EXCLUSIVE | Former Olympian Daniel Cormier Discusses The Removal Of Wrestling From The Olympics | UFC NEWS
In the few short years Daniel Cormier has been a professional mixed martial artist he has racked up wins against some of the best heavyweights MMA has to offer. Guys like former UFC heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett and current UFC #1 heavyweight contender have all felt the wrath of the former Oklahoma State University wrestler. The wins over those two giants helped Cormier capture the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Championship.
Cormier has been quick to thank his teammates at American Kickboxing for helping him develop into one of the best heavyweights in the world. Whether he stays there or drops to light heavyweight remains to be seen, but either way big things are expected from the Louisiana native when he makes his UFC debut.
Like so many other top mixed martial artists, Cormier’s base is wrestling. He not only competed at the top of the food chain while in college he was also a member of the 2004 Olympic team where he placed 4th and he was scheduled to be the team captain of the 2008 Olympic team, but was forced out of the games because he suffered kidney failure during his weight cut.
Considering how amateur wrestling was such an integral part of Cormier’s life, it’s easy to understand why he would be quite upset that wrestling will no longer be part of the Olympics beginning in 2020.
“It’s a bad deal and it sucks, my initial reaction was I was upset and hurt,” Cormier told BJPenn.Com Radio. “I couldn’t understand how a sport that’s been in the Olympics since the beginning could be eliminated. It didn’t make much sense to me, but as time has passed you kind of start to understand the situation a little bit better. As dire as the circumstances are for the sport, because not many sports that are dropped get brought back very quickly, there’s still a chance wrestling could be back. It’s not very likely, but there’s still a chance. As long as there is hope that’s always good.”
There has been a lot of speculation behind the reasoning of why wrestling was ultimately dropped from the Olympics, but right now there isn’t any concrete facts available. Some have suggested it is due to money while many believe it’s due to the fact that NBC, which televises the Olympics, is not very happy with the ratings that wrestling has drawn. When you look at it ratings and money usually go hand in hand so it’s easy to see where NBC is coming from.
“I’m not exactly sure of the reason, but it was down to wrestling, rhythmic gymnastics and a few other sports,” Cormier said. “I guess every certain amount of years every sport gets reviewed and I guess they saw that wrestling shouldn’t be part of the Olympic Games anymore. One of the things I did hear was that they were modernizing the Olympics, I don’t really understand that.”
“There is not a sport more pure than wrestling, man to man, you go on the mat, you take care of business and the best man wins. Listen, boxing is supposed to be that too, but we know how boxing can be. It’s much easier to bring corruption into boxing than it is wrestling. There’s not a sport that represents the Olympic code better than wrestling. It’s been there from the very beginning, it was in the ancient Olympic Games and is in the modern Olympic Games. Wrestling has been around since the Olympics even started.”
A huge uproar started when the news was first announced on Tuesday afternoon. Since then there have been petitions started by wrestlers as well as fans of wrestling. Being in 2013 certainly has helped the cause because everywhere you look on Facebook and Twitter you will see people banding together to save this historic sport. The power of social media is really being used to wrestling’s advantage, how much of a difference that makes remains to be seen.
“As you look around Twitter you see people who don’t even wrestle wondering what’s going on,” explained the newest addition to the UFC Heavyweight division. “I think this will help, it shows people that there is an awareness for the sport. It’s a popular sport and people do pay attention to it. I don’t think that’s necessarily going to be what brings it back. It is valuable information for FILA when they go in front of the International Olympic Committee and makes the case that we want wrestling added back to the program.”
“They can go back and pull some of that information, there are hundreds of thousands of tweets and wrestling has been trending for the past few days. They can use that information to show the interest that the sport actually has around the world. It’s very sad because wrestling is one of the only true international sports. There were 90 something countries represented this year at the Olympic Games in the wrestling competition. That’s what the Olympics are all about.”