Olympics opening ceremony start time and schedule

IOWA CITY, IA - APRIL 21: Jordan Burroughs waits to wrestle Andrew Howe in the 74 kg freestyle weight class during the finals of the US Wrestling Olympic Trials at Carver Hawkeye Arena on April 21, 2012 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Today (July 27, 2012) is a big day in the world of sports, and if you're a mixed martial arts (MMA) fan who didn't plan on tuning in for the 2012 Olympics, you may be missing out on the next generation of cage fighters.

Like freestyle wrestling phenom Jordan Burroughs.

In fact, many of today's top stars got their start on the world stage, including Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Dan Henderson, Strikeforce heavyweight Daniel Cormier and Bellator welterweight Ben Askren, among others.

And two of the loveliest ladies in combat sports, Ronda Rousey (Strikeforce) and Sarah McMann (Invicta FC), both took home medals in Judo and Freestyle Wrestling, respectively. Plus, if the current growth of MMA continues at its current rate, it may be only a matter of time before the sport itself is included in future Olympics.

Taekwondo, Boxing, Judo and Wrestling are all a part of the summer games and you know the old saying by Aristotle, who also has ties to Olympic history, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

Time will tell.

Until then, I think it's not outrageous to suggest fans of MMA are also fans of action sports, some casually, some fanatically. While I myself am a Badminton badass, I'll probably skip this year's shuttlecock shenanigans in favor of the weightlifting competition -- just so I can watch the clean and jerk.

Speaking of watching, here's a rundown of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony start time and television schedule.

If you happen to live across the pond, naturally, you'll be first in line for today's festivities, as they begin live in London at 9 p.m. local time. That's 4 p.m. stateside for the east coast (ET) fans and 1 p.m. for all you west side homies (PT). The bad news, is NBC won't begin its Olympic coverage until 7 p.m. ET, probably to allow all you people with real jobs to get home from work and turn on the boob-tube.

You won't miss any of the action, you'll just have to settle for tape delay (see the network's full schedule here).

One thing you won't have to settle for is a ham-handed preview of this year's U.S. Men's Freestyle Competition. That's because the fine folks at our sister site, MMA Fighting, have former UFC middleweight number one contender (and amateur wrestler extraordinaire) Chael Sonnen on the hook for his analysis and breakdown of this year's field.

Take a look:

It's going to be a big year for good ole U.S. of A. in the combat sports category, but does anyone have an early favorite to become the next big thing in MMA?

Stay tuned!

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