With the 2012 London Olympic Games soon approaching, many in the jiu-jitsu community are starting to wonder, “When will we see jiu-jitsu in the Olympic games?”

The topic is gaining more attention as the 2016 Olympics are going to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, once the mecca of the jiu-jitsu world. We all know that many people would love to see that dream come true, but will it happen? Although most would be pleased to see it as a part of the Olympics, many still detest the idea and feel the sport needs to grow more before it can be displayed on the biggest stage.

Here are two of the serious issues that the sport of jiu-jitsu may have to deal with and fix before they can become an actual Olympic sport.

Refereeing

The IBJJF made many changes to their overall appearance in 2012, making the events look much more professionally run and cleaner. On the final day of the Worlds, all the refs came in suits and ties trying to emulate the appearance of Judo referees in their major championships. The IBJJF team also worked very hard in changing some of the rules and the point system within a match, but that still didn’t keep the referees from making mistakes and robbing athletes of wins.

Taking a look back at this past World Championship, almost anyone can notice that there was still a problem with the rules and with the referees especially. Many of the refs didn’t seem to be on the right track as each ref seemed to have a different interpretation of the rules. Too many times there were instances where one ref would give two points for a specific attack by one of the competitors while another ref may only give an advantage point, or nothing at all. If jiu-jitsu is going to be in the Olympics, all the referees must be on the same page or else the sport will flop instantly.

Obviously, we must take into consideration that human error is common in any sport—baseball, football, basketball, you name it—and you see it all the time. But unfortunately jiu-jitsu referees can take it to another level as sometimes calls are very clearly wrong, and no matter what they won’t overturn them.

What can they do about it? If possible, I feel that they should take the refs through rigid training courses where they must pass exams, and go through many scenarios. The training should be equivalent to the training for the athlete getting ready to compete. With that, hopefully we will see a change in the quality of the refereeing and an improvement in the calls being made.

Steroids

When Caio Terra, the tiny roosterweight from Gracie Fighter, came out in public after his win against Bruno Malfacine and declared that there should be testing for steroids in the IBJJF, a lot of talk swirled around the idea. Unfortunately though, the IBJJF has yet to take any course of action on the matter.

For those that are not too well aware, steroids is a very common thing that is used in jiu-jitsu. With easy access in Brazil to steroids, many of the serious jiu-jitsu athletes are on or have been on the “juice.” If this problem is not resolved soon before they go into the Olympics, the champion will end up being the one guy who passed the banned substance test, while the rest were disqualified.

Since the sport does not drug test any of the competitors, steroid use remains rampant today and continues to be a growing problem. But if the IBJJF can step up and clear out the steroid issue entirely with drug tests then the sport will look a lot cleaner and potentially more pleasing for the directors of the Olympic games to see in their events.

Steroids and refereeing are the two critical issues that need to be dealt with if the sport ever wants to be part of the Olympics or else we may never see it on world’s biggest stage. Even if they don’t make it to the Olympics, those two issues should be dealt with in order to save the integrity of the sport and continue to shed a positive light on it.

What do you the reader think? What else must the sport of jiu-jitsu fix in order for it to become worthy enough to be part of the Olympic Games? Comment below and let yourself be heard! Osss!

Photo: Rio Olympics Logo (DesignBoom.com)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor
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Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.