Is Mixed Martial Arts in the Olympics? | Easily Explained

The Olympics is a major global event where athletes are able to represent their country, and potentially immortalize themselves in history.

Many combat sports are currently available, but is Mixed Martial Arts in the Olympics?

In this page, we will explain.

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Is Mixed Martial Arts in the Olympics?

Mixed Martial Arts is currently not available in the Olympics as an Olympic sport. However, many individual martial arts used in MMA are Olympic sports including Judo, Boxing, Taekwondo, Karate, and wrestling. Due to being the fastest growing sport in the world, it is very possible that MMA enters the Olympics in the future.


The first UFC event was in 1993, which makes it a relatively young sport. For comparison, Muhammad Ali would have his final Boxing fight 12 years prior, in 1981.

Hurdles Getting Into the Olympics

For MMA to ever be able to become an Olympic sport, they will have to overcome several notable hurdles which we will discuss below.

Olympic Event Length

The Olympics typically last a little bit over one month, which means that fighters will need to have a quick turnaround after their fight.


MMA fighters would also most likely be fighting in a tournament-style bracket.

The fighter who wins will move on to the next round, until they reach the finals.

In a grueling sport where many fighters show up to their fights injured, it's asking for a lot from the fighters.

Minimize Bleeding

In the Boxing Olympics, they are required to wear headgear in order to prevent lacerations and safeguard accidental headbutts, which are common in boxing.

boxing headgear

Lacerations and headbutts cause bleeding, which is not something that the average Olympic viewers want to see.

Additionally, lacerations do not heal up overnight, which can prevent a fighter from competing in their next Olympic bout.

Adapting the PFL Rule Set

The PFL (Professional Fighters League) already does a tournament/bracket-style competition for their fighters.

They realized that if a fighter is out for an extended period of time due to a cut, their business model would not work.

In order to fix this potential problem, they've banned elbows from competition. This is a similar adaptation that MMA would have to make in order to become an Olympic sport.


Weight Cuts

In a sport where fighters will cut 30+ lbs in order to gain a size advantage for their fight, how will they be able to safely cut weight multiple times in under a month?

Daniel Cormier has come up with a solution where MMA fighters will be able to incrementally gain weight for each fight.

This will give the body of the fighters a better chance at recovery, and less strain to deal with as they advance through the bracket.

Khabib Nurmagomedov on the Olympics

One of the recently retired MMA greats, Khabib Nurmagomedov has stated that Mixed Martial Arts becoming an Olympic sport "is one of my biggest tasks for the next couple of years".

Nurmagomedov also believes that there's a solid chance of MMA inclusion in Los Angeles for the year of 2028.