Khabib Nurmagomedov declared on Tuesday his plans to make MMA an Olympic sport by 2028. The undefeated former UFC lightweight champion wants to meet with the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, to discuss the inclusion of the sport in the Olympic program.
Nurmagomedov wants to convince the Committee that the addition of MMA to the Olympic program would be beneficial for both sides. He believes that if the talk goes well, we could see MMA as an Olympic sport as soon as 2024 when the Summer Games will be held in Paris.
"The inclusion of MMA in the Olympics is one of my main tasks for the next couple of years; we are already working in this direction. I will have many meetings soon, including with the president of the Olympic Committee. We have a great chance of promoting MMA. If not in Paris, then in Los Angeles," said Nurmagomedov.
Nurmagomedov knows the obstacles he may face on his way to prove that MMA deserves a higher standard. The Olympics are generally inclined to stand against violence in favor of promoting its 'Olympic Spirit'. Nurmagomedov knows something would have to be changed in that sense if MMA happened to be admitted by the Committee.
"The only question is the brutality of the sport. Violence is not encouraged at the Olympics; they do not want a lot of blood. But in terms of recognition, sponsorship, in terms of television engagement, I think that if MMA enters the Olympics program, it will be leveled with football and athletics in interest," Nurmagomedov completed.
The Russian fighter may be right. MMA is one of the most popular sports in the world and regularly watched by half a billion people globally, with a market predicted to continue growing in the coming years.
Would Khabib Nurmagomedov come back from his retirement to fight in the Olympics?
News that Khabib Nurmagomedov would be meeting Dana White in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, emerged during the week. While some believe the reunion might mean a possible return of the former UFC champion to the octagon, it is more likely that it is nothing more than a business meeting. At least for the time being.
Since retiring earlier this year, Nurmagomedov has been active with business ventures. The 'Eagle' recently acquired the Gorilla Fighting Championship promotion for a reported one million dollars and launched a mobile network in his homeland, Russia.
Nurmagomedov's comeback to fighting is seen as unlikely for the moment. But maybe he would change his mind if an Olympic gold medal was on the table. Dana White has already expressed his opinion on the subject before.
"We've been working on it. It's going to happen. It's eventually going to happen. It is just a matter of when and how many resources we want to put behind it," White said back in 2016.
Nurmagomedov retired earlier this year after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. The 'Eagle' left the sport with a clean unbeaten record of 29 wins in 29 fights.