MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. Russia’s UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced on Tuesday that the inclusion of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighting on the program of the Olympic Games will be one of his top priorities in the next couple of years.
Speaking at a news conference in Uzbekistan, Nurmagomedov said he planned to meet with President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach to discuss a possibility of including the MMA Fighting on the program of the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
"Making the MMA Fighting an Olympic sport is one of my main tasks for the next couple of years and we have already started work in this direction," he said. "I will be soon having numerous meetings, including with the IOC president. I believe that if not in Paris [2024 Summer Olympics] then in Los Angeles we will big chances of promoting MMA."
The Russian fighter also said that there were certain obstacles against the inclusion of this sport on the Olympic program.
"The only issue is about the violence of this sport," Nurmagomedov said. "Olympic authorities do not welcome this as they don’t want to see a lot of blood."
"However, in terms of recognizability, sponsorship, interest of TV broadcasters, I believe that if the MMA is on the Olympic program it will be on the same level of popularity with football and athletics," he added.
On October 24, Reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Nurmagomedov defeated Justin Gaethje of the United States in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city, during the UFC-254 tournament, defending his champion’s belt for the third time in a row. The Russian fighter booked the victory over his US opponent with a choke in Round 2.
Shortly after the victorious bout in Abu Dhabi over Gaethje, Nurmagomedov stunned his numerous fans worldwide by saying that he would retire because he wants to spend more time with his family.
The 32-year-old Russian fighter, nicknamed ‘The Eagle,’ holds an unblemished record of 29 wins in all of his mixed martial arts fights (8 by KOs, 11 by submission and 10 by decision).
Khabib Nurmagomedov, hailing from Russia’s North Caucasus Region of Dagestan, was the first Russian to win the UFC champion title during the fight against his US opponent Al Iaquinta in the spring of 2018.