There’s been a lot of talk about Brazilian jiu-jitsu becoming part of the Olympics. Most of this talk, of course, has little chance of creating any change, as it primarily takes place on social media between people who have no real power in the Olympics.
But things might change, according to multiple-time EBI Champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, and that might be due at least partially to the popularity of Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the United Arab Emirates.
“I think it might now because it’s possibly going to be backed by the Arab Emirates,” Tonon told The MMA Hour‘s Ariel Helwani when asked if BJJ will ever become an Olympic sport. “And they’ve [the UAE] done quite a bit with the development of jiu-jitsu in their country. It’s like, basically, it’s like the national sport. Their kids are learning it in school, et cetera, so I think they have a great ability to get things done, as opposed to kind of the previous conversation was, ‘Well, let’s get jiu-jitsu in the Olympics’ and it’s just a bunch of Facebook posts. I didn’t really feel like anybody [with] any driving force was behind that. But now I think that it’s possible.”
Not everyone has been enthusiastic about Brazilian jiu-jitsu becoming part of the world’s oldest sports competition. Fabio Gurgel, for instance, worried about what the Games could possibly do the art of BJJ.
Tonon, however, seemed to be optimistic about jiu-jitsu becoming part of the Olympics:
As to whether or not it’s good for the sport it’s good for the sport or whatever the case may be, I can’t really comment yet because I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but I mean I’m always happy to see different rule sets and different promotions take on events. I think that’s what our sport needs more than anything is just growth.
You can watch Garry Tonon’s entire interview on The MMA Hour below: