MMA is the Decathlon of Olympic combat sports, says IMMAF Director and former Olympian Stewart Brain
Australia’s Stewart Brain was elected to the IMMAF Board of Directors in 2015. Following IMMAF setting its sights on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles for MMA’s debut, he puts forward the concept that mixed martial arts is the decathlon/pentathlon of Olympic combat sports and martial arts, and what development of the sport means in Oceania. As a former Olympian himself, Brain has competed internationally in Judo since 1974, reaching the quarter finals of the Seoul Games in 1988 in the 73 kilo category. Representing Oceania, he has been involved in sports administration since 1985 and has served as National Administration Coaching Director, National Sports Commissioner and National Secretary for the Judo Federation Australia. He established the Kokodan Commission and Kata Commission of Australia and was also the Judo National Team coach. Why should MMA be in the Olympics? MMA is a culmination of many existing Olympic sports, namely Taekwondo, boxing, judo and wrestling. It seems only fitting to have an Olympic champion that can master all of these disciplines similar to decathlons or pentathlons. To have amateur athletes showing their combat skills as an overall sport on the greatest stage of all seems a very logical step. I’m certainly not suggesting removing any of the existing combat sports from the Olympic program; MMA as an Olympic sport can enhance the profile of others and show the world the best combined combat athlete. What would Olympic inclusion mean for MMA? Most importantly for me would be the acceptance of MMA as a sport in its own right, a sport which has evolved from scratch worldwide, that has matched criteria from international agencies including anti-doping, organisation and approved world data bases for athlete safety including weight management, medicals, competition history, national membership, athlete participation, world and continental championships and all with a worldwide viewing audience. What would it mean for MMA in your region? Amateur MMA is a fast growing sport in Oceania given that we have so many small islands as independent countries which compete at the Olympics in many combat sports. It would give those smaller countries a great opportunity to compete in yet another Olympic discipline thus no doubt increasing all combat sports participation across all of Oceania. This is the one of the prime aims of IMMAF, to increase athlete participation in combat sports culminating in MMA’s Olympic representation.