ABC unanimously approves additional weight classes for MMA

Above: From 2013-2015 Conor McGregor made the difficult weight cut to compete in the UFC 145lb featherweight division

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

Reports have today confirmed that on July 26 the USA’s Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) voted unanimously to approve the introduction of four extra weight classes for mixed martial arts.

The ABC, who set the standards of the Unified Rules of MMA, and of which are adhered to by MMA promoters worldwide, approved the addition of four new weight classes, per at 165 pounds, 175 pounds, 195 pounds and 225 pounds. The weight classes will be called super-lightweight, super-welterweight, super-middleweight and cruiserweight, respectively. The current 170-pound division — welterweight — will remain in the Unified Rules.

The proposal of additional weight divisions was first reported in April as part of a weight cutting reform package adopted by the MMA rules and regulations committee and first introduced through the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

The changes could usher a major shift in the MMA landscape, not only with the potential for new championship belts in the UFC and other major organisations, but also by effectively eliminating the need for dangerous weight cutting practices. However, promoters are not obliged to introduce the new weight divisions and it is yet to be seen how long athletes will take to fully embrace the new opportunities.

You can read and subscribe to the IMMAF Newsletter HERE.

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Shannon Knapp: Watch out, Davíðsdóttir could go all the way

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

Iceland’s Sunna ‘Tsunami’ Davíðsdóttir (pictured above) continues to grow in popularity as she ascends the strawweight ladder of Invicta Fighting Championships; now 3-0 as a professional mixed martial artist.

Davíðsdóttir’s time as an amateur competitor was short yet impactful as she entered the 2015 IMMAF European Open Championships as a relative newcomer representing the Iceland national team and the famed Mjölnir MMA gym with a handful of MMA and Muay Thai bouts to her name.

Upon arriving for the European Open in Birmingham, England, Davíðsdóttir collected 3 victories in as many days and defeated IMMAF world silver medalist Anja Saxmark in the flyweight division final via a second round TKO. With her invasion of the international amateur platform concluded, she departed for the professional realm and was signed up by American based promotion Invicta FC, the renowned proving ground for the best of all-pro Women’s MMA.

At 32-years-old the former IMMAF and IBJJF European champion moved to 3-0 at Invicta FC 24 on July 15. With a crowd pleasing performance she displayed grit and confidence in going toe-to-toe with boxing specialist Kelly D’Angelo. Davíðsdóttir’s rounded abilities were showcased with takedowns and a one-sided presence on the ground, in addition to competitive striking and never shying away from a shootout.

What future achievements could be in store? Following her latest triumph, Invicta founder and president Shannon Knapp pronounced to that the Icelander is indeed a threat of which her counterparts would be wise to take note of, and one with the talent to reach the Invicta summit.

“Sunna Davíðsdóttir continues to impress with her performances here at Invicta,” Knapp stated. “I think Sunna is an athlete that the strawweight division needs to take notice of and keep an eye on. Sunna has the talent and the drive to make it to the top in that division. I am looking forward to continuing to watch her grow and develop in her career.”

You can read and subscribe to the IMMAF Newsletter HERE.

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IMMAF Africa Open Can Be The Continent’s MMA Mecca

Above: 2016 IMMAF Africa Open Men’s Bantamweight Champion, Luthando Biko.

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

As Africa’s biggest celebration of MMA’s grass roots, its flourishing youth and amateur talent, the IMMAF Africa Open Championships could soon see itself become a Mecca of the sport for the entire continent.

The 2017 Africa Open sees the competition return to Johannesburg from 28 August to 2 September, welcoming competitors from all IMMAF member nations, hosted by the IMMAF and Mixed Martial Arts South Africa (MMASA).

“MMA in South Africa is a growing sport and is being established as one of the premier combat sports locally,” explained MMASA president Bertus Coetzee. “MMASA will ensure growth here and make sure the talent being offered to the world is of great standard. We have many young eager fighters that will showcase their talent to the world. We are super exited for these athletes and we cant wait for this opportunity to come.”

Following the inaugural Africa Open in 2016, the MMASA president looks forward to showcasing how the foundations have been built upon with great attention paid towards continental growth, local exposure and community participation.

“The MMASA team has been working non-stop to secure larger sponsors, media coverage and visit the African countries for development to ensure growth on the African continent. The first Africa Open Championships gave a taster what MMA in South Africa is able to achieve and we will showcase that further this year. Every step we take in each event improves the growth locally and through the knowledge we gain and what we are able to do here in Africa.

“Our community has shown massive support leading up to this event. Community involvement will increase upon last year and I hope the international community will again support us as they did in 2016.”

In 2016 the South African hospitality drew admiration from around the world. From excellent local food to skydiving, national teams enjoyed memorable experiences and MMASA has embraced the challenge of making this an exciting new tradition.

“2017 is a new year with new expectations. we will ensure we meet those expectations. Many things are planned for the international contingent coming over and we will make sure they have a great time and experience that will last them a life time.”

For information on participation and registration click HERE.

You can read and subscribe to the IMMAF Newsletter HERE.

Africa Open




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Joe Duffy Highlights USADA Anti-Doping as a reason for UFC Return

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

Last week reported that professional MMA standout Joseph Duffy had signed a seven-fight deal to complete his UFC return.

The Irishman had initially left the promotion earlier this year to test the waters of free agency following his unanimous decision victory over Sweden’s Reza Madadi on March 18 at UFC Fight Night in London.

The 29-year-old made a guest appearance speaking on The MMA Hour this week and expressed that the strong presence of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who carry out the UFC’s anti-doping program, was among the deciding factors in his enthusiastic return to the world’s leading professional MMA organisation, turning down similar offers from other notable promoters.

“I just felt good about the UFC offer,” Duffy told host Ariel Helwani.

“There wasn’t much difference between them (contract offers), but I just feel that the UFC is the place for me right now.

“Obviously, with the USADA program (at UFC) too, that’s something that’s very important to me. That’s something I’m really for. All of these factors came into play, but I feel like the offer I got from the UFC was very good.”

USADA – who serve as the USA’s national affiliate to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) – were introduced as enforcers of the UFC’s stringent new anti-doping policy in 2015 which has saw the addition of out-of-competition testing and substantial punishments for anti-doping violations.

Speaking in 2015, Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance stated: “This is the most comprehensive, effective, best program in all of professional sport.” 

In 2015 IMMAF implemented its own anti-doping policy based on WADA Standards. In-competition testing was introduced at international Amateur MMA tournaments, first being the 2015 IMMAF World Championships. The IMMAF anti-doping rules are based on strict liability, essential for the health and safety of the sport of MMA and its participants. The move is in line with IMMAF’s sporting values, as the organisation has worked to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code. IMMAF appointed internationally renowned expert consultancy, Sporting Integrity Ltd, to advise on and develop its anti-doping policy and program.

Click HERE for IMMAF’s anti-doping policy statement.

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Colombia Aims Big for 2017 IMMAF World Championships Team

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

The Colombian Association of Mixed Martial Arts (OCAMM) is aiming for a major increase in its participation at this year’s 2017 IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA.

The recent OCAMM national championships event on July 8, in the high-altitude capital city of Bogotá, saw a first wave of athletes qualify for the 2017 IMMAF Worlds set for Manama, Bahrain, from 12 – 19 November

OCAMM was formally announced as an IMMAF member in December of 2015. The nation’s debut appearance on IMMAF’s international amateur platform took place at the Las Vegas World Championships in 2016 with three athletes nominated to represent the nation including Women’s bantamweight Claudia Barragana and Men’s bantamweight duo Bryan Munoz and Mauricio Daza.

The 2017 OCAMM Championships present a fresh opportunity for competitors and thus far a total of 8 athletes have earned themselves a place in the 2017 World Championships team:

Women’s Strawweight – Laura Milena Contreras Peña
Women’s Bantamweight – Silvia Juliana Martinez Celis
Men’s Flyweight – Diego Orozco
Men’s Bantamweight – Jose Luis Prada Lozano
Men’s Featherweight – Shalom Adonais Villegas
Men’s Lightweight – Diego Gabriel Noboa Vanegas
Welterweight – Oscar Mauricio Alvarez Díaz
Middleweight – Luis Anderson Ramirez Rincon

National teams at IMMAF Championship events are permitted to enter up to 2 athletes per weight bracket. OCAMM will confirm further team nominations following a second series of National Championship tournaments on September 9.

Read and subscribe to the IMMAF Newsletter HERE.

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