Dana White Comments on the IOC Dropping Amateur Wrestling From the Olympic Games
At a media scrum today, UFC President Dana White spoke with reporters in London about the recent news of the International Olympic Committee’s plans to eliminate wrestling from the Olympic Games in 2020.
White on the IOC and colleges dropping amateur wrestling programs: “I’ve been battling this problem for years now. Colleges are dropping it. High schools are dropping wrestling. The problem with wrestling is, it’s an awesome base for mixed martial arts, for everything – I mean, I’ve never wrestled, but what I hear it does to guys that wrestle, it changes peoples’ lives. It’s this grueling, hard work and dedication – all the things that go in with being a wrestler.”
On the issues of a lack of viewership for amateur wrestling and how he thinks this could one day lead to MMA becoming an Olympic sport: “The problem is nobody wants to watch it. Any sport, especially these days, it’s about selling tickets and eyeballs and viewers and all these other things. And there’s been a lot of people saying, ‘You’ve got to f—ing do something,’ but – and Garry (Cook) and I were talking about this yesterday –what this could be is the evolution of mixed martial arts becoming an Olympic sport. We bring spectators, eyeballs – whether it’s TV or whatever it is. This sport draws. Wrestling doesn’t. I can’t be the guy to run out and try and save wrestling. I’ve been doing it for years. You know how many wrestling programs I funded over the past five, six years? A lot. Yeah, I don’t want to see wrestling go away either. It’s such a big part of the sport. But, something’s going to happen here. It’s going to evolve into mixed martial arts or something. I don’t know. I don’t think wrestling is going to go anywhere, but competitive wrestling definitely is.”