Following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) surprising decision to cut wrestling from the Olympics following the 2016 games there has been a large outcry from the MMA and wrestling communities. US Olympic bronze medalist judoka – and UFC women’s bantamweight champion – Ronda Rousey and former US Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson weighed in on the matter at the UFC 157 media call.
“It’s kind of sad that that happened, it’s the sport that has been there the longest since the ancient Greeks,” Henderson said. “I think I’ve been hearing that being termed as a possibility for at least 20 years now, so hopefully, it doesn’t stay that way, but, it’s just unfortunate.”
Henderson would also try to rationalize the IOC’s decision:
“I guess it’s not as exciting as other sports and doesn’t get as much TV coverage, you know, it is what it is,” Henderson said. “It’s not as exciting as MMA, but I enjoy it and I think it’s a great sport. It’s just sad to see it go.”
Rousey was clearly surprised by the decision, and had no qualms with taking a shot at the sport that will replace wrestling, golf:
“I was really surprised when I heard it this morning,” Rousey said. “The only reason I can think of is that a few countries are overly dominant. Usually, if they’re thinking about taking sports out it’s because there are not enough countries competing or one country is winning too much, I think that’s what happened to softball. I think it’s a shame, this is the oldest sport in all of the Olympics.”
“In the original Olympics they had wrestling in there and I know they’re replacing it with golf,” she said. “If you don’t break a sweat, it’s not a sport, its a skill. There’s certainly skill in golf, but wrestling is one of the most basic sports. It’s one of the root sports in the Olympics and I think they’re destroying part of their history by getting rid of it.”
Wrestling will still have a small chance to be voted back into the games, but the sports Olympic future is, at best, grim.