MMA Fighters As Olympic Sports

Another list you didn't know you wanted and probably still don't but might enjoy anyway

Have you ever started watching world-class athletes that have nothing to do with MMA practicing world-class sports that have nothing with MMA and thought to yourself “Hm, I wonder how I can take this world-class thing that has nothing to do with MMA and add a total of 0 (zero) value to the discourse by making it about MMA?”


Well, that probably means you’re a sound-minded individual who is able to create healthy boundaries and live a balanced life. Luckily for you, though, I am not. So instead of doing the reasonable thing of simply enjoying a thing and letting it exist in the world as it is, I decided not to do that at all and come up with this list instead. 


Diving – Stephen Thompson

  • All about technique & accuracy
  • Difficult to score
  • Ability to both bore and mesmerize

Badminton – Ryan Hall

  • Quirky
  • Quasi-hypnotic appeal
  • Not everyone cares but those who do will make sure you know all about it

Fencing – Demian Maia

  • Cerebral & highly specialized
  • Caters to the more sophisticated eye
  • Its very essence is conditioned to one main weapon

Judo – Holly Holm

  • Every match feels extremely high-stakes
  • Forever a top-rated attraction
  • Not always quite as exciting as you were expecting

Rhythmic Gymnastics – Yair Rodriguez

  • Mainstream appeal & wow factor
  • A lot going on 
  • We only see it every four years but we appreciate it when it happens

Rowing – Ryan Bader

  • All about consistency & pacing
  • Not necessarily a top-seller, but generally respected
  • Can be exciting under the right conditions

Soccer – Amanda Nunes

  • Reliable & accessible
  • Power is definitely a bonus but adaptability is key
  • One of the few things still keeping Brazilians going 

Skateboarding – Jan Blachowicz

  • Has been around for a while but feels fresh
  • There’s technique involved but casuals can still appreciate it
  • About time it got some goddamn recognition

Weightlifting – Donald Cerrone

  • Your buzzed uncle with no real understanding of what’s happening is intrigued enough to watch and instantly form *several* opinions
  • Appeals to both hardcores and casuals
  • Underlying potential for things to go terribly wrong

Triathlon – Valentina Shevchenko

  • Truly a complete product
  • Makes you feel frumpy and slow and generally bad at existing
  • Not the flashiest but can make for a riveting watch once you’re invested

Table Tennis – Demetrious Johnson

  • Fast-paced & energetic
  • Underappreciated by the masses
  • Kind of cool in its own chill way

Athletics – Jon Jones

  • Controversy-prone but always the star
  • Combination of physicality & tactics
  • In case you needed a reminder that there are levels to the whole existing in a human body thing

Softball – Miesha Tate

  • Comeback season, baby!
  • Approachable & TV-friendly
  • There’s probably some mediocre angry man talking shit about it on the internet right now

Shooting – Derrick Lewis

  • Pretty straightforward
  • Massive dad appeal
  • Potential for dramatic change within the blink of an eye

Pole Vault – Michel Pereira

  • Aerodynamic
  • Goes where few have dared
  • So much risk for catastrophic injury but what can we do it’s just good TV

Water polo – Justin Gaethje

  • Athletic and skilled but deep down it’s basically violence
  • Beloved by the most depraved & perverted among us
  • You don’t really need to comprehend what’s happening to enjoy it

Rugby – Cris Cyborg

  • Brains *and* brawn
  • Notorious explosive power backed by discipline and fitness
  • Violent but in an oddly dignified kind of way?

Surfing – Jiri Prochazka

  • Exciting new presence at the world’s biggest mainstream stage
  • Youthful appeal
  • I don’t really know what’s going on or what I’m supposed to be looking at and the whole thing kind of terrifies me a little but I also know better than to ruin it by asking too many questions

PS: If you are a sensible person existing in 2021, chances are you’re having a tough time reconciling the knowledge that the Olympics are a morally corrupt endeavor with the fact you want to see the fast people run fast. Here are some thoughts by Fanbyte’s own Natalie Weiner on that.

PPS: If you are a sensible person existing in 2021, chances are you will disagree with several items on this list. That’s an entirely reasonable reaction and well within your right as part of a plural and democratic society. All I ask is that you please consider not acting verbally on that disagreement and doing literally anything else instead.