How Fading Stewardship of Polish MMA Opened the Door for Martin Lewandowski and MMA Polska Association

On June 19 the MMA Polska Association was publicly confirmed as having assumed affiliation status with IMMAF – WMMAA, replacing former IMMAF member, PLMMA, as Poland’s national regulator for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts under the unified world governing body.

After a promising start for PLMMA, who saw its national team acquire silver and bronze medals at the 2014 IMMAF World Championships, disappointed followed with a lack of understanding for medical processes implemented by IMMAF in 2015, resulting in Team Poland being the only nation disqualified from the 2015 European Open, due to complete absence of medical documents.

Concerns grew as awareness for basic member requirements continued in subsequent years.

PLMMA briefly regrouped with passionate individuals and officials joining the fold, but their attempts to bring credible structure were in vain. Without sponsor support and much needed leadership, little action was produced and communications from PLMMA dwindled to the point of silence.

The breaking point came in December of 2018 as PLMMA aligned with the Polish Federation of Kickboxing, wishing to change the organization to PZMMA (Polskie Zrzeszenie MMA). This process essentially hit the rest button on Poland’s IMMAF – WMMAA membership. Furthermore, IMMAF – WMMAA felt strongly that the size of MMA in Poland demands and deserves a stand alone national federation.

PLMMA representatives were absent from the last two IMMAF General Assemblies and the absence of communication regarding member issues, MMA sport development and actively following IMMAF-WMMAA strategy towards sports recognition, resulted in suspension.

Special measures were introduced to help support the administration for PLMMA, however, requirements were not met, instead continuing a lack of good governance and membership structure, in addition to minimal participation at international championships with solo athlete Eryk Walecki travelling alone to compete at the 2018 European Open, without coaches or national team assistance. Walecki won the junior featherweight division gold medal and was supported by coaches from Team Sweden (pictured below).

2018 Junior European Open champion Eryk Walecki alongside Team Sweden coaches Jorgen Hamberg (left) and Christer Ringblom (right).

It remained clear that Poland’s vast MMA community required firm leadership to unite all the groups. Several stakeholders approached IMMAF-WMMAA with concerns and expressed willingness to change the scenery of Polish MMA.

Interested parties approached IMMAF-WMMAA with a plan to work for government recognition with sport development and high championships participation, building a strong amateur base for the future of Polish MMA.

IMMAF-WMMAA selected to cooperate with MMA Polska and Martin Lewandowski in shared sporting values and a reliable pathway presenting Poland’s amateur athletes with the chance to medal and experience the Olympic atmosphere of IMMAF – WMMAA championships.

The MMA Polska Association was met with strong approval from the Board of IMMAF-WMMAA directors and provoked excitement among worldwide members.

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