MIXED MARTIAL ARTS boss Chatri Sityodtong wants the sport to be part of the Olympic Games within the next decade.
Sityodtong, 48, has led ‘ONE Championship’ brand to becoming one of the biggest MMA organisations in the world since launch in 2011 with 41.3million viewers in 36 countries.
Now the Thai businessman is teaming up with the Global Association of MMA to prove to the International Olympic Committee that MMA is suitable for the Olympics.
The ONE Championship owner is adamant the “values” of his brand can convince IOC chiefs to make MMA part of the programme in 2028 in Los Angeles.
Chatri told SunSport: “I feel like ONE Championship is the global leader in the sport of mixed martial arts in its value and vision – and if anyone is going to be able to take it to the Olympics it’s going to be ONE Championship in conjunction with GAMMA.
“The values of ONE Championship, GAMMA and the Olympics makes for a huge opportunity for the martial arts community around the world to unite behind ONE Championship and help us bring it to the games.
“When I look at what the Olympics wants out of its athletes and organisations I think ONE Championship and GAMMA has it all.
“I’m a lifelong martial artist and ONE Championship represents authentic martial arts and that is something the Olympics loves. They already have authentic martial arts in individual forms.”
But the UFC brand has also been plagued by trash talking, racism rows, bus attacks, post-fight melees and failed doping tests – all things which Sityodtong forbids which attracted American stars Demetrious Johnson and Eddie Alvarez over to Asia.
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, backed by the UFC had its application for sports recognition in the Games rejected in February – meaning ONE Championship and GAMMA lead the race to have MMA backed for the Olympics.
But ONE Championship’s founder and CEO concedes with the sports most recognised stars falling victim of unpleasant pasts means it will take every bit of his traditional martial arts values to convince Olympic bosses MMA should have a home at the Games.
Chatri said: “When you look at how the sport has been represented in the west that won’t be flying well with the IOC.
“But when you look at the way ONE Champioship represents MMA I believe that is something that is not only exciting for all the martial arts that are currently in the Olympics but the IOC itself.
“I think every real sport that is celebrated by many, many countries should be an Olympic sport – as long as they share Olympic values.
“We want to help grow the pie, for sports that are currently in the Olympics.
“I am investing and leader the entire global eco system – ONE Championship and GAMMA making sure a total beginner to a world champion has the opportunity in their career to be an Olympian.
“I think it will grow all individual martial art forms, the way ONE Championship helped MMA, Thai boxing, boxing – we’ve grown all the sports because of our presence.
“As long as everything is done in the right way with the right values we can ignite more value in martial arts that are already in the games – whether that be wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, karate.”