UFC legend Randy Couture says there's serious momentum in the fight to get MMA back in the Olympics ... with more than 30 COUNTRIES on board and ready to roll.
Couture was leaving an event in L.A. this weekend when he said, "I think there's 34 or 39 countries that have signed petitions" for a sport called pankration ... an ancient form of MMA.
FYI -- pankration was an olympic sport in ancient Greece. The only rules were no biting or eye-gouging.
So, when should we expect to see MMA fighters competing for the gold? Probably not any time soon ... in fact, a UFC exec recently said he thinks it's still 20 years away.
It's OK ... good things come to those who wait.
DEFEATED BY EYE INFECTION
Gets Night Off to Heal
2/11/2014 6:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The eyes have it ... infections, that is ... and now, FINALLY, Bob Costas will take a night off from Olympics coverage so his peepers can heal up.
Costas tapped Matt Lauer to take over the hosting duties from Sochi Tuesday ... saying, "Reluctantly, I was trying to throw a complete game here, but we're going to have to go to the bullpen, and I don't know if you're aware of this tonight, but you're Mariano Rivera, at least tonight."
Bob started his Olympic coverage with what appeared to be pink eye -- it was red and swollen shut -- and after a few days it appeared the other eye came down with the P.E. too.
So, the question remains ... WHO KEEPS FARTING ON BOB'S PILLOW???
US Olympic Bobsledder
Escapes from Russian Elevator
'I Tried to Pry The Door Open!'
2/10/2014 12:15 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
US bobsledder Johnny Quin was just RESCUED from an evil Russian elevator ... just days after being trapped in a Russian bathroom ... and he just called in to TMZ Sports to tell us about his escape.
Quin was leaving the team hotel with the team bobsled pilot and a few team mechanics when the doors suddenly slammed shut ... and wouldn't open.
Quin says he tried to pry the elevator open ... but it wouldn't budge.
Fortunately, the guys had their cell phones and called for help ... and eventually got out.
The incident comes just two days after Johnny got trapped in his own bathroom ... and when no one came to his rescue, he used his bobsled skills to smash through the door like the Kool Aid man.
Cool Runnings Star
Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme ... Move Over USA
It's Jamaica's Time!
2/8/2014 12:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Starring in "Cool Runnings" makes you an unofficial Jamaican FOR LIFE ... at least according to American actor Leon Robinson ... who tells TMZ Sports he's rooting for Team JA's bobsledders to crush Team USA in Sochi.
Leon played Derice Bannock in the beloved movie, and explained "it'd be a once in a lifetime opportunity for them to win the gold," adding ... "how often would they get that chance?"
He's got a point ... Jamaica's bobsled has only made it to ONE other Olympics after their legendary debut in the 1988 Games.
Leon says he goes down to Jam Rock every year ... and claims the island's tourism board calls him "Jamaica's best friend" -- due to all the visitors who come and spend money on bobsled-related gear.
No joke ... there's a freakin' Bobsled Cafe down there.
But even Leon admits it's a long shot for the Jamaicans to top USA this year.
Maybe not ... if they bust out THE chant in Sochi. That would be awesome ...
Winter Olympics in Sochi
Come for the Games, Stay For ...
(We'll Get Back to You)
2/7/2014 12:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Rainbow Olympic Logo
Suck It Russia!
2/6/2014 4:56 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The guys at Google appear to have just flipped the bird at the Russians for their anti-gay laws ... posting a rainbow Olympics search bar to their homepage.
The art work popped up on the site minutes ago ... and the message sure seems loud and proud ... Google supports gay rights at Sochi.
As you know -- the Russians are enforcing a strict "no gays allowed" policy in their country ... which includes everyone traveling there for the Games this winter.
Your move Putin.
HEINEKEN ARRIVES IN SOCHI
Hey Bud, We're Not Afraid!
2/6/2014 1:06 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Heineken ain't afraid of no terrorism -- unlike Budweiser -- TMZ Sports has learned, the Dutch beer company has REFUSED to cancel its Olympics party in Sochi ... after its American cousin pulled out.
A rep for Heineken tells us, the beer titan's party house in Sochi officially opened for business today ... and it's already turnt up big time.
It's a big move ... considering Budweiser shut down all plans to have a presence in Sochi because the company is afraid of the looming threat of terrorism.
But Heineken says Bud's fears are unsubstantiated ... with one rep telling us, "Sochi is actually OK safety-wise."
Cheers to that.
Jamaican Bobsled Team
WE FOUND OUR LUGGAGE
... Lawd a Mercy!!
2/6/2014 9:05 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Jamaican Bobsled team is officially back in business ... after their missing luggage was finally located in Sochi.
Team Jamaica's Winter Olympics experience got off to a bad start when they arrived to Russia ahead of their luggage ... which contained clothing, uniforms, helmets and other important bobsledding stuff.
But good news ... the luggage finally arrived to Sochi around midnight ... and today, the team hit the track for a pre-Olympics training sesh.
Don't worry ... the lucky egg* was probably a carry-on.
*note -- the lucky egg was popularized in the propaganda film, "Cool Runnings" ... no word if it actually exists.
Budweiser Should Declare P.R. War On Sochi
Pulling Out Isn't Enough
2/6/2014 7:04 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cedric Ceballos wants Budweiser to BE STRONGER in its stand against the situation in Sochi ... saying pulling out isn't enough -- he wants the company to declare an all out P.R. war on Russia.
We broke the story ... Budweiser decided NOT to throw its traditional Club Bud party at the Winter Olympics this year -- and according to internal documents obtained by TMZ Sports, it's all because Bud fears the terror threat in Sochi is looming too large.
Bud has not issued a public statement explaining the decision -- but the former NBA star tells TMZ Sports, he thinks the company has a duty to back up their actions with strong words.
"I think they should come out with a statement. I mean, they always make statements in commercials with their product,. somebody either the President or the CEO should make a statement."
Budweiser BAILS on Sochi
We're Not Comfortable There
2/5/2014 2:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
There's no Bud for you, Sochi ... TMZ Sports has learned Budweiser has decided to NOT throw its traditional Winter Olympics party this year and it's all because the company is not comfortable with the situation in Russia.
In the past, Budweiser was known for hosting huge parties -- like the Club Bud bashes during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and at the 2006 Olympics in Turin.
But we've learned ... the King of Beers has decided it won't be throwing a similar party at the '14 Games ... at least, that's the plan for now.
In fact, we've seen an email from a Budweiser rep which says the company does not want its U.S.-based representatives in Sochi ... and the message is clear -- the terrorist threat is simply looming too large.
A rep for Anheuser-Busch confirms to TMZ Sports ... there will be no Club Bud in Sochi -- but the rep didn't give a reason for why the company is not throwing the party.
CONDOMS FOR EVERYONE
Officials Distribute 100,000 Rubbers
2/5/2014 10:57 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Sex is rampant in Olympic Village ... everyone knows this ... and officials have taken steps to make sure the athletes stay safe in the bedroom by passing out 100,000 condoms, TMZ Sports has learned.
A rep for the International Olympic Committee tells us ... "The distribution of condoms in the village is part of the IOC’s involvement in the HIV and AIDS prevention."
The 100,000 condoms will cover roughly 7,650 athletes who are competing (and banging each other) over a 16-day span.
Just a few years ago, former Olympic competitor Ronda Rousey told us the village is pure "debauchery" ... with hot people fueled on adrenaline and free booze having the time of their lives.
Makes ya wanna book a trip to Sochi, right?
U.S. Olympic Skiier Julia Mancuso
Check Out My Hot Butt Crack
2/5/2014 7:51 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Here's Team USA downhill skier Julia Mancuso trying to get America hooked on crack ... and it's working.
The 29-year-old Olympian -- who chalked up a gold medal at the 2006 Olympics in Turin -- threw on one of the lowest plunging catsuits ever for a sexy photo shoot for February edition of GQ.
Mancuso is considered America's best hope for Olympic gold in the speed events -- and she doesn't lack confidence. In fact, she brags on her Twitter page, "I ski better than you."
Hope she's right ...
My Mustache Was Violated
... By Pill Company
2/4/2014 5:35 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
No one abuses Mark Spitz's trademark mustache and gets away with it ... so says Mark Spitz, who claims a pill company had the balls to jack his follically-enhanced image to hawk energy pills without permission.
The U.S. Olympic legend has filed a lawsuit against New Vitality -- an online vitamin and supplement company that allegedly used an old-school photo of Mark in an ad for one of their products called PowerQ10.
In the ad, Spitz gives a testimonial about how much he loves to use the product to support his energy levels and heart health.
Problem is, Mark says he never agreed to allow the company to use his name, his image or his mustache to endorse any New Vitality product and now he's looking for big fat check to make things right. He also wants punitive damages.
We reached out to New Vitality -- so far, no word back.