Olympic MMA would curb the number of premature athletes turning pro, says USA chief

Following IMMAF setting its sights on the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles for MMA’s debut, USA MMA Federation (UMMAF) director Ryan Brueggeman weighs in on what it would mean for the sport.

UMMAF Director of Operations/Compliance Officer, Ryan Brueggeman

UMMAF Director of Operations/Compliance Officer, Ryan Brueggeman

Per UMMAF.org: Ryan Brueggeman has had a substantial background in wrestling and Martial Arts. Mr. Brueggeman enlisted in the United States Navy where he continued to wrestle at various events around the globe.  It was during this time that he was introduced to Krav Maga. Ryan has been officiating wrestling for 15 years at the State Championship level in Missouri, Massachusetts, Washington and Arizona.  His officiating of wrestling led to his involvement in officiating MMA for UMMAF, having officiated the inaugural and second UMMAF National Championship MMA Tournaments and was the Sanctioning Director for the third, as well as at the IMMAF World Championships. He is a licensed professional and amateur MMA official in several states across the country.  As Operations Director and Compliance Officer for UMMAF, Mr. Brueggeman oversees negotiations with state athletic commissions and all compliance issues, athlete and gym memberships as well as overall responsibility for the growth of UMMAF in the United States and alongside UMMAF president and IMMAF board member Frank Babcock.

Why should MMA be in the Olympics?

MMA has earned it’s place in the Olympic Games because of it’s global reach and interest.  MMA is the fastest growing amateur combat sport in the world.  It’s inclusion into the games would bring new audiences, revenue and an alternative for amateur athletes to turning professional.

What would Olympic inclusion mean for MMA?

Above all else it would bring the final validation to the sport.  For so long, MMA was seen as an abomination of the traditional combat sports such as Taekwondo, Judo, and wrestling.  If anything, I think that the inclusion of MMA into the Games would also boost interest in the other combat sports as athletes begin to research the other disciplines that will make them more rounded fighters.

What would it mean for MMA in your region?

The inclusion of MMA into the Olympic Games would underscore the importance of unified regulation of the amateur side of the sport in the United States.  As of now, many states have different rules from each other, fighters are pushed to turn pro prematurely and there is no clear path for these athletes.  The Olympics would give these athletes another career path to hone their skills and increase the odds of a long and successful professional career.

For more information on UMMAF visit ummaf.org.

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