduct the study in May of 2012. 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 to 64, 'who are representative of the U.S. online adult population', were polled, according to a press release.

In addition to those polled, count another influential name among those supportive of mixed martial arts being contested in the Olympics: UFC President Dana White.

White has been an outspoken critic of amateur mixed martial arts. He's suggested both domestic sanctioning bodies and international governing organizations like the U.S. Olympic committee are necessary to properly regulate that side of the sport.

"First and foremost mixed martial arts is a combination of most of the sports that are already Olympic sports," White said in April of this year. "But I don't believe in amateur mixed martial arts. There's no such thing, it's BS. What it is, is a way for a promoter to not pay a fighter. That's what amateur means. It means I don't have to pay you because I consider you an amateur and I believe there is no real amateur mixed martial arts in this sport, until the Olympic committee gets behind it like they did with USA boxing and boxing in other countries. I would love for that to happen."

Like boxing, White has argued for a tiered amateur MMA system that is tightly regulated domestically and culminates in the highest level of achievement in the form of an Olympic gold medal. "The goal was to go into the amateurs, you fight your way up to the top, you win an Olympic gold medal and then you go right into the pros and the whole world wants to see you fight. That's the way it always worked in boxing and that's the way it should work in MMA, too."

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