Focus on MMA and Youth Development in Jamaica

Upon joining the IMMAF in early 2019; the MMA Jamaica Sports Federation had taken the first steps towards realising some of its key goals and ambitions.

Along with the nationwide development of the sport; including the safeguarding of participants and the promotion of MMA; the MMAJSF also have a desire to utilise the sport to help with youth social development for those in violent, inner city communities.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown (pictured, far right) recently paid a visit to the country to check in on progress and to learn of a notable new collaboration between the MMAJSF and international charity, ‘Fight For Peace’.

With a focus on areas with sparse resources, Fight for Peace uses a combination of MMA and Boxing alongside education and personal development to help young people in communities affected by crime, violence and social exclusion to realise their potential.

The IMMAF President explained, “Fight For Peace is an important cause and IMMAF fully believes that Jamaica should be concentrating its focus on youth development. This partnership is a fantastic way to do that.

“If we can help lay those sustained foundations for growing the next generation of practitioners and competitors, then we’ll be helping the MMAJSF build toward achieving some of their key goals.”

MMA Jamaica Sports Federation President Vice-President, Daniel Chacko-Wilmot (pictured, far left) said, “By using MMA lessons to assist children within violent communities in Kingston, we can teach them to cope with the stress of the harsh conditions in their communities while instilling key discipline and control.

“MMA Jamaica will continue to focus on the development of the youth in MMA, teaching MMA techniques to the inner-city youth, but we will also be establishing competitions using the rules set by the IMMAF for teenage athletes living within these communities.”

A separate ambition of the MMAJSF is to establish an MMA club within the Jamaica Military, along with a combat sports training facility at the main military camp in the country.

Kerrith Brown added, “We recognise that Jamaica needs more support for the federation to reach its objectives. The team in Jamaica are dedicated and enthusiastic despite having some limitations. We are working on getting the right infrastructure in place.

“The acquisition of an official training site would be a true milestone for MMA in the country and it would set them on their way to achieve Olympic Committee alignment along with much-needed recognition from the Ministry of Sport.”

The IMMAF will be providing support with the donation of equipment to aid in grass roots development, in addition to implementing the IMMAF development program for coaches.

The hope is that by 2028, Jamaica will be producing MMA athletes that can be added to the list of Jamaican sporting greats with the capabilities and talent to join the nation’s Olympic legacy alongside the likes of Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Chris Gayle, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Michael Holding.

Main picture: Kerrith Brown and Daniel Chacko-Wilmot alongside Fight For Peace organisers.

By Robert Horne

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