After saying in February that he can’t be the guy to “run out and save wrestling,” UFC President Dana White has apparently decided to do just that in the two months before the IOC will vote on whether the sport find its way back into the 2020 Olympics.
“[Wrestling] needs to be more fan-friendly, it needs to be more exciting,” White said Tuesday. “I’ve met with a lot of the top guys in wrestling. Actually I met with them last Tuesday, and yeah, the UFC is joining the fight to help save Olympic wrestling.”
“Not just Olympic wrestling, but colleges are dropping wrestling now. High schools have been dropping wrestling… I’ve personally funded tons of wrestling programs, and the UFC has funded tons of wrestling programs for high school kids.”
No one’s entirely sure how White, who’s admitted that he thinks the sport will eventually evolve into more of a mixed martial arts style event, plans to help. But lending his voice, his league’s talent, and some financial support could go a long way in helping wrestling retain its spot in the Olympics.
“It’s in the discussion phase,” White added during a conference call. “These guys are going out and fighting the fight, and whatever they need from me and what I think I could do, [I’ll do].”
Wrestling will be up against fellow candidate sports squash, wakeboarding, sport climbing, roller sports, karate, wushu, and a baseball/softball joint bid during an initial IOC vote in Moscow next month.