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Fourth-Place Medal

MMA to the Olympics would be a tough sell

Maggie Hendricks
Fourth-Place Medal

Don't expect to see Georges St. Pierre represent Canada in the Olympics soon. (Getty)

Over the years, the Olympics adds and drops sports to meet changing public tastes for sports. The tug-of-war, hotly contested from 1896-1920, is no longer part of the Olympics. Most recently, softball and baseball were dropped. With MMA growing in popularity and global reach, is there a chance the International Olympic Committee would include mixed martial arts, the sport made popular by the UFC, on its docket?

It's a possibility, but unlikely. Here is what MMA has on its side in a push to get the sport Olympic status.

International flair: MMA easily fulfills the international requirement. The sport is popular in the U.S., Japan, Thailand, Brazil, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia. It's growing in many other parts of the world, which is important to IOC leadership.

[ Related: A knockout: U.S. women's boxer featured in Vogue ]

Beginnings of international federation: In April, MMA officials announced the formation of the International Mixed Martial Arts Foundation, a global group with the aim of streamlining and standardizing the sport.

But MMA has plenty of obstacles, as well.

No standard drug testing: Currently, MMA drug-testing in the U.S. is handled by state commissions, which have different requirements and rules. The UFC recently announce they will create a better drug-testing policy that will reach farther than the states' requirements, but they still have a long way to go to be at Olympic drug-testing levels. Plus, that's just in the United States. The IMMAF will have to corral drug testing around the world.

[ Photos: Notable Olympic drug offenders ]

Another sport has to go: The cap for Summer Olympics sports is set at 28, and the 2016 Olympics will field 28 sports. To open the door for MMA, another sport will have to be cut. MMA will also have to battle against sports like softball, karate and squash to earn an Olympic home.

Bad reputation: And here's the big one. Though MMA has instituted rules and safety precautions, it is still a bloody sport that was once called "human cockfighting" by John McCain. The sport has grown much since the days it was forced underground, but a reputation is hard to shake. The IOC, who has a reputation for being stuck in their ways, will be tough to convince.

Do you want to see MMA in the Olympics? Tell us in the comments.

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