The Key to China might be the Olympics

Watching my MMA video of the day brought to us by Kid Nate, and Zombie Profit the other day, we saw Dana White questioned by TMZ about MMA in the
Olympics. While it is clear that Dana supports MMA in the Olympics, he also 
makes it clear that he has enough stuff to do, and UFC isn't going to push 
the issue. 

Fast forward to my slow day at work (boss is out of town), and I came across
 an article on Yahoo by Les Carpenter titled "China's Olympic goal: Dominate
 the medal count." To sum up the article, it says that what started as an
 effort to build a successful Olympic team for the 2008 Bejing games, has
 continued into a program where the Chinese government is dead set on Olympic 
domination, and winning as many medals as possible. If you thought the
Chinese are close to winning the medal count this year, just wait until Rio
 in 2016.

Now it is no secret that UFC wants to break into the Chinese market in a big 
way. It is the world's second largest economy, there are 1.3 billion 
people, and if the demographics that I saw a few years ago are close to
 accurate, there are just as many 18-49 y/o males in China, as the entire 
population of the United States. UFC is making in-roads with a TV deal
(even if it only reaches a limited scope of the population), and the first 
UFC card from China on 6 November. But the first card is happening in
 Macau, one of the two specially administered districts in China (Hong Kong
 being the other), where the rules, and due to the long time European control
 of the area, the culture is a little different than the area where the 
bulk of the people live.

The best way to galvanize a new market is to provide them with someone that
 they can get behind and cheer for. If UFC were to work with the Brazilian 
gov't (who would instantly have one of the deepest talent pools) put it's
weight behind making MMA at least a demonstration sport for the 2016 games 
in Rio. UFC stands to reap enormous benefits for their attempts to introduce MMA 
to the Chinese culture. The instant MMA becomes an Olympic sport the
 Chinese are going to want to be competitive in it. They will recruit MMA,
BJJ, and Muay Thai trainers to their country to work with the first 
generation of MMA Olympians. UFC could help by linking them up with former UFC fighters looking for work. These skill sets will be introduced to the
culture, and any Chinese athletes that win medals will become celebrities in
 the world's most populated nation.

The way the Chinese system is set up, it would reward their athletes very 
well for success, so pulling a fighter from the amateur system into the UFC might not be
 the easiest thing to do... but you do not need every Chinese fighter, you
only need a few, and with some success and solid marketing you have the MMA version of
 Yao Ming. It might be the 20 y/o who has a UFC hero that he sees on TV, but
 finished second in Olympic trials to the 30 y/o veteran that has bought into
 the Chinese Olympic culture. He or she will have a solid base in MMA, and
 maybe find their way to NM to train with Greg Jackson, or Singapore to train 
with Evolve, and then you have a start.

For a few years I've thought that the Olympics really just needed a
 Submission Grappling event, ideally with the ADCC rule set (and that would 
be better than nothing). My fear has been that any version of MMA that made 
it into the games would be so watered down with rules and politics that it would be almost
 unwatchable, and far from entertaining. Now I am starting to come around to 
the idea of MMA in the Olympics, and I really think that it would be in the
UFC's best interest to push it. Maybe when they get done with Lobbying 
effort in New York (hopefully soon), they can shift those resources to the
 effort to lobby the IOC. In addition to the possible in-roads in China, it would help UFC identify 
prospects from around the world. How easy would it be to sell an Olympic
 gold medalist moving straight into UFC, and working up the ranks. It would
 essentially be the TUF world cup that Dana has talked about in the past, but
 wrapped in the patriotism that the Olympics brings.

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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