Ronda Rousey thought it was a hoax, as did I and many others I’m sure. I logged on to Facebook yesterday and saw the news on someone’s status. I was in utter disbelief. “Cut wrestling from the Olympics? That is insane. Sounds like a bad joke.” It wasn’t.
The IOC has voted wrestling out of the 2020 games. Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the Olympics. Heck, it’s one of the oldest sports period. Wrestling has been removed in favor of other sports in the hope of targeting a younger demographic. Instead of wrestling in the 2020 games, we could have karate, wushu, baseball, squash and several other less-traditional sports.
When this news came out, the martial arts community was greatly saddened and angered. Not surprisingly, the world of MMA was greatly disappointed. Some of MMA’s finest athletes were wrestlers and, as you can imagine, they vented their disdain. Some of the notable names were Rousey and Dan Henderson, both of whom have competed in the Olympics in wrestling and judo.
“It’s just a shame. This is the oldest sport in the Olympics. In the original Olympics, they had wrestling.”
That is what Rousey told USA Today Sports. Henderson commented that he’s hoping they will bring it back at some point.
I can empathize with the UFC’s great displeasure with the IOC’s questionable decision. This is where they came from. This is the martial art that has brought them so much success, and removing it from the oldest sporting event in history is a serious low blow.
But at the same time we should all be open to change. With wrestling gone, then perhaps other combat sports such as karate and wushu can get a chance to shine. As they say, “where one door closes, another one opens.”