Is Aussie Prodigy Colby Thicknesse Ready To Take On The World?

Colby Thicknesse burst onto the international scene at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships and at the age of 20 was the youngest of Australia’s four gold medal winners.

The young contender worked his way to the IMMAF platform with consistent action at the national level in 2019. Three bouts within the year extend his record to five victories with just a single blemish by way of a judge’s decision, his resume boasted three rear-naked-choke submissions and a knockout win upon his amateur debut.

Thicknesse would secure the men’s featherweight gold medal with a further three triumphs, competing from 6 – 8 March at the IMMAF Oceania Open in Gold Coast, Australia. Battling on home soil, he announced himself among international counterparts beginning with 2018 Junior World bronze medalist, Ali Yaqoob. Thicknesse secured his debut win on the international platform via third round TKO and was the first opponent to stop Yaqoob who had previously lasted the distance with top contenders such as Reo Yamaguchi and Olzhas Moldagaliyev.

In the Oceania Open semi-finals Thicknesse was faced with the burden of taking on team mate Abzzy Mahdawi, who he bested via unanimous decision. Thicknesse won the men’s featherweight final with a unanimous decision win over Team England’s Dylan Thompson, age 24. Victory over the English veteran will likely serve the Australian team with valuable insight, comparing home grown up and comers with products of the UK’s busy amateur scene.

Upon turning 21 in June, Thicknesse will be headed towards the senior ranks of the 2020 IMMAF World Championships, currently slated to take place in October and hosted by Kazakhstan. At the IMMAF Worlds, he would be set to face the stiffest competition available to any elite level amateur. Top contenders of the 145lb division include a diverse lineup featuring world champion Ahmed Gazimagomedov, with Russia’s tremendous wrestling pedigree, and World silver medalist Elaman Shalkimbeko, a strong and exciting Kazakh striker. 2019’s World bronze medalists were Swedish wrestling specialist Daniyal Shamkhalov who added an impressive new dynamic to Sweden’s national team, plus Ireland’s Alexander O’Sullivan who looks set to flourish with almost 30 MMA bouts under his belt including vast experience and consistent prominence at the IMMAF level.

Australia continues to hold position as a top 10 nation in the IMMAF world team rankings. While moving forward with a keen awareness of global rivals, drawing upon nationwide prospects with development and retention of young talent such as Thicknesse could well serve Australia’s advancement in coming years.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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IMMAF congratulates its first CARICOM coaches for their attainment of level 1 certification in MMA coaching.

Recently elected MMA Jamaica Sports Federation President, Matthew Colquhoun, along with experienced martial artists and mixed martial artists, Lawrence Kareem, Simpson Osanie (Fight For Peace) and Osanie Miller, were awarded their IMMAF licenses in the past week.

MMAJSF President Matthew Colquhoun

Colquhoun, who is three- time Pan American gold medallist in Combat Sambo and a renowned wrestler, commented:

“As the new President of the MMA Jamaica Sports Federation I look to bringing the vibrant energy of youth into the development of the sport of MMA in my country. Getting this certification is the first step.  I look forward to completing the other levels and encouraging all members and athletes to get certified as well. I truly appreciate the work of the IMMAF team in uniting stakeholders in the Caribbean region, as well as around the world. I look forward to continuing this great work together.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“I’m proud of our coaches’ hunger to learn and to continue to develop the sport during this period, despite the crippling impact of the pandemic on gyms worldwide. This attainment of the IMMAF Coaching qualification by Jamaican coaches puts a stake in the ground regionally, and I hope to see our other Caribbean nations follow raising the quality of MMA coaching and athlete development there.”

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IMMAF announces Anti-doping Athletes’ Rights Act https://immaf.org/2021/01/15/immaf-announces-anti-doping-athletes-rights-act/ Fri, 15 Jan 2021 16:15:20 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40892

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Pictured: IMMAF Athlete’s Committee Chairman, Irman Smajic

An Anti-doping Athletes Rights Act has been approved by the Executive Board of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation as recommended by IMMAF’s Athletes’ and Anti-doping Commissions.

The purpose of the act is to ensure that athlete rights within Anti-Doping are clearly set out, accessible and universally applicable.

While IMMAF’s Anti-Doping Policy has been created for the protection of the athletes’ fundamental right to participate in doping-free sport for reasons of health and fair-play, it is also imperative that athletes’ rights are clearly stated, that athletes are aware of those rights and can exercise them.

The Act, which adheres to the World Anti-doping Code is made up of two parts: Part one sets out the rights outlined in the IMMAF Anti- Doping Policy, while part two sets out recommended athletes’ rights in practice. Medical Treatment and Protection of Health Rights, Right to Justice, Right to Education, Right to Data Protection and Whistle-blower Rights are among the rights included in the act.

IMMAF Athletes’ Commission Chairman and veteran world gold medallist, Irman Smajic, commented:

“The athletes, their safety and rights are among our main priorities at IMMAF and the new IMMAF Athletes’ Act is a testament to that.”

IMMAF’s Anti-doping Consultant and Anti-Doping Commission Chairwoman, Michele Verroken, said:

“IMMAF Athletes are fully engaged with clean and fair MMA. I am delighted to see that they have reviewed the Athlete Act, adding to the document important responsibilities for IMMAF coaches and officials to incorporate into practice, helping us promote the health and safety of the sport. With the introduction of the 2021 WADA Code, IMMAF has revised its policies and procedures to comply fully with its obligations. We have always prioritised education and health, and we consider the new Code as the opportunity to re-double our efforts to engage with national federations to support the delivery of CLEAN and FAIR MMA. Our athletes know how important this is to ensure the sport continues to attract a diverse population.  Having adaptations to our Anti-Doping policies for young people, for women and for minority groups, we want MMA to be accessible to all and for clarity of its anti-doping message, in the spirit of true sport.

See IMMAF Anti-doping Athletes Rights Act here.

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African nations continue education boom for MMA coaches https://immaf.org/2021/01/15/african-nations-continue-education-boom-for-mma-coaches/ Fri, 15 Jan 2021 10:51:54 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40884

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The African nations of IMMAF sparked a boom in education for newly licensed MMA coaches in recent years and the momentum was not halted the 2020 global pandemic.

IMMAF and its members have now enjoyed exceptional programs in South Africa, Algeria, Mauritius, Zambia and Cameroon, with new studies opened up in Nigeria, Tunisia and Egypt with further nations including Ghana, Namibia and other regions joining the waiting list.

From 2019 to 2020 IMMAF held 4 coach education and certification programs, hosted by South Africa and Algeria, for all registered coaches of IMMAF member nations within the continent. Since March of 2020 the education process entered distance learning mode with online theory lessons, to be followed with practical assessment of coaching skill once travel and contact restrictions are lifted.

“IMMAF adopted immediately to the pandemic’s effect by restructuring the coaching course from the classroom set up to online education,” Dr Andrew Moshanov, Development Director, explained. “We turned to ZOOM online seminars to explain and share specific topics to coaches requiring more information to sharpen their tools. The national federations have arranged a number of seminars with Cameroon leading by example and South Africa reaching the highest number of certified coaches.”

Establishing a digital connection with the sport of MMA has been an important step. The IMMAF grading APP is the most required tool in MMA development pathways. The digital record of progression encourages athletes and coaches, recognises their hard work and highlights skill development. With such developments, MMA is not only moving fast in popularity, but is now equipped to cover and track all required fields to keep sport safe and moving to higher levels of growth that can be recorded.

Dr Moshanov added, “Governments of Africa are reacting swiftly to new MMA development coming on their doorsteps and are working together with their national organisations in the first steps to giving the support they really need. The landscape of MMA as a well-developed sport in Africa will surprise us all in the months to come. IMMAF’s message to athletes, coaches and groups working on developing the sport of MMA is that IMMAF has the resources you need, and they are available to all.”

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Hong Kong coaches are IMMAF certified through experimental online examination https://immaf.org/2021/01/14/hong-kong-coaches-are-immaf-certified-through-experimental-online-examination/ Thu, 14 Jan 2021 10:55:10 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40877

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(Andrew Chan, President of Hong Kong MMA Federation shares his experience of working in the current circumstances)

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of activities to a halt, but it couldn’t stop us from moving forward towards our goal. Back in June 2020, the Hong Kong Federation put forward a proposal to certify its coaches through an online examination.  Leading the initiative were head coach Alberto Mina, an ex-UFC professional, and Jon Bond of Club “Hybrid”.  The two candidates participated in a two-month program designed by Alberto according to the IMMAF Syllabus.  With the aid of the “Teach Me” videos in the IMMAF Mobile App, the candidates were able to gage the standard which IMMAF expects of its certified coaches.  

The examination was carried out online through multiple sessions in which the coaches were tested on their teaching delivery of the moves, theory and methodology, and most importantly, their understanding of the psychological aspect of teaching martial arts. Cameras and audio-speakers were setup to enable Andrew Moshanov, the IMMAF Director of Development, to observe, instruct, and educate the candidates throughout the examination.  

The newly certified coaches are Andy Tang and Donald Tong. Andy is a professional MMA athlete under “JUST MMA” with a Brown Belt in BJJ . Donald is an experienced MMA coach at the “Sensory Fight Club” and is passionate about teaching kids and young adults.

Hong Kong Federation President Andrew Chan commented:

 “We put this plan together with the aim of encouraging other federations to continue in our mutual mission of promoting MMA, even during this difficult time.  We thank IMMAF for supporting this initiative and will continue to find ways for our members to develop in and enjoy the sport.”

IMMAF Director of Development, Andrew Moshanov, commented: 

“It was a great experience and the IMMAF Coaching Committee is fully supportive of this pilot and its evolution. We are entering a new era, in which we will have to rethink our approaches to coach education and training, using the power of IT technologies. While sports training methodology remains the cornerstone of the athletes’ progress, we are reviewing and reformatting traditional modes of assessment and will continue to experiment with forms that can be implemented through remote engagement and maintain interaction with coaches and athletes around the world.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“In the COVID era, it is vital to sport – particularly at the grassroots – that it is innovative. Digital platforms create new opportunities for sports federations to continue delivering to participants world over, continuing to promote the health and social benefits of sport and moreover inclusive sports practice for all.”

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IMMAF Calls Extraordinary General Assembly https://immaf.org/2021/01/14/immaf-calls-extraordinary-general-assembly/ Thu, 14 Jan 2021 10:50:13 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40875

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The IMMAF Board of Directors has called an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Presidents of IMMAF National Federations, which is to be held online on Saturday 13 February 2021 at 15.00 hrs. (London GMT), with the following agenda and proposals for decisions:

  • To approve the amendments to the IMMAF statutes.
  • To approve the appointment of Swiss auditors.

In response to the recommendations of a recent independent, good governance audit, IMMAF is seeking to amend its Statutes to include: 

  • the requirement for Annual General Meetings.
  • staggered, four-year terms for a maximum of two terms for Board Directors.
  • athlete representation on the Board
  • a target for 30% female representation on the Board
  • to reflect IMMAF as a Swiss entity

In 2020, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation relocated as a company to Switzerland, the home of the Olympic movement, rendering the need for the appointment of Swiss auditors.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“In IMMAF’s ongoing bid for improvement, we are requesting the approval of members to changes in the IMMAF Statutes to meet best practice in good governance. The changes will also serve to strengthen IMMAF’s robustness as an organisation. Likewise, IMMAF’s move to Switzerland is set to benefit IMMAF as an organization, opening new opportunities for its development, growth and promotion. We look forward to the support of IMMAF’s membership in implementing necessary process to finalise our relocation.”

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IMMAF launches young MMA Journalists competition https://immaf.org/2021/01/13/immaf-launches-young-mma-journalists-competition/ Wed, 13 Jan 2021 06:23:27 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40872

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is pleased to announce its first annual Young MMA Journalists Competition.

Two winners will be awarded the opportunity to report on the 2021 IMMAF World Championships in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan in November /December 2021 (TBA), under the training and mentorshipof a senior journalist with decades of experience in covering elite, international sport. Travel, accommodation and routine daily costs will be covered by the IMMAF.

The winners’ written and audio-visual work about the action and news around the championships will be published on official IMMAF platforms.The journalists will receive training, remotely in advance of the event as well as onsite, also with guidance from IMMAF’s communications team. 

The purpose of the competition is to help develop MMA journalists of the future. The project hopes to attract young people from around the world and reflect diversity in both gender and background.

Award-winning Olympic journalist, former Associated Press editor and mentor for the IOC Young Reporters’ Programme, Steve Wilson, commented on behalf of IMMAF’s Marketing and Communications Commission:

“The IMMAF Young Reporters programme reflects the global, youth-oriented focus of the IMMAF and its commitment to developing the MMA journalists of the future. The programme represents the chance of a lifetime for two young journalists to receive professional training and report on the sport’s biggest event. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”    

HOW WILL THE REPORTERS BE CHOSEN?

This opportunity is open to any young person worldwide who is not a professional journalist and is 26 or under. 

To enter, provide the following to Isobel.carwath@immaf.org by the following date: 

  1. CV – A one-page curriculum vitae or resume detailing your education and any work experience in reporting sport and/or in operating cameras and editing material for audio-visual material.
  2. SUMMARY – A 250-word summary in English saying why you want to be part of the project and what you hope to do in your future career. 
  3. EXAMPLE OF WORK – A 400-word written story in English OR a selection of edited audio-visual interviews or reports (maximum duration 3 minutes) which you have carried out in reporting MMA or any other sport or live news events.
  4. PUBLISHED WORK – Links or pdfs of any published works, if applicable
  5. SOCIAL MEDIA – Links to any key posts on your social channels that you feel would support your submission / illustrate your portfolio / style

The audio-visual interviews can be conducted in another language. The subject matter does not have to be MMA, but the material must have been filmed and edited by the candidate.

The event must be something you have covered in person. It cannot be an event watched on TV, but it could also be any type of interview you have carried out. Any level of MMA or sport can be covered – from school or youth to professional level.

The standard of English for the written work does not need to be perfect but must reflect your ability without significant help from anybody else. 

DEADLINE

The competition opens today, 13 January 2021 and closes at midnight GMT on 31 March 2021.

Submissions will be judged by a panel of experienced journalists and media professionals from around the world.  Successful candidates will be informed of the results by the end of June 2021.

JUDGING CRITERIA

Entrants will be judged based on the quality of the submissions, their enthusiasm and long-term promise and potential.

ENQUIRIES

For enquiries contact Isobel.carnwath@immaf.org

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OFFICIAL RULES (TERMS & CONDITIONS)

By submitting your entry, you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms below (“Rules”).

1. The IMMAF Young Journalists Competition is open to any young person worldwide who is not a professional journalist and is 26 or under.

2. All decisions of the IMMAF Competition organisers and judges are final. After entrants have submitted their work the Competition’s organisers and judges will not enter into any correspondence with entrants on the subject of entries and Awards.

3. All entrants must be persons who are 18 years of age or older on or before 31 March 2021.

4. No entry fee is payable.

5. Applicants must submit all written work in English Language. Applicants can submit video entries in any language but is advisable to include subtitles or submit with an English translation since English is the official language of IMMAF and the common language in which judges’ assessments will be held. 

7. Applicants are strictly limited to a maximum of one entry. 

8. Videos should be submitted in MP4 format.

9. Entries should be made in accordance with the instructions given in the entry criteria and must be submitted on, or before, 12 pm UTC on March 31, 2021. Entries arriving after this date will not be accepted.

10. It is the responsibility of the entrant to provide complete and accurate information. The IMMAF Awards’ organisers will not be liable for errors or omissions in the entry material.

11. Entries and information contained within any entry (including supporting documents) must have been obtained legally, must not infringe any copyright or other intellectual property rights, must not be defamatory or breach any privacy law, and must not breach any other law or regulation.

15. If an entrant is found to have breached these Rules or acts in any way that brings or would be likely to bring the reputation of the IMMAF into disrepute, the Competition’s organisers reserve the right to disqualify an entrant or to remove or withdraw an Award.

17. The entrant grants the IMMAF unrestricted, unfettered and irrevocable non-exclusive rights in all works submitted for entry into the Competition (or where such rights are owned by a third party, the entrant shall procure that such third party grants such rights) for the IMMAF to use such works only in conjunction with objectives of the Competition including for the purposes of promoting the Competition, presenting the nominations, having the panel of judges determine the winners and making the finalist and winners entries available to the public. 

18. Finalists selected by the Jury will be invited to participate in the mentorship programme. The IMMAF shall pay for all flights, and arrange transportation, accommodation and certain scheduled meals/ expenses and will provide visa assistance for the entrant (“Travel Arrangements”). Arrangements will be confirmed with the selected entrant closer to the travel date on the basis of one adult, return flights and hotel accommodation. Travel Arrangements are not transferable, exchangeable nor redeemable for cash.

19. The IMMAF will not be held liable for cancellation or postponement of the Championships event. Where cancellation occurs, IMMAF will offer the mentorship award at a subsequent IMMAF Championships.

20. The IMMAF shall not be liable in any way for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered (including, without limitation, indirect or consequential loss) or for any loss or damage or personal injury suffered or sustained in connection with the Competition except any liability that cannot be excluded by law. All entrants indemnify IMMAF Competition organisers, IMMAF and their related parties against any loss or damage (either direct, indirect, consequential or otherwise) arising from the entrant’s participation in the Competition.

21. Participation in the IMMAF Young Journalists Competition is not open to IMMAF staff, members of the Jury and IMMAF Committee members.

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Engaging women and girls in MMA https://immaf.org/2021/01/11/engaging-women-and-girls-in-mma/ Mon, 11 Jan 2021 09:36:23 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40866

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The IMMAF has completed a progressive new awareness guide: Engaging Women and Girls in MMA. The document serves as informative insight for national MMA federations and regional women’s commissions seeking direction on grass roots issues of engaging women and girls; how MMA can provide a welcoming setting and consider existing barriers that women encounter towards sport participation.

Produced by IMMAF Development Consultant – Jorden Curran, in conjunction with the IMMAF Women’s Commission and with forewords from Women’s Commission Chair – Hayzia Bellem and IMMAF CEO – Densign White, the campaign highlights areas of awareness towards sport participation issues faced by women, identifying social and personal barriers, implications and practise towards engaging women and girls at the grass roots level of mixed martial arts, with a view to improving recreational and entry level opportunity that demonstrates a new start with MMA to be a welcoming, fun and fulfilling pastime for all individuals, that in turn will contribute to the progression of more coaches and elite level practitioners for future generations.   

“I think this looks really helpful and is a great insight,” IMMAF world champion Michelle Montague commented. Representing the New Zealand national team, Montague is a fast-rising star of amateur MMA and is undefeated as a two-time Oceania Open champion and 2019 World Championships gold medallist in the lightweight division.

Montague adds, “In particular, from my position in the sport I agree that women’s-only classes should be available and that our qualified women should be coaching both men and women groups too – not just one gender. I can see huge growth potential here in New Zealand and I’m sure it can be the same around the world for women in MMA. We have so many role models and high-level combat athletes to work with while also reaching out to newcomers and recreational participants, to show that you can get involved and enjoy yourself. I’m super excited for this!”

To access the PDF on Engaging Women and Girls in MMA, click the download link HERE.

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Kosovo NOC welcomes MMA into Olympic family https://immaf.org/2021/01/05/kosovo-noc-welcomes-mma-into-olympic-family/ Tue, 05 Jan 2021 15:20:56 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40844

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On December 27 the Kosovo Olympic Committee (KOC) announced the completion of its Annual Working General Assembly after postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

With the Assembly also being observed by representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Acting Secretary General, Iber Alaj, and Acting Director of the Department of Sports, Fitim Arifi, the Kosovo MMA Federation – representing the sport of mixed martial arts – was on the agenda alongside other sports subsequently accepted via a committee vote to receive full membership within the KOC.  

President of the Kosovo MMA Federation, Besart Berisha (pictured below), himself a former amateur MMA competitor, thanked the KOC via social media, he stated: “Thankyou Kosovo Olympic Committee, thank you to all the sports federation in Kosovo for accepting Kosovo’s Federation of Mixed Martial Arts into the big Olympic family. We will work hard and make you and all of Kosovo proud.”

Speaking with IMMAF.org, he added: “We are honored, now we are fully accepted with full rights. The Ministry has been looking to let us wait but we are a strong federation with young, disciplined people who are very motivated. It is a privilege for this to have been acknowledged by the KOC and in the new year we are pushing forward for recognition under the Ministry also. We look forward to working together for the great progress of MMA and all sport in Kosovo.”

Kosovo now adds to the substantial list of over 40 IMMAF member nations recognised by their national government and/or Olympic Committee. Other IMMAF members with recognition under their Olympic Committee include Bahrain, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Finland, Norway Moldova, South Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq.    

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IMMAF CEO’s end of year message to members https://immaf.org/2020/12/31/immaf-ceos-end-of-year-message-to-members/ Thu, 31 Dec 2020 10:22:09 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40836

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Firstly, I would like to thank IMMAF’s membership for its impressive work in a year which has been extraordinarily difficult and challenging for many. At IMMAF, we’re proud of the determination you have shown, your will power and resourcefulness in keeping your national members engaged, active and focused. The national federations form the backbone of IMMAF and without your support and belief in the strategic direction and projects of the international federation, our work would be much more difficult.

Many of our federations have continued to establish important relationships at a national level with their governments and Olympic committees, who have in turn given their support to IMMAF in our plight for international recognition within the Olympic family. We are optimistic that there will be positive developments in the coming months.

We look forward, too, to being reunited with you all in the new year, with a full calendar of events planned for the latter half of 2021 and preparations already underway. It will be challenging to execute, in the current climate, but we have every confidence in our power to achieve all our goals when the whole MMA community is moving in the same direction.

We can also look forward to meeting you all virtually, before then, as we will be calling an Extraordinary General Meeting in early 2021 regarding proposed changes to the statutes, with respect to raising the standards for good governance within IMMAF.  Members can expect to receive a formal notification about this meeting before the year ends.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you, our members, again for your sterling work and congratulate those of you recognised in the 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards.  Thank you also to all who participated in and supported our Technical Seminar Week. Finally, I would like to wish all our members a Merry Christmas and a happy, successful and safe New Year.

Densign White
IMMAF CEO

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IMMAF President’s year in review https://immaf.org/2020/12/24/immaf-presidents-year-in-review/ Thu, 24 Dec 2020 13:05:16 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40833

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2020 launched with a trailblazing moment for MMA, as the sport finally secured a long-fought-for breakthrough in France with legalisation and official recognition under the French Boxing Federation (FFB). 

March saw Australia’s Gold Coast give host to the 2020 Oceania Open Championships with the continental live streamed for the first time on IMMAF TV. Not only did the tournament showcase a significant rise in the technical level of the athletes, with the participation of world gold medallists, but also showed a boost in female participation due to dedicated support funding from IMMAF. Regional female standouts included New Zealand’s Michelle Montague, who earned Best Performance of the Year for her final against Jenni Kivioja of Finland, and breakthrough Aussie talent, Olivia Ukmar, who earned her first IMMAF gold.

The remainder of our 2020 Championships calendar hit the rocks in April, with the global onset of the pandemic forcing complete cancellation. The IMMAF team maximised the time opportunity to turn its attention to other areas:

In April, IMMAF launched a new website as part of its brand refresh and digital makeover. We upped our communications with the retention of a Social Media Manager, hire of a webmaster and investment in professional photographers and content creators.

That month we also initiated the MMA is A Sport petition, as part of our campaign for sport recognition, garnering over 20,000 signatures across change.org and private petition pages plus some significant news coverage. The petition re-sparked communications with GAISF, at which point we tapered off the campaign to facilitate negotiations.

IMMAF also worked to improve its governance and organisational structures: A 360 independent review was carried out to measure our performance against flagship international standards in good governance, with the report recommendations being implemented now. In 2021, IMMAF will undergo a further external audit by the Sport Integrity Global Alliance, as an Early Adopter of the SIGA Standards, with the goal of attaining the SIGA Bronze Standard in good governance.

2020 was also the year in which IMMAF moved its company registration from Sweden to Switzerland, the hub of international sport and home to the Olympic dream.

Our committees and commissions underwent an overhaul and an expansion, and now total 16 in number to include a dynamic new Women’s Commission and a Peace through MMA Commission, focused on youth-centred, social development projects.

IMMAF continued to increase its membership to 120 nations, of which almost 50 are formally recognised by their National Olympic Committee or National Sports Authority. New members welcomed to our family include federations in Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Guatemala, Kosovo, Slovenia, Netherlands, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Israel, Mongolia, Cayman Islands and Saint Martin.

In other areas IMMAF developed its Anti-doping Policy Framework to include an Anti-doping Education Plan and an Athletes Act, to be formally announced shortly, and partnered with the WADA ADeL e-learning platform. The IMMAF progression pathway, coaching and certification systems continued to evolve, extending down to programmes for 4 – 11 year olds, and coaches’ education moved online. We also notably brought to market the first certified IMMAF Fighting Area (MMA Ring), in response to demand from our National Federations.

IMMAF hosted two further events in 2020 as IMMAF Technical Seminar Week and the IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards moved online. The digital platforming facilitated the highest engagement we have had yet in either event, providing us with a new option to consider for the hosting of like events post-pandemic.

Not least, I would also like to commend the work of the IMMAF CEO, Densign White this year: The head of the IMMAF administration was listed for the Queen of England’s Birthday Honours in the form of an MBE, was nominated for Leading Man in the Fighters Only Awards and was invited to join SIGA’s Task Force on Equality and Diversity in Sport.

All this work contributes to the realisation of IMMAF’s ultimate vision of Olympic recognition: I can proudly say that on account of our work and that of our national federations we are well worthy of that accolade. Unfortunately, underhand politics continued to shape decision-making at GAISF and we were disappointed in June again when GAISF rejected IMMAF’s application for a second time. Meanwhile, having postponed our legal case against WADA to allow them time to review and change their statutes (hopefully in our favour), the case now resumes with a hearing date set for January 2021.

Our journey, and that of many of you, has been difficult this year, but as described, we have been afforded time for strategising, creative advancement and self-improvement. We have not slacked in our endeavour to meet the highest integrity standards, in line with the values of our sport. If we keep up the momentum, I have no doubt that we can obtain our Olympic dream within the decade. Central to this vision is youth progression, which will be core to IMMAF’s sport development in 2021. We will also be focusing on building our consumer reach and commercial opportunities. We should feel confident in the strong platform we have established and enhanced this year to head into 2021 ready to drive forward with a full calendar of events to greater media attention than ever before.

I would like to close by thanking WMMAA founder Vadim Finkelchtein and IMMAF founders August Wallen and George Sallfeldt for their unending commitment to our unified vision. I am grateful to the Presidents and Members of our National Federations for their unwavering support and ongoing belief, especially in the face of hardship wrought by COVID-19.  I thank the board, the CEO, IMMAF staff and volunteers for their dedicated work and loyalty. I am personally grateful for the support given by Lawrence Epstein, Denitza Batchvarova and Dave Shaw at UFC and well as Jahangir Riaz at Green Hill. And lastly I would like to thank our longstanding commercial partners UFC, Green Hill, Safejawz, Sportradar, MyNextMatch, Abingdon Advisory and new partner, Global Sports Technology, and our integrity partners, Safe MMA, Peace and Sport, WADA ADeL and the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA).

I wish each and every one of you a safe and peaceful winter holiday period and every success for 2021.

Yours in Sport,

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown

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IMMAF President visits Tajikistan, attends National Championships & meets with Nation’s Leaders https://immaf.org/2020/12/23/immaf-president-visits-tajikistan-attends-national-championships-meets-with-nations-leaders/ Wed, 23 Dec 2020 09:47:36 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40816

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IMMAF president, Kerrith Brown, was an honored guest of the Tajikistan Mixed Martial Arts Federation (TAJMMAF) as the domestic governing body staged its annual Amateur MMA Republican Championships for junior and senior athletes on 12-13 December in Dushanbe city, the event also served as national team qualifying for the 2021 IMMAF World Championships. 

The TAJMMAF is a standout member of IMMAF affiliate nations for proactivity of sport development and government relations. The National Championship featured the participation of 160 athletes but without spectators due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

“TAJMMAF met its expectations from the talented competitors who contested with great enthusiasm, inspiration, and respect for each other, and strived to show their best skills to become a champion,” the national body commented.

Furthermore, the visit provided opportunity to organize meetings with the stakeholders of the MMA in Tajikistan. The IMMAF President met with the Vice-Minister of the Sports and Youth of the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr. Dilshod Nazarov, alongside TAJMMAF President, Mr. Davron Juraev, discussing the continued development and promising future of MMA, underpinned by the importance of technical progress for youth participation.

Together with the Vice-Minister of Sports of Tajikistan, the IMMAF President visited the new Sport Complex in Dushanbe city, which is one of the largest in the Central Asian Region. 

Meetings were also held with the General Secretary of the National Olympic Committee of Tajikistan, Mr. Erkin Latipov. It agreed that Amateur MMA needs the recognition of authorities as an Olympic sport. Mr. Latipov noted that he maintains close cooperation with the TAJMMAF in developing Amateur MMA in Tajikistan.

After the completion of the Championships, Mr. Brown and Mr. Juraev were interviewed in National Sport Television – “TV Varzish” and highlighted the differences between professional MMA and Amateur MMA, the reasons why Amateur MMA should be recognized as an Olympic sport, and the results of the Republican Championship. 

By promoting the healthy goals of the IMMAF and its members for the favor of athletes and positive perceptions of Amateur MMA, the TAJMMAF took another step forward among its national authorities for the development of Amateur MMA in the Republic of Tajikistan.

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Plethora of Amateur Veterans Shine as Pros in 2020 https://immaf.org/2020/12/21/plethora-of-amateur-veterans-shine-as-pros-in-2020/ Mon, 21 Dec 2020 11:29:34 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40810

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In 2020 the global pandemic sparked a turbulent year for Mixed Martial Arts, forcing cancelations of the sport’s marquee showcases, worldwide. Following the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships in Australia, the vast global projects that comprise amateur MMA’s elite competition platform faced cancellation of the remaining IMMAF 2020 competition circuit.   

This year’s Oceania Open was the event’s most compelling instalment to date, taking place in Gold Coast with national teams of Australia and New Zealand joined by international rivals such as Bahrain, England, Sweden, Ireland, Finland and French Polynesia. The sizeable Aussie national team saw the host nation top the medal table with exciting prospects such as Colby Thicknesse who earned gold in the men’s featherweight tournament. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s world champion, Michelle Montague, continued her undefeated dominance with victory in the lightweight tournament final and against her toughest opponent to date, Jenni Kivioja, Finland’s perennial medal contender who stepped up from featherweight to take on the 155lb world champion. World champions Murtaza Talha Ali (light-heavyweight) and Ramazan Gitinov (welterweight) cruised to gold medal triumphs in addition to the Swedish duo of Bezhan Mahmudi (atomweight) and Bianca Antman (women’s flyweight) who also claimed titles while Poland’s promising young up-and-comer, Magdalena Czaban, claimed the atomweight silver medal. 

The championship’s heavyweight title was snatched up by Ireland’s Ryan Spillane, the 2018 IMMAF world champion, who went on to announce his signing with Bellator MMA. Furthermore, the Oceania Open provided final feathers in the caps of Sweden’s Bianca Antman, Bahrain’s Murtaza Ali, and England’s world renown prodigy Muhammad Mokaev, with the trio progressing to make their professional MMA debuts with stunning performances under the banner of Brave. 

Through some of the world’s leading professional MMA organisations, reducing the scale of operations and implementing cutting-edge health processes with innovations such as the UFC’s “Fight Island”, the sport bounced back to resume providing athletes with the opportunity to compete and continued to serve fans with a wealth of the most in-demand contests, from the UFC’s Petr Yan, a product of the Russian MMA Union’s regional amateur circuit, who reached the pinnacle of pro MMA in July as he stormed his way to the UFC bantamweight world title, to Muhammad Mokaev, the world’s most talked about young prospect who accelerated his way to 4-0 in as many months from August to November. 

More of the year’s top professional standouts from IMMAF roots, plus veterans of the WMMAA platform (pre merge), include former Russian national amateur medallist turned Bellator world champion, Vadim Nemkov, former IMMAF world champion turned UFC star, Amanda Ribas, and Manon Fiorot, France’s former IMMAF championships gold medallist who claimed pro titles under EFC and UAE Warriors in 2020 to emerge as one of the sport’s most dominant new faces.

Scroll down to recap some more alumni who featured under some of the world’s most prominent MMA organisations in 2020, who advanced as experienced veterans of the premier amateur platform:

UFC
BRAZIL – Amanda Ribas
ITALY – Alessio Di Chirico
RUSSIA – Said Nurmagomedov
RUSSIA – Alexey Kunchenko
RUSSIA – Magomed Ankalaev
RUSSIA – Roman Bogatov
RUSSIA – Petr Yan
KAZAKHSTAN – Shavkat Rakhmonov
KAZAKHSTAN – Mariya Agapova
USA – Brendan Allen
WALES – Jack Shore

BRAVE
BELGIUM – Issa Isakov
USA – Jose Torres
SWEDEN – Bianca Antman
SWEDEN – Anton Turkalj
SWEDEN – Irman Smajic
SWEDEN – Jonny Touma
SWEDEN – Elin Oberg
SWEDEN – Tobias Harila
SWEDEN – Andreas Berg Gustafsson
RUSSIA – Murtaza Talha Ali
RUSSIA – Abdulmanap Magomedov
RUSSIA – Magomed Idrisov
WALES – Aiden James
IRELAND – Cian Cowley
ENGLAND – PK Zadeh
ENGLAND – Muhammad Mokaev
ENGLAND – Shoaib Yousaf
LUXEMBOURG – Yann Liasse
PAKISTAN – Abbas khan
ROMANIA – Ion Grigo
SOUTH AFRICA – Nkosi Ndebele

CAGE WARRIORS
ITALY – Dario Bellandi
ITALY – Michele Martignoni
ENGLAND – Christian Leroy Duncan
ENGLAND – Adam Amarasinghe
ENGLAND – Jake Bond
IRELAND – Jack Maguire
NORTHERN IRELAND – Ciaran Mulholland

BELLATOR
BULGARIA – Alexandra Toncheva
ITALY – Michele Martignoni
IRELAND – James Gallagher
IRELAND – Sinead Kavanagh
IRELAND – Danni Neilan
IRELAND – Frans Mlambo
IRELAND – Ciaran Clarke
IRELAND – Kiefer Crosbie
IRELAND – Ryan Spillane (signed)
IRELAND – Sam Slater
NORTHERN IRELAND – Leah McCourt
FRANCE – Lucie Bertaud
FRANCE – Asael Adjoudj
NEW ZEALAND – Jay-Jay Wilson
ENGLAND – Akonne Wanliss
RUSSIA – Valentin Moldavsky
RUSSIA – Vadim Nemkov
RUSSIA – Magomed Magomedov

UAE WARRIORS
FRANCE – Manon Fiorot
SWEDEN – Cornelia Holm

ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
RUSSIA – Murad Ramazanov
RUSSIA – Raimond Magomedaliev

EFC
RUSSIA – Gadzhi Rabadanov

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IMMAF board approves changes to statutes & welcomes four new member federations https://immaf.org/2020/12/18/immaf-board-approves-changes-to-statutes-welcomes-four-new-member-federations/ Fri, 18 Dec 2020 14:52:29 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40808

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During a virtual meeting on Wednesday, the Board of Directors of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) approved changes to the IMMAF Statutes which will now be presented to IMMAF National Federations for approval at an Extraordinary General Assembly in February 2021.

The IMMAF Directors also approved new IMMAF Anti-doping Compliance documents as part of its efforts to gain official recognition from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The Compliance documents includes an Anti-doping Policy Framework which, as well as IMMAF anti-doping rules, includes an Anti-doping Education Plan, a Risk Assessment, and an Athletes Act.

In addition, the IMMAF Board approved the creation of a new Integrity Section of the IMMAF Website where all Integrity related documents and policies will be posted in Q1 2021.

The Board accepted, with either individual and observation status, new IMMAF Members from Israel, Mongolia, Cayman Islands and Saint Martin.

The IMMAF Board also approved the introduction of a mandatory grading system for youth athletes, as recognition of the importance to maintain rigorous safety and technical standards for competitors in younger age groups.

Finally, the IMMAF Board was informed of the continuation of the partnership agreement with the UFC into 2021.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “The announcement of the new partnership with UFC is much appreciated and an indication of their trust in and support of IMMAF. Despite the severe challenges posed by the Pandemic, which led to the cancellation of all but one of our planned events, I am proud to say that the IMMAF team has continued to work hard, and in a determined fashion, building structures and policies that will help us in our on-going quest to secure sport recognition.”

Densign White, IMMAF CEO said: “We had a very productive meeting, and the Board are fully supportive of our efforts to develop the sport and our organisation, as have been laid out in the new IMMAF Strategic Plan. With the 2021 Event Calendar now approved, we are excited to be able to return to play in the New Year, from a very solid governance platform.”

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IMMAF announces provisional Championships schedule for 2021 https://immaf.org/2020/12/17/immaf-announces-provisional-championships-schedule-for-2021/ Thu, 17 Dec 2020 09:54:40 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40802

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has announced its provisional Championships schedule for 2021, dependent on the global landscape with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and with some details yet to be finalised. 

The first event of the year is set to be the Asian Open Championships in Kazakhstan from the 27 June to 4 July with a total of 7 events planned for the second half of the year. IMMAF will additionally be returning to Bahrain in January 2022 for its rescheduled, inaugural World Teams Championships.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“We are determined to reinvigorate international amateur MMA competition in 2021 by returning with a full calendar and providing opportunities to IMMAF athletes across all continents. We understand that national federations and teams need time to prepare, and moreover the return of competition to look forward to, and so as the year draws to a close, we are pleased to share positive news of events to get excited about for 2021. The Events Team is working hard to finalise outstanding details.”

IMMAF 2021 WORKING CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE

Asia Open Senior & Junior Championships
Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan
June 27 – July 4, 2021

Pan America Open Championships (Seniors)
TBC, Mexico 
July 2021

Youth World Championships
TBC, Turkey
July / August 2021

European Open Senior & Junior Championships
St Petersburg, Russia
August 2021

Africa Open Senior & Junior Championships
Johannesburg, South Africa
September 1 – 4, 2021

Oceania Open Senior & Junior Championships
TBC, New Zealand 
September 2021

World Senior & Junior Championships
Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan
November 27 – December 5, 2021

World Team Championships
Manama, Bahrain
January 2022

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2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Award winners revealed https://immaf.org/2020/12/11/2020-immaf-amateur-mma-award-winners-revealed/ Fri, 11 Dec 2020 18:39:04 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40788

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Main image: Michelle Montague, winner of Best Performance and Best Female Athlete awards

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) announced the winners of its 2020 Amateur MMA Awards at a black-tie ceremony that took place online today, Friday 11 December. 

The purpose of the IMMAF Awards was to celebrate the achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

In his closing speech from Tajikistan, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown congratulated the nominees and winners; and thanked the National Federations and Presidents, members, volunteers, athletes, staff and the Board for rising above the challenges of “a remarkably difficult year.”

“Thank you for your solidarity this year and for coming together to celebrate your achievements with us at the 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards. We are ready to come back stronger in 2021 at every level, more transparent, better structured and excelling in all areas of sport development and governance, in every corner of the globe. We will continue to strive for sport recognition to build on our collective work of the last seven years.”

See below for the complete list of Award winners for each category.

WINNERS OF THE 2020 IMMAF AMATEUR MMA AWARDS

  • Best Female Athlete: Michele Montague (New Zealand)
  • Best Male Athlete: Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan)
  • Best Junior Athlete of the Year: Muhammad Mokaev (England)
  • Best Performance: Michele Montague (New Zealand)
  • Most Proactive National Federation: MMA India Federation
  • Host Federation of the Year: Bahrain MMA Federation
  • Social Impact Award: Estonian MMA Federation
  • Best on Social Media Award 2020: FAMMEJL (Mexico) & National League of Mixed Martial Arts Cameroon
  • Best IMMAF Educator Award: OCAMM (Colombia)
  • Best IMMAF Mobile Application User: MMA Cymru (Wales)
  • Best National Federation for MMA CoachingMixed Martial Arts South Africa 
  • IMMAF Anti-doping Award: Mexico FAMMEJL (Mexico)
Best Male – Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan)
Best Junior – Muhammad Mokaev (England)

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IMMAF counts down to 2020 Amateur MMA Awards https://immaf.org/2020/12/10/immaf-counts-down-to-2020-amateur-mma-awards/ Thu, 10 Dec 2020 15:54:38 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40784

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FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, ONLINE [15:00HRS UTC]
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is counting down to its third annual Amateur MMA Awards, which takes place online tomorrow, Friday 11 December, at 15:00 hrs (GMT). 

The prestigious black-tie event will celebrate the achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

Voting for members closed on 4 December, with winners to be revealed during the ceremony for the following awards: Best Female Athlete, Best Male Athlete, Best Junior Athlete and Best Performance.

See the complete list of nominees and highlight reels, and full awards list below.

BEST FEMALE ATHLETE

Watch: Best Female Athlete Nominees | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

  • Michelle Montague (New Zealand)
  • Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden)
  • Bianca Antman (Sweden)
  • Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa (Bahrain)
  • Guangmei Han (China)
  • Anastasiya Svetkivska (Ukraine)

BEST MALE ATHLETE 

Watch: Best Male Athlete Nominees | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

  • Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain)
  • Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)
  • Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan)
  • Ata Atdayev (Ukraine)
  • Gadzhimurad Bagautdinov (Russia)

BEST JUNIOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 

Watch: Best Junior Athlete | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

  • Muhammad Mokaev (England)
  • Gani Adilserikov (Kazakhstan) 
  • Anna Gaul (Germany)
  • Murad Guseinov (Bahrain

BEST PERFORMANCE (OF THE 2019 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS/ 2020 OCEANIA OPEN)

Watch: Best Performance Nominees | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

  • Yernaz Mussabek (Kazakhstan)
  • Stephanie Paige Evans (Wales) 
  • Sora Rakhmonova (Kazakhstan)
  • Michelle Montague (New Zealand)
  • Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)

OTHER AWARDS

In addition to the awards determined by member votes, other awards given on the night decided by panel decision or data, are:

  • Most Proactive National Federation
  • Host Federation of the Year
  • Social Impact Award
  • Best on Social Media Award 2020
  • Best IMMAF Educator Award (Most Active National Federation in implementing the IMMAF grading scheme in 2020)
  • IMMAF App Award (for Best National Federation in use of the IMMAF App in 2020)
  • Best National Federation for MMA Coaching (Most active National Federation in implementing IMMAF Coach Certification Program)
  • IMMAF Anti-doping Award (for achievement of the highest number of WADA ADeL certifications)

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IMMAF Around the World: Spotlight on Tajikistan in 2020 https://immaf.org/2020/12/08/immaf-around-the-world-spotlight-on-tajikistan-in-2020/ Tue, 08 Dec 2020 09:43:51 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40780

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The Tajikistan Mixed Martial Arts Federation recently published to IMMAF a report detailing the organisation’s significant activities during the period of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. 

Notwithstanding the current climate, the TAJMMAF maintains close cooperation with the IMMAF in the implementation of its duties as a National Federation and the promotion of Amateur MMA in Tajikistan.

Competitions and Training

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Tajikistan federation found it needed to adapt its training sessions and competitions in order to be able to execute them. In accordance with the recommendations and restrictions set by both local government and IMMAF, the TAJMMAF held its Amateur MMA Championships without spectators under the title of “Dushanbe Cup-2020” on 28-29 March 2020.

In addition, for the further development of MMA in Tajikistan and selection of the best sportsmen for the international competitions, the TAJMMAF is organizing a National Republican Amateur MMA Championship this month (December 2020.)  

The federation commented:

“We are seeing how impatiently talented competitors are counting down the days for the Championship to show their best skills, their enthusiasm and desire to become champions.” 

Organising, Participating and Campaigning Online

At the beginning of pandemic, the TAJMMAF adapted by reducing its physical operations and moving online a range of activities that has included internal meetings, training and international meetings and events. 

“Especially, we have strived to actively participate in all IMMAF online events and continue to contribute to the protection and development the sport of MMA in Tajikistan and world over. As part of this, for almost a year, we have been participating in monthly IMMAF E-meetings with Central Asian Federations.”  

The TAJMMAF has been notably active in IMMAF campaigns that have included the “White Card” /“MMA for Peace” campaign in April, in the support of the International Day of Sports for Development and Peace. In July 2020, the TAJMMAF collected 2118 signatures for the global petition, “MMA is a Sport”, promoting it via social its networks, over Facebook, Instagram, Viber and WhatsApp.

Education & E-Learning

From 12 to 16 October, the federation gathered to participate as a group in IMMAF’s Virtual Technical Seminar Week which it describes as bring “very fruitful intellectually and very interesting in the COVID-19 period.”

October to November also proved a productive time for TAJMMAF’s administrators, representatives and members (including President, Vice-president, coaches, external and internal affairs coordinators, lawyers, financial administrators and Social Media officers), when they completed the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping E-Learning Course (ADeL) and received WADA certification.

On 21 November, TAJMMAF staff further participated in a seminar organised by the National Olympic Committee of Tajikistan on Doping Control. 

Developments & IT

Regardless of the obstacles presented by COVID-19, the TAJMMAF reports  various “challenges and errors emerging in the organisation of our first competition, the Dushanbe Cup-2020”. The governing body is currently working to trouble-shoot in these areas to improve the standard of its organisational, management and operational processes:

“Indeed, we have now transferred from traditional “management” processes to increased e-management. To avoid paperwork, time constraints and labour overruns we have developed a software system that allows participants to register for our tournaments online, easing the administrative load for coordinators before, during and after tournaments. The online system has been launched in time for the upcoming Republican Championship.”

Communications

In 2020, TAJMMAF’s website was enhanced for multi-lingual access – in Tajik, Russian and English. IMMAF technical videos were also translated from English into the Tajik language

For the active promotion of TAJMMAF and its activities, a Social Media Manager has been hired. He is responsible for the positive propagation and popularisation of amateur MMA in Tajikistan on behalf of the federation. 

Governance and Recognition 

Also in 2020; TAJMMAF drafted the Amateur MMA Rules of Tajikistan based on IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules, and they were formerly adopted by the Committee of Sports and Youth of the Republic of Tajikistan.

Finally this year, the TAJMMAF instigated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between itself and the Olympic Committee of the Republic of Tajikistan for mutual support in Anti-Doping matters.

Summary

Of a prolific years’ work in the face great challenges, the federation has commented:

“What we have achieved during such a difficult situation as caused by COVID-19, is not our greatest contribution yet, but as they say: ‘Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land.’”

See Presentation about TAJMMAF structure and activities

Look out for TAJMMAF President, Davron Juraev Muzafarovich, joining other National Presidents on IMMAF TALKS soon to discuss the development of amateur MMA globally in 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic 

Follow the TAJMMAF on:

Facebook
Instagram
YouTube

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IMMAF Around the World: Spotlight on Bulgaria https://immaf.org/2020/12/08/immaf-around-the-world-spotlight-on-bulgaria/ Tue, 08 Dec 2020 09:35:23 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40749

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Main image: Bulgaria’s Delyan Georgiev celebrates winning IMMAF gold at the 2018 World Championships

The Bulgarian MMA Federation (BULMMAF) has been licensed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Bulgaria since 29.12.2014 and has been an IMMAF member since 2015.  Its president is UFC veteran, Stanislav Nedkov.

BULMMAF currently has 27 member clubs with over 800 athletes across all age categories 

(-14, -16, -18, 18+ years) and its national teams have won a total of 322 medals to-date at World, European and Balkan championships

Since its formation, the BULMMAF has organised competitions for amateur and professional athletes. The federation broke ground as one of the first in the world to create competition rules for children of 12 years and upwards giving them access to compete in one of the most popular sports in the world. Its amateur tournaments provide for four age groups (12 -13-year olds, 14-15-year olds, 16 -17-year olds and 18+), with its current rule sets compliant with IMMAF’s. In line with this, national level competitors wear the official blue and red equipment (rashguard, shorts, gloves, shinpads) as worn in IMMAF’s international championships.

A main goal of the federation is to develop and to improve the conditions and processes around training and competition in the country. So far progress has been achieved through the creation and implementation of safety rules, as well as coaches’, referees’ and judges’ education.

Since 2015, “MMA” has been included in the educational programme of the National Sports Academy (Vasil Levski). The 4-year MMA coaching course results in a university degree in education for its participants.

On 26 November of this year, BULMMAF held the final tournament of its 2020 national championships, for all four age categories, in the town of Dryanovo. The event was held without an audience due to COVID-19 restrictions. During the official opening ceremony, President Nedkov awarded IMMAF certificates to the first BULMMAF coaches to pass the IMMAF licensing course – Svetoslav Zhelev, Denyo Pavlov, Maria Koleva, Kaloyan Kolev, Nikolay Kolev and Georgi Nedkov.

IMMAF Director of Development, Andrew Moshanov, commended the Bulgarian Federation for demonstrating “remarkable consistency in the growth of the sport of MMA.”

He elaborated: “This has been made possible by the attention they have given to coach education and continuous professional development. I am impressed with the whole sports eco-system in Bulgaria, which includes bi-annual coach revalidation events and upskilling sessions during the National Championships. Now, with the federation adopting the international system of coaches’ certification, their national coach education system is fully aligned with IMMAF’s.”

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Khabib will fight for the inclusion of MMA in the Olympic program https://immaf.org/2020/12/03/khabib-will-fight-for-the-inclusion-of-mma-in-the-olympic-program/ Thu, 03 Dec 2020 10:48:12 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40745

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Translated from article at MSN.ru on 2 December 2020: Хабиб будет биться за включение ММА в программу Олимпиады. Сделать это сложнее, чем стать чемпионом UFC (msn.com)

Article by Ilya Andreev (RUS)

The problem is that wrestling, boxing, judo, taekwondo see mixed martial arts as a dangerous competitor. Khabib wants to see MMA included in Olympic program.

Khabib Nurmagomedov gave a press conference in Tashkent on Tuesday, where he was asked about the possibility of including MMA in the Olympic program. It turned out that Nurmagomedov not only supports this idea, but will lobby it at a meeting with IOC President Thomas Bach, which, according to him, will take place in the near future.

“The inclusion of MMA in the Olympics is one of my main tasks for the next couple of years, we are already working in this direction,” Khabib said. “In the near future I will have many meetings, including with the president of the Olympic Committee. I think if not in Paris, then in Los Angeles we have a great chance to promote MMA. We need to unite all the federations that exist in the world. In my opinion, 60 or 70 federations must be united in order to promote the sport to the Olympics.

“The only issue is the perceived cruelty of the sport,” the champion said. “They don’t welcome it at the Olympics, they don’t want a lot of blood. But in terms of recognition, sponsorship, in terms of interest for television, MMA, I think, if it enters the program of the Olympics, will be on a par with football and athletics in interest. We are already working in this direction. In the near future I will have many meetings, including with the President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach. A lot of work will be done to ensure that MMA is included in the Olympic program. It is unlikely that we will succeed in 2024, we want MMA to be at the Olympics in 2028.”

Khabib himself, who has finished his career as a fighter, does not intend to become an Olympic champion. He said this at a press conference in Moscow in August. “I’ll be a grandfather by then,” he said.

The main organization for amateur MMA is the International Federation of Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF), founded in 2012 in Sweden. Two years ago, it merged with the World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMA), which was led by the president of M-1 Global, former manager Fedor Emelianenko Vadim Finkelstein. Finkelstein is now the honorary president of IMMAF. The federation is headed by Briton Kerrit Brown. It comprises 63 national associations [ Correction: 120 national associations – IMMAF ed.]. IMMAF has the classic structure of an international federation, it annually holds world championships (this year cancelled because of the pandemic). However, mixed martial arts have not yet been recognized at the international level.

A prerequisite for the inclusion of the sport in the Olympic Games program is membership in the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), formerly called SportAccord. The first step towards full recognition is getting GAISF’s so-called observer status. GAISF has denied IMMAF this status for several years. The last rejection came in February 2019. The official reasons are:

  • Influence of commercial structures (UFC supports IMMAF);
  • Competing with federations claiming to run the sport;
  • Concern about the health and safety of athletes.

Competing organizations include the Global Mixed Martial Arts Association (GAMMA), founded in Amsterdam at the end of 2018. It is supported by a large Singaporean MMA promotion, One Championship. In November 2019, GAMMA hosted its World Championships in Singapore. It was less representative than that of IMMAF. In April 2020, it was reported that GAMMA had 25 federations. The organization is invisible – it is inactive in social networks (there is only a Facebook page) and GAMMA does not have its own site.

But, according to IMMAF, the main reason for the refusal is not in the UFC, GAMMA and the supposed cruelty of MMA, but in the fact that other contact sports (wrestling, boxing, judo, taekwondo) do not want to see mixed martial arts in the Olympic program. You can read about how officials from the wrestling and boxing federations have a negative attitude towards MMA in last year’s article by a colleague of Mikhail Potapov.

“It’s politics,” Densign White, IMMAF’s chief executive, told SportsPro in May 2019. “It’s not really about us. It’s not about whether we manage well or not, what kind of medical care we have, what programs we have for the development of young people or what coaches and what competitions we have. None of this matters. It’s just about politics. This is what we understand.

“The martial arts representatives are influential in GAISF, they hold key positions there,” he continued. “Their actions are a clear attempt to prevent MMA from making any progress (on the way to becoming an Olympic sport) because they see us as a competitor, as a threat to their sports. When they come here, they act as one. If we [our membership application was to be put to vote at the GAISF assembly]…  we’d have a mountain to climb because all 15 martial arts would vote against us. Before the vote, we would start with a “minus 15” count.

White said the lack of observer status under GAISF prevents IMMAF from becoming a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.

“They also influence WADA’s decision in terms of our application to become signatory to the WADA Code,” he said. “GAISF keeps telling us that WADA is independent, that they make their own decisions, but I have made it clear to them that we know that this is not the case. WADA are doing what you tell them! At WADA, we were told that if GAISF allowed us to obtain observer status, we would automatically become signatories of the code. Obviously, GAISF doesn’t want this to happen. They know that becoming a member of WADA is not a trifle, but an important thing, it is what leads to full membership in their organization, as well as blocking other MMA federations.”

It is amateur MMA and not professional, that IMMAF is fighting to get into the Olympic program. “Every year we invite these guys from GAISF to come because we want them to see what we’re doing,” White said. “We’re not secret, we’re completely open and transparent, but they never come, they’re always too busy.”

IMMAF is not discouraged and continues to fight for MMA to become part of the Olympic program. This year the petition, “MMA Is A Sport” was launched, which, however, never went global (only 15,000 people signed the petition on the website at change.org). Plus IMMAF is now registered as a non-profit organization in Switzerland, where the IOC apartment is located – the federation believes that this is important. Plus, now the federation has a new ally – Khabib. But based on everything that has happened in previous years, it will be very difficult to turn the situation around even for him. So far, the balance of power is such that go, tug-of-war, sport fishing and bridge are more likely to become Olympic sports than MMA – they, unlike mixed martial arts, are recognized by GAISF.

In May 2021, the GAISF summit is scheduled to take place in Yekaterinburg, with an update expected on the status of IMMAF.

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Top Japan prospect Reo Yamaguchi talks training with UK’s team Kaobon https://immaf.org/2020/12/01/top-japan-prospect-reo-yamaguchi-talks-training-with-uks-team-kaobon/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 12:31:59 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40732

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One of Japan’s best young MMA prospects, 20-year-old Reo Yamaguchi spent the month of November in the United Kingdom training with the world-famous Team Kaobon in Liverpool. Team Kaobon is well established as one of the UK’s most accomplished producers of British MMA talent and is currently home to UFC contenders such as Darren Till, Mike Grundy and Tom Aspinall.

Yamaguchi is a Kyokushin Karate black-belt having entered the sport at age 5 and went on to be crowned Japan’s junior national champion. At age 16 he transitioned to MMA and after developing an impressive domestic record was selected by the Japanese MMA Federation at the age of 18 to represent his country’s national team on the international IMMAF platform. Fighting out of the Alive Academy in Nagoya-Shi under renowned coach Yoichi Suzuki, Yamaguchi made his debut on the world stage by winning the men’s bantamweight tournament at the 2018 IMMAF Oceania Open. As one of the most recognised young talents of the junior ranks, Yamaguchi remained consistent as a perennial top contender and has since won a trio of silver medals in the IMMAF junior bantamweight division, stepping onto the podium at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships, plus the 2019 European Open. 

The IMMAF World Championships regularly welcomes over 50 national teams featuring the top amateur MMA prospects from each country. The extreme diversity between different nations and styles makes the competition one of MMA’s most challenging feats with up to five opponents in the space of a week, and so, following the 2019 World Championships Yamaguchi set a new goal of taking on experience and furthering his own skill set through overseas training. 

Yamaguchi’s performances at the 2019 IMMAF Worlds caught the eye of Liverpool’s Team Kaobon, who reached out to the Japanese talent with an offer to join their ranks. “I got a message from the assistant of the Team Kaobon head coach, Colin Heron. I wanted to train at one of Europe’s top gyms to measure my level and I was also interested in living abroad and using English,” Yamaguchi explained. “Wrestling and mauy thai techniques all feel new to me and there is much to learn from their thinking and approach to training. I’m training with great fighters like Mike Grundy, teaching me wrestling.” 

While Yamaguchi was able to absorb world class training and insight to add to his game, it was the Western approach to training, compared to that of Japan, through which he learned the most about himself as an athlete.

“In Japan, one practice is 3-4 hours of training,” he explained, “However, the training at Team Kaobon was a high-intensity training in a short time of 90 minutes to 2 hours. It was a shorter session in Liverpool, so I was able to do my best from warm-up to the end. However, in Japan, because of the long training, I was unknowingly lacking in concentration. It depends on the gym, but many Japanese people have a culture that values ​​quantity. The idea is that it’s better to do it than not to do it. Even for long training I intend to go to the end with full power, but I unknowingly make an allocation that can withstand four hours of training, so it’s like running at about 60%. But in MMA, you have to do your best in a short round. So I felt how to train should be improved [after visiting Kaobon].”

While training and learning with some of UK MMA’s very best, Yamaguchi was alongside one England’s youngest up-and-coming names, Jack Grundy, son of UFC competitor and Kaobon wrestling coach, Mike Grundy. The 15-year-old was among the 250+ trailblazing athletes to compete at the first ever Youth MMA World Championships, hosted by IMMAF in August of 2019. With a series of impressive performances in the 12-man division and taking on rivals from as far as Russia and the USA, Grundy earned a bronze medal for England in the Youth B: -62kg/136lbs category.

“It was good to have him here, Grundy commented, who noted Yamaguchi’s work ethic and unorthodox striking. “Training with us he is a very skilled fighter and it was great to see him progress at Team Kaobon and start to use the techniques he learned under coach Colin Heron.”

Once international competition resumes in 2021, Yamaguchi is anticipated to make his return to action for Japan alongside amateur MMA’s elite global talent, when he will once again pursue the coveted gold medal at the IMMAF World Championships in Kazakhstan.

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Voting opens for the 2020 Amateur MMA Awards https://immaf.org/2020/12/01/voting-opens-for-the-2020-amateur-mma-awards/ Tue, 01 Dec 2020 12:21:12 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40730

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FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, ONLINE [15:00HRS UTC]
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE

Voting commences today for the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s third annual Amateur MMA Awards.

Held online this year in the wake of the global pandemic, the prestigious black-tie event will take place on Friday 11 December to celebrate achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

The winner of the category will be decided by member vote, with one vote per National Federation: Private links to vote on polys.me have been emailed out to federation presidents today (1 December), with voting closing on 4 December.

See the complete list of nominees below:

BEST FEMALE ATHLETE

Watch: Best Female Athlete Nominees | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

·       Michelle Montague (New Zealand)

·       Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden)

·       Bianca Antman (Sweden)

·       Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa (Bahrain)

·       Guangmei Han (China)

·       Anastasiya Svetkivska (Ukraine)

BEST MALE ATHLETE 

Watch: Best Male Athlete Nominees | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

·       Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain)

·       Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)

·       Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan)

·       Ata Atdayev (Ukraine)

·       Gadzhimurad Bagautdinov (Russia)

BEST JUNIOR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 

Watch: Best Junior Athlete | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

·       Muhammad Mokaev (England)

·       Gani Adilserikov (Kazakhstan) 

·       Anna Gaul (Germany)

·       Murad Guseinov (Bahrain

BEST PERFORMANCE (OF THE 2019 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS/ 2020 OCEANIA OPEN)

Watch: Best Performance Nominees | 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards – YouTube

·       Yernaz Mussabek (Kazakhstan)

·       Stephanie Paige Evans (Wales) 

·       Sora Rakhmonova (Kazakhstan)

·       Michelle Montague (New Zealand)

·       Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)

OTHER AWARDS

In addition to the awards determined by member votes, other awards given on the night decided by panel decision or data, are:

  • Most Proactive National Federation
  • Host Federation of the Year
  • Social Impact Award
  • Best on Social Media Award 2020
  • Best IMMAF Educator Award (Most Active National Federation in implementing the IMMAF grading scheme in 2020)
  • IMMAF App Award (for Best National Federation in use of the IMMAF App in 2020)
  • Best National Federation for MMA Coaching (Most active National Federation in implementing IMMAF Coach Certification Program)
  • IMMAF Anti-doping Award (for achievement of the highest number of WADA ADeL certifications)

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Best performance nominees announced for 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards https://immaf.org/2020/11/30/best-performance-nominees-announced-for-2020-immaf-amateur-mma-awards/ Mon, 30 Nov 2020 11:01:34 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40698

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FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, ONLINE [15:00HRS UTC]
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced its nominees shortlist for the Best Performance Award 2020 ahead of its third annual Amateur MMA Awards. 

Performances included in the Award are those from the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Oceania Open Championships. 

The winner of the category will be decided by member vote, with one vote per National Federation: Links to vote will be emailed to federation presidents on 1 December, with voting closing on 4 December.

The nominees for Best Performance 2020 are as follows:

Yernaz Mussabek (Kazakhstan): 
Submission (Gogoplata) victory over Mansur Magomedov (Bahrain) 
2019 World Championships quarter-final

Yernaz Mussabek (Kazakhstan)

Stephanie Paige Evans (Wales): 
Submission (Von Flue Choke) victory over Janina Danes (Sweden)
2019 World Championships, round of 16

Stephanie Paige Evans (Wales)

Sora Rakhmonova (Kazakhstan):
TKO (body kick) victory over Megan Morris (England)
2019 World Championships, round of 16

Sora Rakhmonova (Kazakhstan)

Michelle Montague (New Zealand): 
Submission (Arm-Bar) victory over Jenni Kivioja (Finland) 
2020 Oceania Open final.

Michelle Montague (New Zealand)

Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain): 
Submission (Anaconda Choke variation) victory over Rusi Minev (Bulgaria)
2019 World Championships round of 16

Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)

ABOUT THE 2020 IMMAF AMATEUR MMA AWARDS

The prestigious occasion will take place on Friday 11 December at 15:00 hrs (UTC) to celebrate achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

Awards fall into three categories; those open for Member Vote, data based awards and those decided by an IMMAF panel. See below for the full list of award categories, with nominees for Member Vote Awards to be announced shortly.

The dress code for the virtual Awards is black-tie, with invitations due to be issued to National Federations.

AWARD CATEGORIES

Member Vote Awards (Athletes)

  • Best Female Athlete
  • Best Male Athlete
  • Best Junior Athlete
  • Best performance (of the 2019 World Championships/ 2020 Oceania Open)

National Federations Awards (IMMAF panel decision)

  • Most Proactive National Federation
  • Host Federation of the Year
  • Social Impact Award
  • Best on Social Media Award 2020

National Federations Awards (data based)

  • Best IMMAF Educator Award (Most Active National Federation in implementing the IMMAF grading scheme in 2020)
  • IMMAF App Award ( for Best National Federation in use of the IMMAF App in 2020)
  • Best National Federation for MMA Coaching (Most active National Federation in implementing IMMAF Coach Certification Program)
  • IMMAF Anti-doping Award ( for achievement of the highest number of WADA ADeL certifications)

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Best male athlete nominees announced for 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards https://immaf.org/2020/11/27/best-male-athlete-nominees-announced-for-2020-immaf-amateur-mma-awards/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 15:48:12 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40680

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FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, ONLINE [15:00HRS UTC]
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced its nominees shortlist for the Best Senior Male Athlete Award 2020 ahead of its third annual Amateur MMA Awards.

The winner of the category will be decided by member vote, with one vote per National Federation: Links to vote will be emailed to federation presidents on 1 December, with voting closing on 4 December.

The nominees for Best Senior Male Athlete 2020 are as follows:

Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain)

Undefeated juggernaut Murtaza Talha returned from injury to reclaim the world light-heavyweight title, taking the gold for a second time. After missing the 2018 World Championships, a symbolic triumph saw Murtaza edge a split-decision win over Russia’s Magomed Shakhrudinov, who occupied the 205lb division through during his absence. The 2019 world champion capped off his amateur tenure with an opening round TKO to pick up the 2020 Oceania Open title before announcing that he will turn pro.    

Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain)

Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)

The world’s pound-for-pound no.1 ranked amateur was in astonishing form this past year, capturing the 2019 welterweight world title with back-to-back anaconda choke submissions and a semi-final TKO stoppage before claiming the title and following up 2020 with gold medal success at the Oceania Open. As of 2020 Gitinov has now won titles at the Asia Open, Oceania Open and European Open in addition to claiming the World Championships crown and reaching the IMMAF rankings summit.

Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)

Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan)

Kazakhstan’s exciting Bagdat Zubanysh extended his flawless undefeated tenure. The 2018 World and Asia Open strawweight champion picked up his second world title in 2019 as the standout prospect of the prominent Kazakh national team.

Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan)

Ata Atdayev (Ukraine)

Running parallel to his Ukraine team-mate Anastasiya Svetkivska, Atdayev entered the 2019 World Championships as the reigning European Open champion. Prior to besting the USA’s Israel Galvan at the World Championships finals, the Ukrainian bested former world champion Ruslan Satiev, handing a first loss to the Russian prospect. 

Ata Atdayev (Ukraine)

Gadzhimurad Bagautdinov (Russia)

The Russian heavyweight and European Open finalist enjoyed his breakthrough moment at the 2019 IMMAF Worlds. Bahrain’s European Open champion Shamil Gaziev entered last year’s World Championships as the standout favourite for the gold medal: Yet, Bagautdinov had other plans and tore up the script to submit the undefeated Gaziev in the opening round of their semi-final before advancing to the finals where he claimed the gold.

Gadzhimurad Bagautdinov (Russia)

ABOUT THE 2020 IMMAF AMATEUR MMA AWARDS

The prestigious occasion will take place on Friday 11 December at 15:00 hrs (UTC) to celebrate achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

Awards fall into three categories; those open for Member Vote, data based awards and those decided by an IMMAF panel. See below for the full list of award categories, with nominees for Member Vote Awards to be announced shortly.

The dress code for the virtual Awards is black-tie, with invitations due to be issued to National Federations.

AWARD CATEGORIES

Member Vote Awards (Athletes)

  • Best Female Athlete
  • Best Male Athlete
  • Best Junior Athlete
  • Best performance (of the 2019 World Championships/ 2020 Oceania Open)

National Federations Awards (IMMAF panel decision)

  • Most Proactive National Federation
  • Host Federation of the Year
  • Social Impact Award
  • Best on Social Media Award 2020

National Federations Awards (data based)

  • Best IMMAF Educator Award (Most Active National Federation in implementing the IMMAF grading scheme in 2020)
  • IMMAF App Award ( for Best National Federation in use of the IMMAF App in 2020)
  • Best National Federation for MMA Coaching (Most active National Federation in implementing IMMAF Coach Certification Program)
  • IMMAF Anti-doping Award ( for achievement of the highest number of WADA ADeL certifications)

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Best female athlete nominees announced for 2020 IMMAF Amateur MMA Awards https://immaf.org/2020/11/26/best-female-athlete-nominees-announced-for-2020-immaf-amateur-mma-awards/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 11:19:48 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40659

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FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, ONLINE [15:00HRS UTC]
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced its nominees shortlist for the Best Senior Female Athlete Award 2020 ahead of its third annual Amateur MMA Awards.

The winner of the category will be decided by member vote, with one vote per National Federation: Links to vote will be emailed to federation presidents on 1 December, with voting closing on 4 December.

The nominees for Best Senior Female Athlete 2020 are as follows:

Michelle Montague (New Zealand)

The exceptional and overpowering Michelle Montague lived up to expectation with unrivalled dominance at the 2019 World Championships, winning the lightweight gold medal with three successive stoppages including two first-round submissions. Montague has been one of the most talked about new talents of the past year and in early 2020 the world champion won the Oceania Open title for a second time with another pair of submission stoppages.   

Michelle Montague (New Zealand)

Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden)

It was a tremendous year for the women of Sweden’s national team who carried the nation back to securing world championships gold. Mahmudi led the charge to secure the 2019 atomweight world title followed by the 2020 Oceania Open title, bagging decisive wins along way against the likes of Polish up and comer Magdalena Czaban and perennial, top contender Ayan Tursyn of Kazakhstan.

Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden)

Bianca Antman (Sweden)

Prior to her pro debut and viral head kick KO back in the summer, Bianca Antman formed the other half of Sweden’s 2019 resurgence as she advanced to the flyweight world championships final to submit former silver medallist Hannah Dawson in the second round. Alongside team-mate Bezhan Mahmudi, Antman also made her way to the Oceania Open in 2020, where she bagged the title with a pair of submission wins.    

Bianca Antman (Sweden)

Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa (Bahrain)

A newcomer to the Bahraini national team in 2019, De Sousa produced one of the most dominant campaigns ever seen on the IMMAF World Championships platform. She captured the featherweight gold medal with four submission victories, beginning with a kneebar stoppage on the opening day of competition, and going onto execute a further three arm-bar holds to take the crown.  

Sabrina Laurentina De Sousa (Bahrain)

Guangmei Han (China)

Reigning Asia Open champion Guangmei Han secured a historic first IMMAF world title for China with a trio of unanimous decision wins to conquer the bantamweight division. 

Guangmei Han (China)

Anastasiya Svetkivska (Ukraine)

Ukraine’s European Open champion extended a 7-fight win streak in 2019, capturing the strawweight world title with a series of four wins in championship week. She handed a first amateur loss to Malaysia’s Colleen Augustin, with an opening round arm-bar, before advancing to the final to submit top Aussie standout Olivia Ukmar, again via arm-bar, and win gold.

Anastasiya Svetkivska (Ukraine)

ABOUT THE 2020 IMMAF AMATEUR MMA AWARDS

The prestigious occasion will take place on Friday 11 December at 15:00 hrs (UTC) to celebrate achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

Awards fall into three categories; those open for Member Vote, data based awards and those decided by an IMMAF panel. See below for the full list of award categories, with nominees for Member Vote Awards to be announced shortly.

The dress code for the virtual Awards is black-tie, with invitations due to be issued to National Federations.

Award Categories

Member Vote Awards (Athletes)

  • Best Female Athlete
  • Best Male Athlete
  • Best Junior Athlete
  • Best performance (of the 2019 World Championships/ 2020 Oceania Open)

National Federations Awards (IMMAF panel decision)

  • Most Proactive National Federation
  • Host Federation of the Year
  • Social Impact Award
  • Best on Social Media Award 2020

National Federations Awards (data based)

  • Best IMMAF Educator Award (Most Active National Federation in implementing the IMMAF grading scheme in 2020)
  • IMMAF App Award ( for Best National Federation in use of the IMMAF App in 2020)
  • Best National Federation for MMA Coaching (Most active National Federation in implementing IMMAF Coach Certification Program)
  • IMMAF Anti-doping Award ( for achievement of the highest number of WADA ADeL certifications)

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Best Junior nominees announced for 2020 IMMAF amateur MMA Awards https://immaf.org/2020/11/24/best-junior-nominees-announced-for-2020-immaf-amateur-mma-awards/ Tue, 24 Nov 2020 08:39:45 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40640

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FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, ONLINE
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced its nominees shortlist for the Best Junior Athlete Award 2020 ahead of its third annual Amateur MMA Awards.

The winner of the category will be decided by member vote, with one vote per National Federation: Links to vote will be emailed to federation presidents on 1 December, with voting closing on 4 December.

The nominees for Best Junior Athlete 2020 are as follows:

Muhammad Mokaev (England)

England’s young prodigy Muhammad Mokaev completed his 23-0 amateur tenure by winning the 2019 IMMAF junior bantamweight world championships, taking gold for a second time on-the-back of four triumphs that included a thrilling third collision with top rival Reo Yamaguchi. The number-one ranked junior also picked up the 2020 Oceania Open title ahead of a highly publicised professional debut later in the year.

Muhammad Mokaev (England)

Rustam Ashurbekov (Russia)

The formidable Russian national team were the dominant force of the 2019 Junior World Championships. Among their five gold medals, if was national junior heavyweight champion Ashurbekov who stood-out with a pair of first round TKO victories to claim his first world title on the IMMAF stage in unrivalled fashion. 

Rustam Ashurbekov (Russia)

Gani Adilserikov (Kazakhstan)  

Bouncing back from defeat at the 2018 world championships, Kazakhstan’s Gani Adilserikov battled through a trio of rivals in the stacked junior flyweight ranks to claim world championship gold.   

Gani Adilserikov (Kazakhstan)

Anna Gaul (Germany)

Germany’s two-time European gold medallist secured her first junior world title and solidified her place as the highest ranked female junior competitor. Gaul fought her way to the world championships final and secured the gold with a third-round arm-bar submission. 

Anna Gaul (Germany)

Murad Guseinov (Bahrain)

It took nine challenging rounds for Team Bahrain’s Guseinov to capture the junior welterweight world title. His landmark achievement was underpinned by the daunting line-up of rivals from teams such as Russia and Kazakhstan, including triumph in the tournament final against Russian young adults’ gold medallist Kamil Shaikhamatov.  

Murad Guseinov (Bahrain)

ABOUT THE 2020 IMMAF AMATEUR MMA AWARDS

The prestigious occasion will take place on Friday 11 December to celebrate achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

Awards fall into three categories; those open for Member Vote, data based awards and those decided by an IMMAF panel. See below for the full list of award categories, with nominees for Member Vote Awards to be announced shortly. 

The dress code for the virtual Awards is black-tie, with invitations due to be issued to National Federations.

AWARD CATEGORIES

Member Vote Awards (Athletes)

  • Best Female Athlete 
  • Best Male Athlete 
  • Best Junior Athlete 
  • Best performance (of the 2019 World Championships/ 2020 Oceania Open)

National Federations Awards (IMMAF panel decision) 

  • Most Proactive National Federation 
  • Host Federation of the Year 
  • Social Impact Award 
  • Best on Social Media Award 2020

National Federations Awards (data based) 

  • Best IMMAF Educator Award (Most Active National Federation in implementing the IMMAF grading scheme in 2020) 
  • IMMAF App Award ( for Best National Federation in use of the IMMAF App in 2020)
  • Best National Federation for MMA Coaching (Most active National Federation in implementing IMMAF Coach Certification Program)
  • IMMAF Anti-doping Award ( for achievement of the highest number of WADA ADeL certifications)

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IMMAF welcomes new member in Puerto Rico https://immaf.org/2020/11/23/immaf-welcomes-new-member-in-puerto-rico/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 13:06:26 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40635

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is a step closer to establishing a complete footprint within the Pan-American region with Observational Membership granted to the Puerto Rico MMA Federation (Federacion Independiente De Artes Marciales Mixtas De Puerto Rico – FIAMMPR).  

Mr Orlando Sanchez, President of the registered non-profit Federation, is well-recognized within the Puerto Rican MMA community. The autonomous body has established strong membership of registered clubs with effective processes, policies, voting rights, education for coaches and officials, opportunities for volunteers, an amateur competition platform and more.

The FIAMMPR Board of Directors recognises the change in the landscape for the development of MMA and aims to progress further under the unified international organisation of IMMAF, benefitting from the support that it entails. The organisation’s new agenda will bring consistency to the regulation of MMA across Puerto Rico and aims to bring the work of FIAMMPR to the attention of the Puerto Rican Olympic Committee.

IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown:

“IMMAF has continued to expand its family through 2020, which has provided time to double down on sport development and global governance matters. On behalf of the IMMAF board, I am delighted to welcome the FIAMMPR to IMMAF and to our active network of members in Latin America. We look forward to welcoming Puerto Rican athletes to IMMAF Championships in 2021.”

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2020 Virtual Amateur MMA Awards https://immaf.org/2020/11/16/2020-virtual-amateur-mma-awards/ Mon, 16 Nov 2020 11:42:31 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40631

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FRIDAY 11 DECEMBER, ONLINE
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) proudly announces its third annual Amateur MMA Awards, as the ceremony moves online this year in the wake of the global pandemic.

The prestigious occasion will take place on Friday 11 December to celebrate achievements across amateur mixed martial arts of IMMAF athletes, coaches, officials and National Federations during the period spanning November 2019 to October 2020.

Awards fall into three categories; those open for Member Vote, data based awards and those decided by an IMMAF panel. See below for the full list of award categories, with nominees for Member Vote Awards to be announced shortly. 

The dress code for the virtual Awards is black-tie, with invitations due to be issued to National Federations.

IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown said:

“It’s been a tough year for MMA participants in most countries of the world during 2020. And so, we look forward to uniting with the IMMAF family in celebration of our achievements against all the odds this year, as a joyful remedy to the humdrum of global restrictions. This is the time for members to put on your best, black-tie party wear and spread out your favourite refreshments to join us in our end-of-year, virtual Awards celebration.”

AWARD CATEGORIES

Member Vote Awards (Athletes)

·  Best Female Athlete of the 2019 World Championships

·  Best Male Athlete of the 2019 World Championships

·  Best Junior Athlete of the Year of the 2019 World Championships

·  Best performance (of the 2019 World Championships/ 2020 Oceania Open )

National Federations Awards (IMMAF panel decision) 

·         Most Proactive National Federation 

·         Host Federation of the Year 

·         Social Impact Award 

·         Best on Social Media Award 2020

National Federations Awards (data based) 

·         Best IMMAF Educator Award (Most Active National Federation in implementing the IMMAF grading scheme in 2020) 

·         IMMAF App Award ( for Best National Federation in use of the IMMAF App in 2020)

·         Best National Federation for MMA Coaching (Most active National Federation in implementing IMMAF Coach Certification Program)

·         IMMAF Anti-doping Award ( for achievement of the highest number of WADA ADeL certifications)

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IMMAF members complete over 1000 anti-doping e-learning modules https://immaf.org/2020/11/09/immaf-members-complete-over-1000-anti-doping-e-learning-modules/ Mon, 09 Nov 2020 18:43:17 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40614

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IMMAF members have successfully completed over 1,000 Anti-doping modules on the WADA ADeL e-learning platform.

IMMAF Anti-Doping Commission Chairwoman and Consultant, Michele Verroken, commented:

“Engaging IMMAF members in education through the ADeL platform is a major part of our education plan. IMMAF is fully supportive of comprehensive education for all members, athletes, coaches, officials and parents. We are fortunate that WADA has welcomed IMMAF into the ADeL programme and delighted at the response from IMMAF members. ADeL programmes help IMMAF to reinforce anti-doping education and to promote clean MMA.”

IMMAF achieved registration with the platform in July this year, offering its membership enhanced courses and resources for MMA’s athletes, coaches, doctors, administrators and other participants interested in learning more about anti-doping and protecting the values of clean sport.

IMMAF has implemented a comprehensive drug-testing programme at its Championships since 2015, under the leadership of expert consultant Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity, as well as ongoing anti-doping education, issuing 9 suspensions to date.

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Dominant IMMAF World Champion Murtaza set for pro debut at BRAVE 45 https://immaf.org/2020/11/09/dominant-immaf-world-champion-murtaza-set-for-pro-debut-at-brave-45/ Mon, 09 Nov 2020 18:18:16 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40608

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Light-heavyweight juggernaut Murtaza Talha Ali is cashing in his undefeated amateur streak and will complete his professional debut on the November 12 BRAVE CF 45 card in Bahrain.

The monstrous 24-year-old spent the entirety of his amateur MMA tenure competing on the IMMAF platform. The Dagestan born wrestling specialist was recruited by the Bahrain based KHK talent development program ahead of the 2017 IMMAF World Championships and represented the kingdom via the Bahrain MMA Federation national team.

Murtaza was unrivalled on the premier international amateur platform and was a leading figure as Bahrain ascended to become the world’s number-one ranked nation under IMMAF, his contribution included two world championships gold medals, the European Open title and the Oceania Open title.

Murtaza soon development a formidable reputation. Opponents were often forced to evade his big right hand and unrelenting forward momentum, often finding themselves backed against the fence with nowhere to left to go before being forced to hit the canvas as a result of the takedown where Murtaza’s strength was overwhelming.

Murtaza won his first amateur title at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships with 5 win within the week-long event against rivals from Wales, the Czech Republic, Poland and Australia before a well-focussed performance over Pavel Pahmoneko of Belarus saw Murtaza control his final opponent for the duration of the bout in order to claim the gold medal.

In 2018 Murtaza stormed to the IMMAF European Open title with a further 3 victories at the Bucharest tournament with, including wins against the likes of Irish Cage Warriors veteran Cathal Manning and the now standout Swedish professional Anton Turkalj (6-0) who is also now a current contender with BRAVE.

His amateur tenure may have spanned an even more substantial hitlist had it not been for a hand injury which ruled Murtaza out of the 2018 World Championships and majority of the 2019 circuit. In his absence, Magomed Shakhrudinov of Team Russia took over and won the senior light-heavyweight gold medal at the 2018 IMMAF Worlds. The pair would face off upon Murtaza’s eagerly anticipated return at the 2019 World Championships. The reigning champion – Shakhrudinov, and former yet undefeated champion Murtaza, faced off in the semi-finals where the duo’s exceptional skill level and similar styles cancelled each other out, however it was Murtaza who did enough to earn the split-decision win (pictured above) and went on to reclaim the world title. The world’s no.1 light-heavyweight capped off his amateur tenure by stamping out Australia’s Patrick best to claim the 2020 Oceania Open title in Palm Beach, Australia. Of his 12 amateur triumphs, Murtaza completed 6 stoppages and very rarely conceded a round on the scorecards.

Murtaza commented: “Since 2017 I have been part of IMMAF. I’m really grateful to IMMAF staff and directors that I had an opportunity to use their platform to start and shape my career. Thanks to IMMAF I signed a contract with Brave CF, one of the leading world MMA promotions.”

Following the likes of Muhammad Mokaev, Murtaza’s professional debut is no doubt one of the most intriguing amateur transitions of the year and this Thursday he will face 4-1 Belarusian, Vadim Litvin, at BRAVE CF 45.

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Former IMMAF World Champion, UFC’s Amanda Ribas chosen to star in new UFC – Halls Campaign https://immaf.org/2020/11/05/former-immaf-world-champion-ufcs-amanda-ribas-chosen-to-star-in-new-ufc-halls-campaign/ Thu, 05 Nov 2020 07:02:36 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40599

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UFC star Amanda Ribas is set to be the face of a new commercial partnership between the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Halls, the globally popular cough drop brand of Mondelēz International.

Reported by Varginhaonline.com, the 27-year-old Brazilian will star in the “Breathe Deep – Fight Like A Woman” campaign.   

Via television broadcast and social media channels, the campaign is anticipated to document the journey of Ribas to becoming a top UFC athlete. Ribas is currently 10-1 as a professional standout and is undefeated in the UFC with four wins after debuting in the sport’s premier organisation in 2019. Ribas is currently the number-9 ranked contender in the UFC’s women’s strawweight rankings, her competitive roots reach back to her amateur tenure and the 2014 IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas where she battled to win the women’s flyweight gold medal.   

In her biggest fight to date, Ribas is schedule to face fellow UFC star Michelle Waterson at UFC 257 on January 23, 2021.

Amanda Ribas: IMMAF 2014

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IMMAF announces new Turkish Member Federation https://immaf.org/2020/10/29/immaf-announces-new-turkish-member-federation/ Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:21:52 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40579

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced a new Turkish MMA organisation entering the IMMAF membership system with the Combat Mixed Martial Arts Sport Association (CMMASA) achieving Observational Membership.

Based in Istanbul with a strong administration and infrastructure, the purpose of the CMMASA board and its membership body is to develop MMA in the Republic of turkey. The CMMASA sees Mixed Martial Arts as the leader within Turkey’s combat sport race and is geared towards athlete development and construction of a national competition network with a clear pathway to the international IMMAF platform. The organisation to date has a history of producing international amateur talent including a former WMMAA world gold medallist.

IMMAF President and CEO in Turkey with the CMMASA

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How Severe is Weight Cutting in MMA? https://immaf.org/2020/10/29/how-severe-is-weight-cutting-in-mma/ Thu, 29 Oct 2020 09:19:21 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40572

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By Christopher Kirk

There are many similarities and differences between the varied combat sports: some use strikes, some don’t; some aim to get points by controlling the opponent or pinning them; some attempt to manipulate joints to bring about a submission; and one does all of the above. The common thread that runs through all combat sports, however, is weight cutting. The ritual of reducing a fighter’s weight to ensure they are big enough to compete physically in their bout is as old as organised combat sport itself. So ingrained is the notion of making weight that it is now part of the pomp and ceremony of both MMA and boxing, forming a key part of both sport’s promotional activities. Recent times, however, have seen rising concerns about the practice, with governing and sanctioning bodies working with researchers and fight teams to better understand the outcomes of regular weight cutting on performers. So how does weight cutting affect MMA athletes, and to what extent is it used in our sport? 

Research led by Dr Oliver Barley at Edith Cowan University (see Table 1) found that MMA fighters not only cut more weight than athletes in other related combat sports, but they cut more in the 24 hours before weigh-in through a process called ‘rapid weight loss’. Alarmingly, even the most amount of weight cut by athletes in the other sports is not as great as the amount regularly cut in MMA. The reason for the final 24 hours of a weight cut being called ‘rapid’ weight loss is because of the dehydration methods used in this time-period which are designed to ensure a lot of weight is lost quickly. 76% of MMA fighters reported using saunas to cut weight, compared to only 36-51% of fighters in other combat sports. Use of sweat suits is also more common in MMA with 63% of fighters using these, with 16-50% use in the other sports. The only combat sport that reported a greater use of sweat suits than MMA was wrestling with 83% of these athletes using this method. Importantly though, wrestlers appear to use this method to cut far less weight than MMA fighters, suggesting far less dehydration before competition. Roughly half also reported restricting eating, either skipping 1-2 meals per day or fasting the entire day. In addition to being dehydrated, this food restriction potentially leaves MMA athletes susceptible to eating disorders in the long term and low energy availability in the short term.

Table 1 – Comparison of weight cutting in MMA and related combat sports
SportWeight usually cut (kg)Weight cut in 24Hrs before weigh-in (kg)Weight regained post-competition (kg)Most weight cut (kg)
BJJ4.2 ± 2.61.4 ± 1.43.2 ± 2.36.7 ± 4.6
Boxing5.3 ± 2.91.8 ± 2.14 ± 2.58.5 ± 4.8
Judo3.8 ± 2.11.5 ± 1.13.1 ± 28.1 ± 8.2
Muay Thai5.9 ± 3.52 ± 1.24.6 ± 36.9 ± 3.5
Wrestling4.4 ± 3.72.3 ± 1.54.4 ± 2.47.1 ± 4.2
MMA9.8 ± 7.93.4 ± 1.97.8 ± 3.710.4 ± 4.2

So, we can see that weight cutting in MMA is common practice and more extreme than in related sports. But do we know what effects this might have on the athlete’s health? Dr Andreas Kasper of Liverpool John Moores University studied a professional MMA fighter during their full training camp, tracking their weight loss and physiological responses to the methods used. Over 8 weeks, this fighter lost 17kg, with 7kg being lost in a rapid fashion 36 hours before weigh in. This caused a severe reduction in their testosterone production with a sharp increase in cortisol, suggesting their body was consuming muscle mass for energy – not ideal the day prior to elite sports performance. This fighter also experienced a large increase in both urea and creatinine in their blood, indicative of kidney malfunction, in addition to an extremely high blood sodium content. These findings would give cause to enter the fighter into a hospital bed rather than a professional MMA bout. It’s highly unlikely that this is an isolated incident either, with 43% of athletes at a UK MMA event found to be severely dehydrated prior to competition with their hydration and weight loss readings similar to those reported in weight cutting fatalities in collegiate wrestling in the 1990’s. Tellingly, it was these tragic events that led to widespread rule and culture changes within that sport. In MMA we currently have two fighter deaths formally linked to weight cutting in medical case reports, but Erik Magraken’s website (link below) includes a continuously updated list of fights cancelled due to weight cutting as well as of numerous fighter deaths where an extreme amount of weight cutting occurred.

A final, vital point to make in this article is that this practice does not seem to lead to better results in competition. Earlier this year my colleagues (Dr Carl Langan-Evans and Professor James Morton) and I published a study using California State Athletic Commission data which showed that there is no difference between winners or losers in terms of the amount of weight regained or how much they weighed when they stepped into the cage. This data also showed that fighters at featherweight and below actually enter the cage weighing close to 2 divisions heavier than their official weight. Athletes at lightweight and above competed weighing at close to the limit of 1 full division heavier. This not only calls into question the legitimacy of weight divisions in the first place, but also suggests that if all fighters reduced the amount of weight they cut by roughly half, they would still be facing the same opponents, just without the damaging effects of an extreme weight cut in the days before the bout. Grant Brechney and team of Charles Stuart University found a similar result in Australia, only this time the bout losers actually cut more weight than the bout winners.

In summary, we can see that weight cutting in MMA is far more severe than in related combat sports, likely causing a great deal of harm to the athletes and probably not providing any real performance advantage. Importantly for IMMAF members, we currently do not know how extreme weight cutting is amongst amateur fighters during tournaments, nor do we fully understand the effects of multiple weigh ins during a single week of competition. As a sport and as a community it is vital that we work to change the culture of MMA to better control the severity of weight cutting, starting with the amateur ranks through to the professionals. This will enable our athletes to perform to a higher standard, with longer careers and – most importantly – healthier lives during their time as athletes and after retirement. Only through a concerted joint effort between IMMAF, coaches, fighters and researchers can we make these changes for the good of all involved.

Author Biography

Chris is a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Physiology at Sheffield Hallam University and a PhD Researcher at Liverpool John Moores University. He specialises in the physiological effects of combat sport training and performance, and how to best prepare combat sport athletes for competition, with his main focus being MMA.

References

Barley, O. R., Chapman, D. W. & Abbiss, C. R. (2018). Weight Loss Strategies in Combat Sports and Concerning Habits in Mixed Martial Arts. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 1–24.

Brechney, G. C., Chia, E. & Moreland, A. T. (2019). Weight-cutting implications for competition outcomes in mixed martial arts cage fighting. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research.

Kasper, A. M., Crighton, B., Langan-Evans, C., Riley, P., Sharma, A., Close, G. L. & Morton, J. P. (2018). Case Study: Extreme Weight Making Causes Relative Energy Deficiency, Dehydration and Acute Kidney Injury in a Male Mixed Martial Arts Athlete. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 1–20.

Kirk, C., Langan-Evans, C. & Morton, J. (2020). Worth the weight? Post weigh-in rapid weight gain is not related to winning or losing in professional mixed martial arts. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 30(5). doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2019-0347

Magraken, E. (2014). Documenting the tolls of extreme weight cuts in MMA (updated regularly). Retrieved 28–6, 2018, from http://combatsportslaw. com/2014/09/03/yes-athletes-have-been-hurt-from-weight-cutting-in-mma/ 

Matthews, J. J. & Nicholas, C. (2017). Extreme rapid weight loss and rapid weight gain observed in UK mixed martial arts athletes preparing for competition. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 27(2), 122–129.

Murugappan, K. R., Cocchi, M. N., Bose, S., Neves, S. E., Cook, C. H., Sarge, T., … Leibowitz, A. (2018). Case study: Fatal exertional rhabdomyolysis possibly related to drastic weight cutting. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(4), 1–16.

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IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Final Day https://immaf.org/2020/10/16/immaf-virtual-technical-seminar-week-final-day/ Fri, 16 Oct 2020 17:31:40 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40552

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2021 ASIAN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS ANNOUNCED

The final day of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s Technical Seminar Week kicked off with a webinar by esteemed Anti-doping consultant, Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity.

The seminar focused on National Federation responsibilities under the 2021 WADA Code, with guidance about what national bodies need to do to achieve compliance. The talk also celebrated high levels of engagement by IMMAF members on the WADA ADeL e-learning platform.

An open Q&A session with the IMMAF Events Team updated members about IMMAF’s plans for return to competition in 2021, following the cancellation of Championships in 2020, since March:

IMMAF announced its first confirmed 2021 event as the rescheduled Asian Open and Junior Asian Open Championships, set for Nur Sultan in Kazakhstan in the last week of June.

IMMAF is planning for a full events calendar next year, subject to the global pandemic, to include all continental championships, the World Championships, Youth World Championships and new World Teams event. All tournaments are in the final stages of contractual discussions between IMMAF and the respective Host Federations, with all being scheduled for the second half of the year.

The Events Team also gave updates on development projects that include the revised Operational Manual for IMMAF Championships, an instant scoring and match data system, a volunteer programme and a Sustainability Review (to be published next week).

In the President’s Closing Speech, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, gave further insight into IMMAF’s interim plans for facilitating more competition experience for athletes during these restricted times.

One of the concepts detailed by the President was a Grand Slam series, featuring invitational matches between top 10-ranked IMMAF competitors on the undercards of professional shows. Another proposal is for National Championships Leagues, where bouts take place across regional, inter-club events between teams of three men and two women in 6-minute bouts: These would not contribute to a competitor’s fight records.

The President was joined by the IMMAF CEO, Densign White MBE, who underlined IMMAF’s administrative priorities according to the 2021 – 24 Strategic Plan and gave closing directives to the National Federations.

The CEO accoladed the success of IMMAF’s first virtual Technical Seminar Week, which was moved online due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but proved IMMAF’s best attended Seminar Week yet. He also pointed to the eco-benefits of organising such events online in future.

Board Directors Bertrand Amoussou and Tatiana Klimenko closed by congratulating the seminar attendees, participants and IMMAF staff, and thanking the President and CEO for their dynamic leadership.

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Mixed Martial Arts boss to receive Queen of United Kingdom Birthday honour https://immaf.org/2020/10/16/mixed-martial-arts-boss-to-receive-queen-of-united-kingdom-birthday-honour/ Fri, 16 Oct 2020 17:28:25 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40550

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International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) CEO Densign White has been listed to receive a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) award in the 2020 Queen of the United Kingdom’s birthday honours list.

The order of the British Empire awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom, who have made a positive impact in their line of work. White has been accoladed for his services to sport, and particular his services to bettering diversity in sport.

The judo Olympian has been CEO of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation since November 2014. The organisation is seeking sport recognition for MMA (mixed martial arts) from the Olympic movement, in the face of well-publicised political opposition from other sport stakeholders. 

White also stands as Chairman of Sporting Equals, a charity whose purpose is to promote ethnic diversity in sport.

His athletic sporting credentials include triple Olympian, World Championship medallist, 5 times European medallist and Commonwealth Champion.

At the close of his competitive days, White embarked on a career in sports administration serving 11 years as the Chairman of the British Judo Association, from 2001 to 2012. He moved on to serve internationally as the European Judo Union Head Sports Director and has acted as an executive member of the British Olympic Association. 

In 2018, White was elected to the Council of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), an organisation founded to tackle corruption in sport. As one of few black administrative leaders in international sport, he has this year been appointed to SIGA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.

White remains a trustee the British Judo Trust and the Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy. 

Densign White commented:

“I have been fortunate my whole life to have been involved in sport in a variety of roles including as athlete and administrator. It is incredibly humbling to receive any recognition for ones work but especially from the Queen’s honours committee. This award is a recognition also of the incredible, dedicated and hard-working team at Sporting Equals trying to promote diversity and end discrimination. I passionately believe in fairness.  In this regard, sport still has some way to go. The concept of a level playing field needs to be applied on and off the field of play equally.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“I met Densign through judo at the age of twelve. We went on to represent Great Britain together in the Olympics. Over the years we have worked together in various contexts and have ended up at the helm of the same organisation in mixed martial arts. Densign is long-time friend, confidante and colleague. He has now achieved one of the highest recognitions you can receive in this country, and it is a fitting reward for his determination, consistent beliefs and values.

“This is also massive for the sport of MMA to have someone with his sporting values, recognised by the establishment, as the backbone of its international governing body.”

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IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day Four https://immaf.org/2020/10/15/immaf-virtual-technical-seminar-week-day-four/ Thu, 15 Oct 2020 15:58:20 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40547

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COVID, CONCUSSION & REGULATION IN MMA
ft. MARC GODDARD AND DR. DAVID H WANG

Today, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s Technical Seminar Week presented a webinar with the IMMAF Medical Commission’s Dr. David H Wang, entitled, “COVID – What we know, what we can do.”

Dr. David Wang is on the coal-face of the new-era COVID-security, writing and implementing strategies across large student body populations and working in sport advising on safe return to play. Wang is also a long experienced expert in concussion injuries.

In his talk, Wang gave guidance on current best practice for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in MMA training and events contexts. In the second part, he updated the IMMAF membership on the latest developments in understanding concussion injuries and how to mitigate and manage them. He also touched on new research into the impact of the coronavirus on concussion.

The second webinar of the day was led by refereeing icon and IMMAF Regulatory Affairs Director, Marc Goddard, on the topic of Regulatory Pathways and their importance in MMA, and was by far the most popular talk of the week so far.

As the educational lead for officials at IMMAF, Goddard has been responsible for the training of 100s of referees and judges worldwide, who have gone on to gain experience on the IMMAF Championships circuit under his tutelage. The pathway has been accoladed by professional MMA promoters through their engagement of IMMAF licensed officials. IMMAF officials to recently and currently grace UFC Fight Island, alongside Goddard, include Vito Paollilo (ITA), Angelo Tarantini, Clemens Werner (DEU), Victor Wolf (DEU), Philipp Neumann (DEU) and Ahmad Korchi (FRA). Goddard also presented the new IMMAF Fighting Area® that IMMAF has recently launched on the market.

Tomorrow  (Friday 16) sees the final day of IMMAF’s Technical Seminar week with a webinar led by Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken, of Sporting Integrity on “National Federation Responsibilities Under the 2021 WADA Code”. This will be followed by a Championships Q&A session for members with the IMMAF Events Team, joined by the IMMAF President. The week will conclude with a closing talk by IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and CEO Densign White MBE. In the final two talks of the day, the President is expected to update the membership on the status of planned IMMAF Championships for 2021, as well as new competition concepts that are in the works.

IMMAF members interested in attending any seminars, should contact their National Federation for information.

See the full updated, event programme below, and further information detailed on the event page at immaf.org

IMMAF TECHNICAL SEMINAR PROGRAMME 2020

12 – 16 OCTOBER 2020

MONDAY 12 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC+1):
President’s Welcome & CEO Update   
with President Kerrith Brown & CEO Densign White 

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
On Youth Development (4 – 11 year olds)
plus overview of “Lets Mix Martial Arts” for schools
with Dr. Andrew Moshanov, Director of Development

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Coaching Matters: Impact of rapid weight loss;
MMA Stand-Up & Groundwork Coach Pilot    
with Chris Kirk, PHD – Researcher John Moore University of Liverpool;
Richie Cranny, IMMAFA President, Wimp 2 Warrior founder    
          

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Women’s Commissions Assembly
(by private invitation for commission members only)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Social Media Workshop for National Federations
with IMMAF Social Media Manager, Andreas Georgiou (Uni4m Media);
IMMAF Brand & Communications Director, Izzy Carnwath

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Integrity, Transparency & Accountability
in the Governance of  MMA: How does your Federation Match Up?
with IMMAF CEO Densign White

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC +1)
MMA FIT (aerobic workout session)
with Bertrand Amoussou

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Cultivating National Membership
with Gosha Malik and Jorden Curran, Member Relations Team

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Commissions Catch-Up 
by private invitation for commission members only

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
“COVID – What we know, what we can do.”;
Concussions – 2020 Update
with Dr. David H Wang, IMMAF Medical Committee

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential
with Marc Goddard, IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs

FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Anti-doping: National Federation Responsibilities
Under the 2021 Code
with Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken (Sporting Integrity)                            

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Championships Q&A with Events Team
Live chat with IMMAF events team

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Presidents’ Closing Speech
with President Kerrith Brown

The post IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day Four appeared first on IMMAF.

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IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day Three https://immaf.org/2020/10/14/immaf-virtual-technical-seminar-week-day-three/ Wed, 14 Oct 2020 17:12:03 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40541

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IMMAF HOSTS MMA FIT® VIRTUAL WORK-OUT & ALL COMMISSIONS MEETING

The third day of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s annual Technical Seminar Week commenced with a virtual MMA FIT® work-out class, with attendees joining from around the world. 

Led by IMMAF Board Director, Bertrand Amoussou, the dance-based, MMA-inspired, aerobic work-out got the IMMAF membership moving to uplifting tunes, with virtual stage appearances from a dancing IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and Anti-doping Consultant Michele Verroken.

Coaches’ certificated training in MMA FIT® will be available shortly to members, so they can offer the classes to recreational gym attendees. Current programmes include MMA FIT Punch® and MMA FIT Shadow®. MMA FIT Power®, MMA FIT HIT®, MMA FIT Groove®, MMA FIT Zen®, MMA FIT Kid, and MMA FIT Battles® will also be coming soon. For more information visit mmafit.org

Moving onto governance matters, the IMMAF membership team, headed by Gosha Malik, led a seminar on “Cultivating your National Membership” with a presentation from Giles Goodwin of Global Sports Technology (GST) plus national case studies. GST is partnered with IMMAF for the provision of a new Customer Relations Management System, currently under pilot. The IMMAF membership package, available on the platform, is targeted at individual sport participants signing up to their National Federations, giving them access to IMMAF courses, course materials, the gradings system, licenses and registration for IMMAF tournaments. It includes additional member benefits, such as a subscription to IMMAF TV.

The day closed with an all Commissions’ Catch Up Meeting, in replacement of the annual Commissions’ Congress that was to take place at the cancelled World Championships. The session brought together the Chairs and Staff Liaisons of IMMAF’s 17 committees that were established or reformed this year, for the purpose of sharing an overview of their work and to create opportunities for the pooling of expertise. 

Participating committees were the: Athletes’ Commission; Business Development Commission; Communications and Marketing Commission; Competition Bidding Commission; Ethics Commission; Peace Through MMA Commission; Women’s Commission; Youth Development Commission; Anti-doping Committee; Anti-doping Disciplinary Committee; Arbitration Committee; Disciplinary Committee; Financial Audit Committee; Nominations Committee; Coaching Commission; Medical Commission; and Regulatory Affairs Commission.

IMMAF’s Technical Seminar week continues tomorrow (Thursday 15) for Day 4 which includes a medical session entitled “COVID – What we know, what we can do,” and a 2020 update on concussion. Tomorrow’s programme also features world renowned MMA referee and IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Goddard on “Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential”.

IMMAF members interested in attending any seminars, should contact their National Federation for information.

See the full updated, event programme below, and further information detailed on the event page at immaf.org

IMMAF TECHNICAL SEMINAR PROGRAMME 2020

12 – 16 OCTOBER 2020

MONDAY 12 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC+1):
President’s Welcome & CEO Update   
with President Kerrith Brown & CEO Densign White 

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
On Youth Development (4 – 11 year olds)
plus overview of “Lets Mix Martial Arts” for schools
with Dr. Andrew Moshanov, Director of Development

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Coaching Matters: Impact of rapid weight loss;
MMA Stand-Up & Groundwork Coach Pilot    
with Chris Kirk, PHD – Researcher John Moore University of Liverpool;
Richie Cranny, IMMAFA President, Wimp 2 Warrior founder    
          

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Women’s Commissions Assembly
(by private invitation for commission members only)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Social Media Workshop for National Federations
with IMMAF Social Media Manager, Andreas Georgiou (Uni4m Media);
IMMAF Brand & Communications Director, Izzy Carnwath

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Integrity, Transparency & Accountability
in the Governance of  MMA: How does your Federation Match Up?
with IMMAF CEO Densign White

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC +1)
MMA FIT (aerobic workout session)
with Bertrand Amoussou

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Cultivating National Membership
with Gosha Malik and Jorden Curran, Member Relations Team

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Commissions Catch-Up 
by private invitation for commission members only

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
“COVID – What we know, what we can do.”;
Concussions – 2020 Update
with Dr. David H Wang, IMMAF Medical Committee

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential
with Marc Goddard, IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs

FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Anti-doping: National Federation Responsibilities
Under the 2021 Code
with Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken (Sporting Integrity)                            

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Championships Q&A with Events Team
Live chat with IMMAF events team

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Presidents’ Closing Speech
with President Kerrith Brown

The post IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day Three appeared first on IMMAF.

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IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day Two https://immaf.org/2020/10/13/immaf-virtual-technical-seminar-week-day-two/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 16:27:53 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40527

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IMMAF HOSTS FIRST WOMEN’S COMMISSIONS ASSEMBLY

Today, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation held its inaugural Women’s Commissions Assembly (online) as part of IMMAF’s third Technical Seminar Week.

Following the launch of an IMMAF Women’s MMA Commission and National Women’s Commissions this year, the Assembly provided the first collective meeting between the burgeoning groups. 

As stated by IMMAF Women’s Chairwoman, Hayzia Bellem, in her opening talk,“our role is to give a voice to all the people representing female MMA.” 

The focus of the Assembly was the development of female participation in MMA at all levels, with input from around the world.

Contributors included IMMAF athletes from Ireland and Spain, Kiya O’Sullivan and Silvia Juaneda Munoz, representing two of the first IMMAF National Federations to create women’s commissions; MMA coach and renowned professional athlete Catherine Costigan; gym owner Alvina Mulpeter; referee Yeimy Ariza; and Panama National MMA Association President Yariela Mendoza – one of just two female presidents among IMMAF federations

Expert speakers from IMMAF included Athlete Development Consultant, Jorden Curran, on the role of promoters in developing women’s MMA and IMMAF Development Director Andrew Moshanov, who has been working on a coaches’ education module dedicated to the specifics of training women in MMA. 

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown took part and gave his words of support to the movement, highlighting the high value the IMMAF leadership places on female participation and empowerment in MMA.

In the following session, IMMAF Brand & Communications Director Izzy Carnwath and Uni4rm Media’s Andreas Georgiou presented a Social Media Workshop for National Federations.

CEO Densign White concluded the day with a seminar for National Federations on “Integrity, Transparency & Accountability in the Governance of  MMA”. He outlined integral components of good governance to meet international standards, including the role and responsibilities of the board, strategic planning, and financial and risk management.

IMMAF returns tomorrow (Wednesday 14) with Day 3 of its Technical Seminar Week, to include an all Commissions Catch-Up. See full programme below.

IMMAF members interested in attending any seminars, should contact their National Federation for information.

See the full updated, event programme below, and further information detailed on the event page at immaf.org

IMMAF TECHNICAL SEMINAR PROGRAMME 2020

12 – 16 OCTOBER 2020

MONDAY 12 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC+1):
President’s Welcome & CEO Update   
with President Kerrith Brown & CEO Densign White 

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
On Youth Development (4 – 11 year olds)
plus overview of “Lets Mix Martial Arts” for schools
with Dr. Andrew Moshanov, Director of Development

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Coaching Matters: Impact of rapid weight loss;
MMA Stand-Up & Groundwork Coach Pilot    
with Chris Kirk, PHD – Researcher John Moore University of Liverpool;
Richie Cranny, IMMAFA President, Wimp 2 Warrior founder    
          

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Women’s Commissions Assembly
(by private invitation for commission members only)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Social Media Workshop for National Federations
with IMMAF Social Media Manager, Andreas Georgiou (Uni4m Media);
IMMAF Brand & Communications Director, Izzy Carnwath

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Integrity, Transparency & Accountability
in the Governance of  MMA: How does your Federation Match Up?
with IMMAF CEO Densign White

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC +1)
MMA FIT (aerobic workout session)
with Bertrand Amoussou

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Cultivating National Membership
with Gosha Malik and Jorden Curran, Member Relations Team

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Commissions Catch-Up 
by private invitation for commission members only

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
“COVID – What we know, what we can do.”;
Concussions – 2020 Update
with Dr. David H Wang, IMMAF Medical Committee

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential
with Marc Goddard, IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs

FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Anti-doping: National Federation Responsibilities
Under the 2021 Code
with Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken (Sporting Integrity)                            

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Championships Q&A with Events Team
Live chat with IMMAF events team

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Presidents’ Closing Speech
with President Kerrith Brown

The post IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day Two appeared first on IMMAF.

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IMMAF Around the World: Spotlight on China https://immaf.org/2020/10/13/immaf-around-the-world-spotlight-on-china/ Tue, 13 Oct 2020 16:14:33 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40525

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by Sophie Mueller

Main image: IMMAF World and Asian Open Champion, Guangmei Han (China) competing at the 2019 World Championships

Last November, the MMA Department of Chinese Boxing Federation (MMADCBF) was approved as IMMAF’s national representative organisation in China. They are responsible for the management of China’s mixed martial arts project, researching and formulating development goals, policies, industry norms, standards and development plans for Chinese MMA. The MMADCBF also organise national MMA competitions in cooperation with IMMAF, as well as working to build a strong national MMA team to represent the country in various international competitions. 

As part of MMADCBF’s drive to develop and promote MMA, the federation has established training centers across the country in Baisha,Hainan Province; ZiBo, Shandong Province; Nanjing, Jiangsu Province: Haerbin, Heilongjiang Province; Qingdao and ShanDong Province. 

The MMADCBF also supports international and top domestic professional promotions, including the UFC and WKG&M-1.

“Currently board elections to the MMA Department of Chinese Boxing Federation are consistent with the structure of the Chinese Boxing Federation, and the executive committee is composed of the leaders of the Chinese Boxing Federation and various local boxing associations. In the next executive committee meeting, the MMA Department of Chinese Boxing Federation will apply for the establishment of the Chinese Boxing Federation Mixed Martial Arts Committee (equivalent to the board of directors of the MMA Department of Chinese Boxing Federation). The members of the committee will be elected from the main leaders of the local associations (or local sports authorities) that have carried out Mixed Martial Arts programs”, commented the MMADCBF about their elections and structure. 

Due to the strong, mature structure of MMADCBF, MMA has the potential to develop rapidly and steadily in China. 

Every two years, the MMADCBF holds national championship tournaments. The last national championship was held in Honhot, Inner Mongolia Province, China in 2017. The 2019 national championship fell through due to the celebration activities of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Due to the pandemic, the national championship was postponed again, and the MMADCBF’s plans to co-organise training and international certification with the IMMAF were also suspended. 

To qualify for the national team, the MMADCGF explains: 

“Athletes who have achieved excellent results in the National Championships will get put forward for the National Training Team, and then those athletes who win the championships in the Teaching Matches (trials) during National Team Training Camp will earn their place on the National Team.”

When asked about their proudest achievements, the MMADCGF comment: 

“MMA Department of Chinese Boxing Federation has landed agreements with all the World’s Top professional MMA promotions in China, including UFC, M-1, etc., and has also held [WMMAA] Asian Championships and World Championships in China.”

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IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day One https://immaf.org/2020/10/12/immaf-virtual-technical-seminar-week-day-one/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 17:40:43 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40514

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·        IMMAF UNVEILS ‘LET’S MIX MARTIAL ARTS’ PROGRAMME FOR 4 – 11 YEAR OLDS
·        IMMAF OFFERS NEW ‘STAND-UP’ & ‘GROUDWORK’ COACHING QUALIFICATIONS
·        PLUS PRESIDENT’S WELCOME & DAY ONE SUMMARY

On today’s opening day of IMMAF’s third Technical Seminar Week, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation unveiled its forthcoming “Lets Mix Martial Arts” programme for 4 to 11 year old school children, in a seminar led by IMMAF Director of Sport Development, Dr. Andrew Moshanov. 

The focus on of the talk was the additional training that will be required of IMMAF certified coaches, besides vetting in accordance with national child protection policies, and why. It looked at the phases of cognitive, physical and social engagement in young children; the importance of measuring and adapting to the developmental profiles of individual children; and how developmental gaps should be addressed before a child embarks on any sport specific development. An overview was given of the “Let’s Mix Martial Arts” programme, which will be available to National Federations soon.

The first day of  IMMAF Technical Seminar Week 2020 attracted 150 registrants online, peaking at 100 members in attendance at any one time.

Today’s programme was opened by IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, whose welcome talk celebrated 2020’s achievements, including the legalisation and regulation of MMA in France, after many years of determined campaigning:

“And with international MMA hitting Paris last week, we watched the sport truly arrive. This pivotal moment creates waves outside France, since the ban there has shaped the Council of Europe’s perception of the sport and impacted our application for GAISF recognition. “

He moved onto address what an extremely challenging year it had been for the IMMAF family, “since the bombshell of the global pandemic took hold” and the ensuing cancellation of 2020 Championships.

Looking ahead with reference to IMMAF’s new 2021 – 24 Strategy Plan, the President homed in on the continued priorities for IMMAF of sport development, attaining sport and Olympic recognition and commercialisation. He pledged enhanced investment into the areas of commercial, PR and marketing, from IMMAF’s increasing hosting rights income, in order to grow IMMAF’s brand and consumer value

In the face of the COVID pandemic, the President rallied IMMAF’s members: 

“It is our duty now to put everything in place for MMA to emerge on an even stronger platform when sport can fully resume again. We must keep focused on our long term dream of Olympic recognition, which we continue to move closer to every passing week. We are fighting people, well used to standing up again every time we are knocked down and well tested in holding our ground when in a corner. We well know how to feel out the opportunities to reverse any fight. And so, together, as an unwavering force, we cannot be stopped.”

The IMMAF CEO, Densign White, who has been listed for a Queen’s Birthday Honours Award of an MBE, thanked the membership for their messages saying that he had been “overwhelmed by the response from my IMMAF and judo families”.

White updated the membership about the status of IMMAF’s ongoing application to GAISF for sport recognition, against continued resistance from other sports, and described communications with the body as ongoing. He underlined the importance of international sport recognition due to its impact on local recognition and the mandate for National Federations to govern and regulate the sport. Meanwhile, he noted that 49 of IMMAF’s member federations now have national level recognition. White also cited improvements in the new World Anti-doping Agency Code for 2021 which will give the organisation more independence in approving signatories. He stated his hope that through ongoing conversations with WADA, IMMAF could yet avoid going to court with them, though a court date has been set for January. He also spoke of IMMAF’s recent positive Governance Audit, completed Annual Report and the continuance of UFC sponsorship into 2021

The closing session of the day was a Coaching Matters seminar, featuring two topics and speakers: PHD researcher, Chris Kirk of Liverpool John Moore University (UK) talked about the risks posed by rapid weight cuts to athletes, while IMMAF Australia President Richie Cranny fed back on his recent national pilot of IMMAF Stand-Up & Groundwork Coaching qualifications for MMA. The courses and qualifications are now available from IMMAF for National Federations

All today’s seminars are available on demand for members

IMMAF returns tomorrow (Tuesday 13) with Day 2 of its Technical Seminar Week. See full programme below.

IMMAF members interested in attending any seminars, should contact their National Federation for information.

See the full updated, event programme below, and further information detailed on the event page at immaf.org

IMMAF TECHNICAL SEMINAR PROGRAMME 2020

12 – 16 OCTOBER 2020

MONDAY 12 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC+1):
President’s Welcome & CEO Update   
with President Kerrith Brown & CEO Densign White 

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
On Youth Development (4 – 11 year olds)
plus overview of “Lets Mix Martial Arts” for schools
with Dr. Andrew Moshanov, Director of Development

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Coaching Matters: Impact of rapid weight loss;
MMA Stand-Up & Groundwork Coach Pilot    
with Chris Kirk, PHD – Researcher John Moore University of Liverpool;
Richie Cranny, IMMAFA President, Wimp 2 Warrior founder    
          

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Women’s Commissions Assembly
(by private invitation for commission members only)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Social Media Workshop for National Federations
with IMMAF Social Media Manager, Andreas Georgiou (Uni4m Media);
IMMAF Brand & Communications Director, Izzy Carnwath

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Integrity, Transparency & Accountability
in the Governance of  MMA: How does your Federation Match Up?
with IMMAF CEO Densign White

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC +1)
MMA FIT (aerobic workout session)
with Bertrand Amoussou

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Cultivating National Membership
with Gosha Malik and Jorden Curran, Member Relations Team

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Commissions Congress 
by private invitation for commission members only

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
“COVID – What we know, what we can do.”;
Concussions – 2020 Update
with Dr. David H Wang, IMMAF Medical Committee

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential
with Marc Goddard, IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs

FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Anti-doping: National Federation Responsibilities
Under the 2021 Code
with Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken (Sporting Integrity)                            

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Championships Q&A with Events Team
Live chat with IMMAF events team

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Presidents’ Closing Speech
with President Kerrith Brown

The post IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week – Day One appeared first on IMMAF.

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Northern Ireland Sports Minister meets with Ulster MMA Association & IMMAF to further youth development through MMA https://immaf.org/2020/10/12/northern-ireland-sports-minister-meets-with-ulster-mma-association-immaf-to-further-youth-development-through-mma/ Mon, 12 Oct 2020 17:26:04 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40507

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On 7 October, Northern Ireland Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín attended a meeting with Ulster Amateur MMA Association and IMMAF representatives to discuss government support for youth development through MMA projects and the furtherance of recognition for the sport in the region. The Minister’s proposed gym visit to ZK Dojo had been moved onto Zoom, due to restrictions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

UAMMAA founder and chairman, Danny Corr, gave a presentation of his work with potentially “left-behind” youths in politically divided areas of Belfast. His Fight to Unite programme, at ZK Dojo, has a successful track record in delivering GCSE maths and English tuition, OCN level 3 coaching qualifications and personal development for young MMA practitioners. His acclaimed work has received governmental support, as well as support from Laureus Support for Sport and Fight for Peace.

Since then in partnership with Denis Rowan Associates, Corr has been working to develop a cross-border “Sport for Peace” project with UAMMAA’s counterparts in the Republic of Ireland, the Irish Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA), which will be based in Drogheda with backing from the LMETB. Through the latter formation of IMMAF’s “Peace Through MMA Commission”, with Corr as its Chair, the international federation is now further developing the blueprint to roll out through other National Federations.

Due to disruptions to gym activities caused by COVID-19, Corr detailed on the call how “Fight to Unite” has managed to continue its training of youths via Facebook and video tutorial. Project partner, Emmet Clerkin, outlined plans for work placements abroad for young people on completing their qualifications through the programme, which would further help usher them into the workplace.

The Minister expressed her concern about the impact of Covid restrictions on the mental and physical health of youths and personally testified to the positive effects that engagement with combat sports can have, even through virtual classes at this time. She voiced her support for the initiative, touching on the status of sport recognition for MMA in Northern Ireland, where it is currently not recognised by Sport Northern Ireland. The proposal for an All Ireland approach to the recognition of MMA was raised, since the sport also lacks formal recognition in the Republic, and MMA participants continue to train and compete across both sides of the border.

Participating in the meeting with Minster Carál Ní Chuilín and Danny Corr were: Denis Rowan (Denis Rowan & Associates), Emmet Clerkin (Director LLS Online), Peter Lavery (Head Coach Kyoujin), Jack Corr (Coach and Athlete), Tony Murphy (Department of Communities), Ronin McGinlay (Special Advisor to the Minister), Kerrith Brown (IMMAF President) and Izzy Carnwath (IMMAF Director of Brand and Communications).

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“We are hugely grateful to Minister Carál Ní Chuilín for her insightful support for the Fight for Unite project and for the development of good governance for MMA in Northern Ireland. It was extremely positive to hear of her direct experience of the positive impact that engagement in martial arts can have in communities, and its power to connect with young people who might be ‘hard-to-reach’ or left behind. We, at IMMAF, are immensely proud of Danny Corr’s achievements in Northern Ireland, which are well demonstrated in the data he presented. This includes an impressive rate of young people obtaining qualifications through the project.”

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IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week commences tomorrow https://immaf.org/2020/10/11/immaf-virtual-technical-seminar-week-commences-tomorrow/ Sun, 11 Oct 2020 11:05:31 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40506

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12 – 16 OCTOBER 2020

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s third annual Technical Seminar Week kicks off tomorrow, Monday 12 October 2020. Due to international restrictions on gathering and travel, IMMAF is hosting its full programme live and on-demand for members only.

The first day includes a welcome talk from IMMAF President Kerrith Brown in which he is expected to summarise the achievements and challenges of 2020 and give an overview of IMMAF’s strategy and vision moving into 2021. This will be followed by an administrative update from the IMMAF CEO Densign White, and the opportunity for members to ask questions.

One of the highlights of the week is scheduled to follow with the “On Youth Development for 4 – 11 year olds” seminar led by IMMAF Director of Sport Development, Dr. Andrew Mosahov. The talk is set to include an overview presentation of IMMAF’s forthcoming “Lets Mix Martial Arts” programme for schools, which takes IMMAF’s progression pathway down into younger years development.

This is to be followed the Coaching Matters seminar, which will feature two topics and speakers: PHD researcher, Chris Kirk of Liverpool John Moore University (UK) will be talking about the impact of rapid weight loss on athletes, while IMMAF Australia President Richie Cranny will feed back on the recent national pilot of IMMAF Stand-Up & Groundwork Coach qualifications for MMA.

IMMAF members interested in attending any seminars, should contact their National Federation for information.

See the full updated, event programme below, and further information detailed on the event page at immaf.org

IMMAF TECHNICAL SEMINAR PROGRAMME 2020

MONDAY 12 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC+1)
President’s Welcome & CEO Update
with President Kerrith Brown & CEO Densign White

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
On Youth Development (4 – 11 year olds)
plus overview of “Lets Mix Martial Arts” for schools
with Dr. Andrew Moshanov, Director of Development

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Coaching Matters: Impact of rapid weight loss;
MMA Stand-Up & Groundwork Coach Pilot
with Chris Kirk, PHD – Researcher John Moore University of Liverpool;
Richie Cranny, IMMAFA President, Wimp 2 Warrior founder

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Women’s Commissions Assembly
(by private invitation for commission members only)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Social Media Workshop for National Federations
with IMMAF Social Media Manager, Andreas Georgiou (Uni4m Media);
IMMAF Brand & Communications Director, Izzy Carnwath

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Integrity, Transparency & Accountability
in the Governance of MMA: How does your Federation Match Up?

with IMMAF CEO Densign White

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC +1)
MMA FIT (aerobic workout session)
with Bertrand Amoussou

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Cultivating National Membership
with Gosha Malik and Jorden Curran, Member Relations Team

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Commissions’ Catch Up
by private invitation for commission members only

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
“COVID – What we know, what we can do.”
Concussions – 2020 Update
with Dr. David H Wang, IMMAF Medical Committee

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential
with Marc Goddard, IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs

FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Anti-doping: National Federation Responsibilities Under the 2021 Code
with Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken (Sporting Integrity)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Championships Q&A with Events Team
Live chat with IMMAF events team

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Presidents’ Closing Speech
with President Kerrith Brown

The post IMMAF Virtual Technical Seminar Week commences tomorrow appeared first on IMMAF.

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IMMAF Around the World: Spotlight on Spain https://immaf.org/2020/10/09/immaf-around-the-world-spotlight-on-spain/ Fri, 09 Oct 2020 08:32:26 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40498

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By Sophie Mueller

Main image: Spain’s Antoni Josep Marti Segarra places Bronze in the 2019 IMMAF Junior World Championships

Antonio Garcia

FELUCHA (the Spanish Federation of Olympic Wrestling) is the only entity recognised by the government of Spain and the Higher Sports Council for the governance of MMA.

Antonio Garcia from the FELUCHA MMA Technical Committee explains, “FELUCHA is a national federation with Olympic status, that provides a solid structure and privileges for the sport of MMA that would have been impossible to achieve in Spain through an independent association.”

Through the organisation’s dedicated work and government support, the Spanish Amateur MMA Championship is held every year, creating the opportunity for the resulting champion in each weight class to represent their country in IMMAF’s international championships. Notwithstanding the fall-out from COVID19, FELUCHA is preparing its next national championship for November 2020.

The federation holds its presidential elections every four years. Once a year, it holds a National Assembly with several other assemblies also hosted throughout the year. Currently FELUCHA has 300 club members and holds open training courses for coaches at least three times a year.

Since FELUCHA created its dedicated National Professional MMA Committee, it has taken on the sanctioning of professional MMA events in Spain. The organisation provides trained referees, as well as technical and legal support to promoters of professional events.

When asked about their proudest achievements, Garcia comments:

“We have a professional fighter that has come up through our federation now in the UFC, Juan Espino; and we are proud of the results obtained last year by our national amateur team in international IMMAF championships.

“It is also fantastic that MMA in Spain has achieved Olympic recognition and government support. Looking forward, we are eager to watch our counterparts in other IMMAF nations likewise gain their national Olympic recognition.”

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IMMAF celebrates France’s first 2 MMA events in 3 days since ban lifted https://immaf.org/2020/10/08/immaf-celebrates-frances-first-2-mma-events-in-3-days-since-ban-lifted/ Thu, 08 Oct 2020 14:02:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40494

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  • “BELLATOR PARIS” ARRIVES AS FIRST GLOBAL, MARQUEE MMA EVENT
  • MMA GRAND PRIX STAGES FIRST MMA MATCHES SINCE BAN


The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is celebrating MMA’s achievement of two first events in France following the sport’s legalisation earlier this year: International promoter Bellator sets the precedent this Saturday, October 10 at the Accor Arena, with a major event in Paris; while tonight’s local event, MMA Grand Prix, provides a debut for regulated MMA competition at the Palais de Sports de Vitry-jsur-Seine, broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.

Government recognition of MMA in January came after more than a decade’s campaigning by IMMAF’s national federation in France (CFMMA), headed by IMMAF Board Director Bertrand Amoussou, alongside other stakeholders and supported by the international federation.

Following an open tender process among national combat sports federations, the French Sports Ministry granted the French Boxing Federation the responsibility of supervising the first phase of development of the sport and establishing a new national MMA federation under its auspices.

The new French MMA Federation (FMMAF) is affiliated with the IMMAF and has been working closely with the international federation to establish training pathways, coaches’ and officials’ licensing, and rules, regulations and protocol for the sport. It is the only organisation that can hold National MMA Championships in the country and manage a national MMA team for IMMAF international tournaments.

It is also the FMMAF that has the mandate to sanction this weekend’s MMA events, and all future professional and amateur MMA events in France. Part of this role includes the training and licensing of officials.

Speaking of the FMMAF’s work with Bellator, as first global MMA promoter on french soil, French Boxing’s Administrative Director, Jean Baptiste Marsaud, said:

“Bellator 248 is a great promotion of MMA in France. The FMMAF is delighted to have been able to collaborate with Bellator, through a professional and intelligent collaboration.”

IMMAF Board Director Bertrand Amoussou commented:

“This is what we have been fighting for all these years, for the right to hold regulated MMA events in France and for the sport to be recognised. I wish the promoters good luck and hope that the French public will appreciate the show.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“This week’s MMA events in France, and the welcoming of an international promoter, mark a new era for the sport in the country. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of French Boxing to put a structure around the sport for the deliverance of a gold standard for all its participants, from the recreational up to professional, making it a safe, accessible and beneficial sport for all.”

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IMMAF Around the World: Australia https://immaf.org/2020/10/07/immaf-around-the-world-australia/ Wed, 07 Oct 2020 07:59:46 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40489

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An Interview with IMMAFA President Richie Cranny

By Sophie Mueller

Richie Cranny

IMMAFA (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Australia) is the governing body of MMA in Australia, with currently 25 clubs as members and looking to increase that number significantly over the next 12 months.

IMMAFA President, Richie Cranny, comments:

 “The awareness of IMMAFA here in Australia has increased exponentially in the past eighteen months. This is mainly from the continued push to get as many coaches and officials accredited under our federation and of course through IMMAF itself. Australia was one of the first countries to run the new level 1 courses and now has over 60 recognised coaches and over 20 officials The other successful project has been the expansion of our National Team with tryouts held in multiple states and the expansion of our already experienced national coaching team.”

To-date there have been five coaches’ education courses held in three different states. Additionally, IMMAFA has pioneered a new format for the coaching course with plans for an international launch in 2021 through the international federation.

IMMAFA holds elections every 2 years and their last election was held in August 2019 when Richie Cranny was voted as the new President and Craig Jehn as their new Vice-president.
In ordinary times, the federation tries to hold board meetings every 6 months. Their discussion was about planning for future courses, for the accreditation of both officials and coaches. They also discussed plans for their first ever National Championships.

IMMAFA is currently working towards gaining official recognition as a NSO (National Sporting Organisation) in Australia.

Despite the upward struggle, Richie says, “I am in regular touch with many of the state combat boards, building relationships and demonstrating our professional approach and our continued support for our athletes and the growth of the sport.”

Meanwhile, IMMAFA can boast some very experienced officials, some of which work across professional shows around Australia and even in the UFC:

“We have a great relationship with most of the promotions here, the main ones being XFC and Eternal MMA.”

When asked about IMMAFA’S proudest achievements, Richie Cranny comments:

“Hosting the 2020 Oceania on the Gold Coast. It was an amazing event and our athletes really did us proud. Also, being the first country in the world to roll out the new IMMAF grading system.”

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Online meetings boost IMMAF relations and global communications during world pandemic https://immaf.org/2020/10/05/online-meetings-boost-immaf-relations-and-global-communications-during-world-pandemic/ Mon, 05 Oct 2020 10:20:13 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40480

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In recent months the IMMAF has moved to bring communication with its global membership to a high, despite operating in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the international limitations that it has ushered.

Following the 2020 Oceania Open Championships back in March, the worldwide pandemic forced the cancellation of this year’s remaining IMMAF circuit including the hotly anticipated second edition of Youth World Championships and the marquee IMMAF World Championships, the premier platform for amateur mixed martial arts. IMMAF championship events provide a high volume of opportunity for networking, meetings, EGMs, AGMs and significant progression, with leaders of IMMAF’s 100+ member nations in attendance. Further limitations hindering development included restriction of IMMAF staff travel and the unpredictable changes effecting the productivity of IMMAF members, nation to nation.

IMMAF’s member relations team moved quickly to address the risk of distance growing between the international body and its member nations. For the many leaders of MMA’s national federations and associations, opportunity for productivity remains limited with varied lockdown restrictions and government resources dedicated to tackling the pandemic. However, the benefit of education, discussion and consideration remains with opportunity to consider the future and how to move forward. And so, recent months have seen national leaders from around the world attend monthly online meetings via the Zoom communication platform.

Each month has introduced a new and informative topic including presentations on harnessing media platforms, the importance to build and maintain engagement with member clubs and individuals, IMMAF’s cutting edge direction for grass roots youth development coming in 2021, plus updates from the IMMAF President and CEO with Q&A sessions for the IMMAF leadership.

Taking place throughout the month, meetings are catered to time zones and/or language where required, such as Africa (English), Africa (French), Central Asia/Russian speaking, Oceania, Arabic speaking, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and more. Subsequent feedback and national developments as a result of the online catchups have resulted in the decision to maintain the monthly projects, indefinitely.

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IMMAF freezes athlete & team rankings for 2020-21 https://immaf.org/2020/10/01/immaf-freezes-athlete-team-rankings-for-2020-21/ Thu, 01 Oct 2020 21:49:16 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40478

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced its decision to freeze the ranking points for the IMMAF World Amateur MMA Rankings for both Athletes and National Teams, (backdated) from 8 March 2020 until 9 March 2021, subject to the global pandemic situation.

This is due to the cancellation of all IMMAF tournaments in 2020, with the exception of the Oceania Open that took place in Australia between 6th and 8th March. IMMAF is planning to resume its competitions in 2021.

The IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, said:

“The reason for this decision by the IMMAF Board is to ensure fairness in light of the cancellation of competitions this year. This is to allow the value earned in ranking points to be carried over to when competitions recommence. We are fully planning to come back bigger and stronger in 2021 and we will make sure, for our athletes, that it will have been worth the wait.”

ABOUT THE IMMAF WORLD AMATEUR MMA RANKINGS:

The IMMAF World Amateur MMA Rankings are determined by the points accrued by athletes and National Teams through participation in IMMAF Continental Open and World Championships. Full ranking points are issued where there are twenty (20) or more national teams competing at an event. Where there are less than twenty (20) nations competing, then only 50% of the full ranking points are issued.

In ordinary times, the points gained in each individual competition expire as follows:

· For the first 12 months, ranking points retain their full value (100%)
· After 12 months, the value of the points decreases by 50%.
· After 24 months, the value of the points is reduced to 0.

To view the IMMAF World Amateur Rankings go to https://immaf.org/rankings/
For all enquiries contact IMMAF Championships Director, alistair.pettitt@immaf.org

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IMMAF Certified Fighting Area ® (MMA Ring) hits the market https://immaf.org/2020/10/01/immaf-certified-fighting-area-mma-ring-hits-the-market/ Thu, 01 Oct 2020 12:33:24 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40403

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is proud to bring to market its first ever certified, IMMAF Fighting Area ® (MMA Ring) for academies, gyms, clubs and events globally.

The IMMAF built ring is now available to buy, following lengthy consultation, design, development and manufacturing periods, under world-renowned referee and IMMAF Regulatory Affairs Director, Marc Goddard.

With athlete safety at the heart of its design, IMMAF Fighting Area ® has been developed based on the collective, global experience of IMMAF and WMMAA officials that spans 10,000s of mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts worldwide over more than a decade.

The bespoke, floor-standing ring features enhanced modifications to ensure fast and easy assembly, safe use, disassembly and storage.

It boasts several unique and essential design modifications that will see it as a first-in-class product, setting the recommended standard for IMMAF National Federations and for all MMA competitions held under IMMAF or Unified rules and regulations.

The Fighting Area comes complete with its own storage box and accessories.

Download Full Product Specifications [here]

For all sales enquires contact info@immaf.org

WATCH VIDEO: Introducing the IMMAF Fighting Area ® with Marc Goddard, IMMAF Head of Regulatory Affairs

WATCH VIDEO: In-Depth Walk-through of the IMMAF Fighting Area ®

IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affair, Marc Goddard, said:

“I’m personally thrilled to bring this project to the fore. For more years than I can remember the ring, as the centre piece of any MMA event, has always been at the forefront of my mind, and eyes! I urge you to take a look at the accompanying videos where I explain the origins, reasons and benefits of the IMMAF Fighting Area.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“The calibre of the MMA ring is fundamental to competitor safety, which is a driving motive of IMMAF’s. Anyone who has been in the sport a while will have their own horror stories that illustrate the perils of poorly made equipment. This is why, as part of our regulatory drive, IMMAF has taken the design and building of certified rings for its Championships in-house, drawing on the vast technical experience of our Regulatory Affairs Commission and global network of officials. We are proud to now be able offer this certified product for purchase to our National Federations and the wider MMA market, to again raise the safety standard across the sport.”

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IMMAF presents Virtual Technical Seminar Week https://immaf.org/2020/09/30/immaf-presents-virtual-technical-seminar-week/ Wed, 30 Sep 2020 14:41:03 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40391

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12 – 16 October 2020
For IMMAF Members

The International Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF) presents its third annual Technical Seminar Week from 12 to 16 October 2020. Due to current international restrictions on gathering and travel, IMMAF will host this year’s event online, live and on-demand.

Among a range of topics from good governance in sport; visualisation for elite performance; and regulatory affairs to a social media workshop and an MMA FIT work-out class, highlight topics are set to include:

  • an exclusive overview of IMMAF’s forthcoming program for 4 – 11 year old children: “Lets Mix Martial Arts”
  • “COVID – What we know, what we can do,” with the IMMAF Medical Committee’s Dr H. Wang

The IMMAF President and CEO in their welcome talk can also be expected make some key announcements. Meanwhile, two assemblies will take place – the Women’s Commissions’ Congress and the (all) Commissions Assembly.

Of the Seminar Week, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, commented:

“While the global lock-down has restricted the organisation of competitions and physical events, the IMMAF family has used the time opportunity to focus on governance and upskilling as we continue to strive to meet the highest standards, with the aim to come back stronger in 2021. This Seminar Week presents an opportunity for IMMAF to come together again as a community, and we are pleased to offer members a range of educational seminars to assist the continued development and growth of their organisations during this time.”

IMMAF members interested in attending, should contact their National Federation for information.

See the full event programme below.

IMMAF TECHNICAL SEMINAR PROGRAMME 2020

MONDAY 12 OCTOBER:

13:00 hrs (UTC+1):
President’s Welcome & CEO Update:
(For All the Latest Developments)
President Kerrith Brown & CEO Densign White

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
On Youth Development (4 – 11 year olds):
plus exclusive overview of the IMMAF program for schools, “Lets Mix Martial Arts”
with Andrew Moshanov – IMMAF Director of Sport Development; Ott Tonissar;
EMMAF President (Estonia); Vartan Aparian – CMMAF (Cyprus);
Ryan Phillips – MMASA (South Africa)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Coaching Matters: Visualisation for Athlete Performance;
Impact of Rapid Weight Loss
with Vinny Shoreman – Mind Coach; and
Chris Kirk, PHD – Researcher John Moore University of Liverpool

TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER:

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Women’s Commissions Assembly (by private invitation only)

15:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Social Media Workshop for National Federations
with Andreas Georgiou (Uni4m Media), IMMAF Social Media Manager;
Izzy Carnwath IMMAF Comms Director; plus, special guest (TBC)

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Integrity, Transparency & Accountability in the Governance of MMA
with IMMAF CEO Densign White

WEDNESDAY 14 OCTOBER

13:00 hrs (UTC +1)
MMA FIT (workout session)
with Bertrand Amoussou, IMMAF Board Director

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Cultivating National Membership
Gosha Malik, Member Relations Manager;
and Jorden Curran, Member Development Consultant

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Commissions Congress (by private invitation only)

THURSDAY 15 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
“COVID – What we know, what we can do.”
with Dr. David H Wang, IMMAF Medical Committee

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential in MMA
with Marc Goddard, IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs

FRIDAY 16 OCTOBER

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Anti-doping: National Federation Responsibilities Under the 2021 Code
with Michele Verroken, IMMAF Anti-doping Consultant

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Championships Q&A with Events Team
Live chat with IMMAF events team

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Presidents’ Closing Speech
with President Kerrith Brown

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IMMAF Around the World: Spotlight on Ukraine https://immaf.org/2020/09/28/immaf-around-the-world-spotlight-on-ukraine/ Mon, 28 Sep 2020 16:37:56 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40324

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An interview with MMAUKR Vice-president, Anton Blank, by Sophie Mueller.

MMAUKR Vice-president Anton Blank with the IMMAF President

Since 2012, governing body MMA Ukraine (MMAUKR) has gained recognition from its Sports Ministry, as the only organisation in the Ukraine mandated to develop the sport of MMA. Currently the organisation has more than 200 member clubs.

“The federation has national status. There is a representative office in each region of the country, which is engaged in the development of MMA in its region: These are responsible for opening gyms and organising tournaments and events, as well as bringing athletes to all-Ukrainian competitions,” says Vice-president for Regional Development of the Eastern Region, Anton Blank.

The Ukrainian federation holds its general meeting at the end of each year: “At it, we sum up the results of the outgoing year, award the best athletes, coaches, judges, heads of regional federations and our partners. The last meeting was held in January. In addition to the awarding ceremony, new vice-presidents were elected to the Federation Presidium.”

President Oleg Gennadyevich Rozhkevich has been elected for a ten-year term, which extends to vice-presidents and honorary presidents. Four vice-presidents were the last to join the board in January: Sergey Samoilenko, Igor Gergelyuk, Mikhail Smolka and Anton Blank.

Speaking of the federation’s activity in organising MMA competitions, Blank details, “We hold the Ukrainian National Championship for participants of all ages, the Cup of Ukraine, as well as open regional cups and championships. The last all-Ukrainian event was the Ukrainian Cup in December.”

At that event, winners are selected for the national team to represent Ukraine on the international stage, while the second and third places become alternates.

In the wake of COVID19, MMAUKR’s current goals are to resume their regular tournaments as well as launching a permanent professional league.

Blank comments: “This will allow athletes who have completed their amateur career to move into the professional league, increasing the recognition of MMA among the population of the country. For this, we are working with media resources, authorities and law enforcement agencies. We already held the first championship among law enforcement agencies in June this year.”

With the support of its sports ministry, local authorities in the region and a good infrastructure, MMAUKR has held preparatory camps for the Ukrainian national team in several cities of the country. They invited a range of coaches to exchange experience with the head coach of the national team, themselves and with the athletes. MMAUKR has a number of qualified judges and has completely reformed the competition and judging system.

“Several of our judges were trained and certified by Mark Goddard and gained practice at the IMMAF World and European Championships,” testifies Blank. “They have since organised judicial seminars in every major city in the country.”

Blank equally describes refereeing by MMAUKR’s officials as “the highest quality among all mixed martial arts organisations in the territory of Ukraine”.

Due to this, MMAUKR’s officials are invited to work across professional MMA, professional combat sambo, “free-fighting” and Cossacks’ fighting.

When asked about their proudest achievements, Blank comments, “Our biggest organisational achievements are the reform of judging and the management of competitions according to IMMAF standards. In terms of sporting achievements, these are the gold medals won at the IMMAF-WMMAA world championships by female competitors, Daria Samchyk and Anastasia Svetkivska, as well as Svetkivska’s gold at the European Championships. Among the men, this would be the European gold medal won by Pavel Senchenko, as well as the gold medals from the World and European Championships of Ata Atdaev.”

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IMMAF Around the World: Spotlight on Italy https://immaf.org/2020/09/24/immaf-around-the-world-spotlight-on-italy/ Thu, 24 Sep 2020 09:45:19 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40215

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By Sophie Mueller

Since 2016, when FIGMMA (Federazione Italiana Grappling Mixed Martial Arts) was formally elected as an IMMAF member, the organisation has progressed its governance of MMA in Italy. In fact, today, FIGMMA’S Vice-president Vito Paolillo describes FIGMMA as having “an absolute monopoly” on the sport in Italy.

“FIGMMA is growing a lot thanks to the incredible success of the MMA discipline in Italy and around the world,” comments Paolillo.

The federation holds board elections every four years. The board consists of the Federal President Saverio Longo, Vice-president Vito Paolillo and MMA consultants Fabio Ciolli and Filippo Stabile. The board’s most recent discussion was concerning the affiliation process for club members for 2021, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although MMA was recognised by Italy’s National Olympic Committee from 2009 to 2013, the sport lost its recognition after United World Wrestling (under which MMA was housed) relinquished its guardianship of MMA. FIGMMA is currently operating under the recognition of the Italian Federation of Judo, Wrestling, Karate and Martial Arts.

“Today FIGMMA is working to get National Olympic Committee recognition again for the sport of MMA, even if it will not be easy to obtain it before the IMMAF obtains recognition from the GAISF,” explains Paolillo.

When asked about FIGMMA’S current goal, the Vice-president comments, “We are waiting to be absorbed by the Italian Federation of Judo Wrestling Karate Martial Arts (FIJLKAM).”

Despite the obstacle of gaining back recognition for MMA, FIGMMA’s proudests achievements have been the successful organisation of two IMMAF international events in 2019 – the Senior and Junior European Championships and the Youth World Championships, followed by FIGMMA athletes and officials being selected by the UFC.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIGMMA has 180 affiliated club members in 2020, compared with 192 in 2019. Even though the federation is focused on the development of amateur MMA, it is also responsible for sanctioning and regulating almost all professional MMA events in Italy.

In addition, FIGMMA activities includes organising national officials courses across the country, throughout the year, along with organising three national competitions every year. The last competition was the 9th Italian Cup, which took place in Rome on the 15 December 2019.

FIGMMA has providing weekly news updates and online examinations, using platforms such as Microsoft Teams, to keep officials focused due to the lack of tournaments and events at this time.

WATCH FIGMMA’S 2019 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS HIGHLIGHTS:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNy_jcI5xaw&ab_channel=FIGMMA

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IMMAF presents Virtual Technical Seminar Week for National Federations https://immaf.org/2020/09/16/immaf-presents-virtual-technical-seminar-week-for-national-federations/ Wed, 16 Sep 2020 13:03:23 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40209

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation invites members to attend its third annual Technical Seminar congress from 12 to 16 October 2020. Due to current international restrictions on gathering and travel, IMMAF will host this year’s event online, live and on-demand.

With finalised programme and access information to be released shortly, IMMAF has published the event schedule as detailed below.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“While the global lock-down has restricted the organisation of competitions and physical events, we must use the time opportunity to focus on governance and upskilling as we continue to strive to meet the highest standards with the aim to come back stronger in 2021. The Seminar Week presents an opportunity to come together again as a community and we are pleased to offer National Federation delegates a range of educational seminars to assist the continued development and growth of their organisations during this time.”

If there are any particular topics members would like to see covered in a session, please contact the seminar organiser.

IMMAF TECHNICAL SEMINAR PROGRAMME 2020

Monday 12 October

13:00 hrs (UTC+1):
President’s Welcome & CEO Update: (For All the Latest Developments)
President Kerrith Brown & CEO Densign White

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
On Youth Development (4 – 11 year olds)
Coaching Commission   
contact: andrew.moshanov@immaf.org                       

15:00 hrs
Coaching Matters (title TBC)
Coaching Commission
contact: andrew.moshanov@immaf.org

Tuesday 13 October

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Women’s Commissions Assembly  
contact: gosha.malik@immaf.org

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Social Media Workshop for National Federations
Andreas Georgiou (Uni4m Media), IMMAF Social Media Manager;
Izzy Carnwath IMMAF Comms Director; plus special guest (TBC)
contact: isobel.carnwath@immaf.org

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Integrity, Transparency & Accountability in the Governance of MMA: How does your Federation Match Up?
IMMAF CEO Densign White
contact: isobel.carnwath@immaf.org

Wednesday 14 October

13:00 hrs (UTC +1)
MMA FIT (workout session)
Bertrand Amoussou, IMMAF Board Director

14:00 hrs (UTC+1):
Cultivating National Membership
Gosha Malik, Member Relations Manager; and Jorden Curran, Member Development Consultant
contact: gosha.malik@immaf.org

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Commissions Congress (by private invitation for commission members only)

Thursday 15 October

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Championships Q&A with Events Team 
Live chat with IMMAF events team
contact: 
alistair.pettitt@immaf.org

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Why Regulatory Pathways are Essential
Marc Goddard, IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs
contact: marc.goddard@immaf.org

Friday 16 October

14:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Anti-doping: National Federation Responsibilities Under the 2021 Code
Michele Verroken, IMMAF Anti-doping Consultant
contact: michele.verroken@immaf.org

15:00 hrs (UTC+1)
“COVID – What we know, what we can do.”
Dr. David Wang, IMMAF Medical Committee (TBC)
contact: yoni.gottlieb@immaf.org

16:00 hrs (UTC+1)
Presidents’ Closing Speech
President Kerrith Brown

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Member sign-ups kick off first season for MMA in France https://immaf.org/2020/09/10/member-sign-ups-kick-off-first-season-for-mma-in-france/ Thu, 10 Sep 2020 08:46:04 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40206

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Following the legalisation and recognition of MMA in France at the beginning of the year, under the auspices French Boxing Federation, on Wednesday 9 September the French MMA Federation launches its registration system for club affiliations and licensing.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“IMMAF fully commends the French system that takes sports governance and regulation extremely seriously and therefore requires licensing of sport coaches and clubs in order to protect participants. We have been working closely with the French Boxing Federation and French MMA Federation in their implementation of international standards as they work to establish a national framework for MMA. The FFB, and the new FMMAF beneath it, have worked at speed and in depth to be able launch a membership system so soon. As the international governing body for MMA, we recommend that anyone in France who is serious about their practice of MMA under the globally recognised Unified Rules should sign up to an FMMAF affiliated club, since the FMMAF is the only organisation in France that can provide a hallmark of excellence, recognised at an international level by governing bodies, national governments and the world’s leading commercial promoters.”

A fully digitalized system

For club membership registration and the of licensing club members and practitioners, the FMMAF is offering a digitalised system via a dedicated App. The aim is that the system should simplify administrative management, providing optimal flexibility for members of the MMA community to complete the process at any time from Wednesday September 9 from any computer or smartphone.

Licenses for each MMA practice

The Federation caters to different training pathways for those practicing MMA. A range of license options are therefore offered at various price points with the aim of being as affordable and beneficial to the practitioner as possible. The FMMAF is keen to facilitate access to the discipline to as many people as possible.

Details of license prices and eligibility for club membership are available on the FMMAF website alongside a link to the application.

Find out more

Affiliate your club – Eligibility

Membership can be applied for from September 9 for clubs that have formed their Management Committee (1 President, 1 Treasurer, 1 Secretary) and have a certified trainer who has completed their additional, initial training; holds a federal license; or is in training under the FMMAF.

Information on federal training

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IMMAF announces a new member federation in Barbados https://immaf.org/2020/08/27/immaf-announces-a-new-member-federation-in-barbados/ Thu, 27 Aug 2020 08:55:20 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40192

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is pleased to announce that the Barbados Mixed Martial arts Federation (BMMAF) has been granted Observational Membership to MMA’s international governing body.

There has been long standing awareness among Caribbean nations for the need to develop the sport of MMA and Barbados has been no different. Based in the capital city of Bridgetown, the Barbados Mixed Martial Arts Federation was established in 2013 to promote and develop amateur and recreational (non-professional) MMA in the country as part of a collective drive among the Caribbean islands. The Bajan federation enjoys a cooperative association with national organisations for grappling, full contact kick-boxing and beach wrestling.

With strong foundations in place, the national governing body is in the process of pursuing government recognition and has sourced partnerships with supporting organizations and institutions within combat sport, education and media.

Paul Forte stands as President of the Barbados MMA Federation with the support from Director Rollins Alleyne. Paul Forte was integral to the establishment of the BMMAF in 2013 with his background as a training consultant. Rollins Alleyne is a widely recognised figure in the Caribbean for his contributions to the development of combat sports.

On its acceptance by IMMAF, the Barbados MMA Federation issued the following statement:

“Having been accepted as a member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, the Barbados Mixed Martial Arts Federation can only express gratitude for its membership which now affords us the opportunity of attaining international and professional recognition. Our membership with IMMAF has been accepted as the staircase to global excellence, growth and participation. We are proud to be a member of this institution that has given life, sustenance, and stability to Mixed Martial Arts all over the world. We are even more grateful to the Administration and Team at IMMAF for extending its hand to the BMMAF.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“We have been impressed by the calibre of individuals driving the Barbados MMA Federation, by its work so far and its collaborative partnerships and associations. Through adopting unified international standards and IMMAF’s technical support, the BMMAF has the potential to evolve into a world class organisation. MMA’s traction and development is growing in the Caribbean and we look forward to seeing the impact of this growth on the wider development of the amateur sport and IMMAF competitions in Pan America.”

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IMMAF around the world: spotlight on Germany https://immaf.org/2020/08/25/immaf-around-the-world-spotlight-on-germany/ Tue, 25 Aug 2020 10:12:06 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40183

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An Interview with German Mixed Martial Arts Federation President Clemens Werner

In June 2012 , the German Mixed Martial Arts Federation (GEMMAF) was officially formed to represent Germany under IMMAF.

Today, GEMMAF stands as the largest national MMA federation in Germany with its 50 member gyms, showing a 425% increase in membership over the last three years and with yet further scope for growth.

“With every championship we are growing and growing,” comments GEMMAF President Clemens Werner. “We are bringing the German MMA scene together.”

While MMA is not yet recognised as a sport in Germany and therefore unfunded, GEMMAF’s progress rests on the drive and passion of President Werner, Vice-president Lutz Heyden and treasurer Treasurer Mairia Cieschinger who contribute their time pro bono, supported by volunteers.

Against the odds, GEMMAF has successfully shaped itself into an organisation that carries out all the duties of national governing body in accordance with international governance and integrity standards.

As one of IMMAF’s most organised members, the federation holds board elections every 4 years, with the last taking place on 24 August 2019, and conducts monthly board meetings. Most recent board discussions, according to Werner, have related to the return to sport and sport competition in the wake of restrictions posed by COVID 19.

Core GEMMAF activities have included the education and licensing of coaches and officials.

“In 2019 we held a coach certification course with 22 participants. Because of COVID-19 and the government restrictions on gatherings and sport, we have not been able to hold further certification courses in 2020. We have therefore developed a program that corresponds with the German Olympic Committee and enables us to establish about 70% of coach certification seminars online. Participants will have to be physically present for just the practical part and the examinations.”
 
GEMMAF has also held 4 judge courses attended by more than 60 participants across 4 different locations, with 2 referee courses planned for the second half of 2020.
 
Another of GEMMAF’s achievements has been the establishment of a national competition circuit culminating in annual National Championships.
 
“We hold 4 regional championships as qualifier tournaments for the National Championships,” explains Werner. “Due to COVID 19 we have only managed to hold 1 regional championship this year, on 29 February in the south of Germany with about 60 participants. We are unlikely to be able to catch up on all our full competition calendar this year, but we wil try our best.”

To qualify for the National team for IMMAF international championships, GEMMAF administrates a ranking system, for which athletes can collect points through competing on the national circuit.

The German National Team has particularly made its mark in IMMAF’s women’s divisions. In 2019, junior women’s strawweight Anna Gaul earned the gold medal for Germany in the European and World Championships. Teammates Renaná Bruckstein and Clara Danssman also medalled in the Europeans, respectively winning silver in the women’s senior flyweight category and bronze in the women’s senior strawweight.
 
While Werner describes GEMMAF’s main focus as the development of the amateur sport, the federation is also responsible for the sanctioning and officiating of private, professional MMA events that include WE LOVE MMA, National Fighting Championship and German Cage Pioneer.

“For all these events we provide the officials and apply our ruleset and standards.”
 
Clemens himself serves as an official on major international shows including UFC, for whom he recently judged at UFC Fight Island, giving an indication of the standard of German officiating under GEMMAF.
 
Asked about GEMMAF’S proudest achievements, Werner comments:
 
“I think we can be proud of our development in the last 3 years. We emerged from a small federation with 8 member gyms into the biggest German MMA federation with about 50 member gyms. I think we are bringing the German MMA scene together with our tournaments, which is beautiful to see every time.”
 
Clemens is proud of GEMMAF’s recognition under IMMAF and its role in setting and implementing unified, global safety standards at a national level.
 
Asked about the biggest challenges faced by GEMMAF, Werner cites its reliance on volunteers and “being able to source new volunteers who are willing to invest their time.”
 
Looking forward, GEMMAF’s goal is to create regional federations within Germany to meet national recognition criteria, “and of course, getting back to holding championships and events as soon as possible.”

Main Image: Anna Gaul wins gold for Team Germany at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships. Pictured with GEMMAF Vice-president Lutz Heyden (right)

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The Netherlands forms national MMA federation under IMMAF https://immaf.org/2020/08/24/the-netherlands-forms-national-mma-federation-under-immaf/ Mon, 24 Aug 2020 06:09:56 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40181

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The new Mixed Martial Arts Association Netherlands (MMAAN) has been awarded membership by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).

Chaired by Mischa Van Der Meer, the MMAAN has already established core technical commissions tasked with developing the sport of MMA and its governance in the Netherlands. Notably, recently appointed board director, Rodney Van Der Vlugt, heads the Commission for the Development of MMA Coaching and Training. Der Vlugt is an IMMAF-certified coach and gym owner with a brown belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Carlson Gracie.

The Netherlands has a tremendous heritage in martial arts as one of the world’s foremost hotbeds for kickboxing. While MMA is a fairly new yet growing sport in the country, MMAAN is committed to implementing legitimate foundations for its governance and development.

Van Der Vlugt stated:

“MMA is starting to get traction but lacks structure, hence my application to start a national federation under IMMAF in the Netherlands. Events should be structured correctly, and coaches require universal processes and the tools to teach their students. Our first step is to establish relationships with all Dutch MMA clubs in order to openly share and discuss our vision for good governance with all involved.”

President Kerrith Brown said:

“With the Netherlands renowned as a hotbed for combat sports talent in Europe, IMMAF is excited to see the establishment of a national federation in the Netherlands to safeguard the development of the sport of MMA as it continues to grow in popularity in the country. The nation’s participation in IMMAF Championships can be anticipated to bring another dimension to the striking aspect of the game and present some interesting challenges to wrestling’s current dominance across our divisions.”

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Rupert Beloff Chairs Arbitration Committee of legal experts https://immaf.org/2020/08/18/rupert-beloff-chairs-arbitration-committee-of-legal-experts/ Tue, 18 Aug 2020 09:22:31 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40175

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As part of IMMAF’s commitment to good governance, an international group of legal and arbitration experts is currently hard at work as part of the Arbitration Committee.

The IMMAF Arbitration Committee, which was elected by the General Assembly,  was created specifically to play an independent role in judging complaints, disputes and appeals arising from decisions by other IMMAF Disciplinary bodies.

The Chair, Rupert Beloff, is a UK based barrister with broad commercial and public law experience. He specialises in all aspects of sports and media law. His wide-ranging experience of sports litigation and advisory work includes regulatory and disciplinary proceedings, anti-doping, free movement and right to play cases, as well as contractual and sponsorship disputes.

He has represented and advised clubs, governing bodies, coaches and individual sports men and women in front of a wide range of tribunals and courts.

Rupert also regularly lectures and gives seminars on sports law subjects and is a co-author of several leading books in the field.“It is of utmost importance for all IMMAF stakeholders that disputes are resolved efficiently, transparently and, above all, fairly and justly,” said Rupert.

“I am delighted to have been appointed Chair of the Arbitration Committee, which will work to set up an independent arbitral panel that embodies the highest standards of fair dispute resolution and that best serves the needs of all those involved with amateur mixed martial arts.”

The other members of the Ethics Committee are:

  • Sean Sullivan Gibbs, who has held directorships and senior commercial positions with contracting and consultancy firms in the United Kingdom and Internationally. With over 30 years’ experience in the onshore and offshore construction and engineering industries, Sean has worked in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and the Americas. He has acted as quantum expert before various dispute resolution tribunals including adjudication, dispute board, expert determination, and arbitration. Sean is also a former WAKO British full contact champion and combat sport enthusiast.
  • Mathieu Laplante-Goulet, from Canada, has a professional background as a lawyer and experience in litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), focused on human rights, labour, administrative, penal law and due-diligence inquiries. Mathieu worked with Dr. Dirk-Reiner Martens’ Law firm in Munich, as part of an international Masters’ degree in sports law. This gave him valuable experience as part of a team in a diversified, multi-cultural and international environment, working in both French and English.
  • Eusebio Rivera, who is the Technical Director and International Representative of the Panama MMA federation, completes the Arbitration team. Eusebio was re-elected unanimously by the IMMAF General Assembly to serve a second term on the committee.

IMMAF ARBITRATION COMMITTEE 2020-23 ROLE

  • Review and update current procedures, rules and guidelines related to IMMAF related disputes.
  • Liaise closely with the IMMAF Disciplinary Committee and Anti-doping disciplinary Committees.
  • Identify and build a pool of expert Arbitrators to handle cases.
  • Manage cases and ensure that all procedures respect relevant rules and guidelines.

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IMMAF rolls out National Women’s MMA Commissions in eight nations https://immaf.org/2020/08/13/immaf-rolls-out-national-womens-mma-commissions-in-eight-nations/ Thu, 13 Aug 2020 06:45:24 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40156

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is proud to announce the launch of National Women’s MMA Commissions in 8 countries: Ireland, England, Spain, Panama, Columbia, Congo, Cameroon and India.

Since its formation on 8 March 2020, the IMMAF Women’s Commission, led by Chairwoman Hayzia Bellem, has been working to support the establishment national level women’s commissions across IMMAF member countries as part of a drive to enable more women to shine in the octagon.
 
A key remit of the IMMAF Commission is to audit the gender parity of mixed martial arts and define recommended actions to develop women’s MMA both nationally and at the international level, across all areas of the sport. To this end, the IMMAF Women’s Commission has launched a survey to identify the main obstacles to female participation in MMA and gather women’s ideas on how the sport could made more appealing to them as participants.

The new National Women’s MMA Commissions are already contributing to the audit and have been establishing their goals, including actions such as;

• convincing promoters to feature at least a minimum number of female fights on their fight cards 
• developing collaborative MMA classes that will make them more appealing or accessible to women (e.g. MMA cardio fitness, family friendly MMA classes etc.) 
• the advertising of MMA gradings amongst female athletes to highlight the different levels in MMA to increase safety and confidence in training
• the advertising of the various opportunities and routes for women to be involved in MMA, for example, in refereeing and judging
• promoting the positive impact of MMA on physical and mental health

As a result of the international commission’s recommendations at meetings attended by both the IMMAF CEO and President, IMMAF has committed to developing further training for MMA’s coaches and athletes on safeguarding and ethical behaviors to protect women and young girls.

The IMMAF Women’s Commission is planning its first Women’s Assembly with its National Women’s MMA Commissions in October. 

IMMAF Women’s Commission Chairwoman, Hayzia Bellem, says she has started to fulfill her dream “to highlight the beauty of women participating in Combat Sports. Giving women the platform to demonstrate their strength and power sends a great message to future generations. MMA is not about violence. MMA is a universal combat sport which allows participants to express their individual fighting style. By developing female MMA at a global level, we also support a more universal need, to achieve equality between men and women.”
 
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, said:

“I am proud of the tremendous start with which our Women’s Commission has shot out of the gates. It is our goal to increase women’s participation in MMA and create a more equitable environment. The take-up among the national federations demonstrates the demand for support in this area and I’m impressed with the proactivity with which our women’s commissions have taken on this challenge.”

IMMAF Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken, who also sits on the Women’s Commission said:

“Recognition of the value of promoting women’s participation in the sport, at all levels, is an important part of any international sports federation. IMMAF has gone further in supporting a network of national women’s committees, to complement and partner the International Committee. Women’s participation in MMA is being encouraged, celebrated and supported both nationally and internationally. We are delighted to welcome women as coaches, officials and athletes and to recognize their contribution to our sport. “

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IMMAF veterans continue winning ways at Brave 38 https://immaf.org/2020/08/10/immaf-veterans-continue-winning-ways-at-brave-38/ Mon, 10 Aug 2020 17:22:09 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40153

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Veterans of IMMAF’s international Amateur MMA platform continued their winning ways as professional MMA standouts at BRAVE CF 38 in Sweden. Following last week’s clean sweep of victories for IMMAF alumni at BRAVE 37, the organisation’s collaboration with Bulldog Fight Night continued in Stockholm on Saturday, August 8.

At amateur MMA’s top-flight England’s PK Zadeh reached the quarterfinals of the 2017 IMMAF World Championships and scored wins over top featherweight standout Enrique Hecher Sosa of Spain, and Kazakhstan’s Neimat Asadov. Zadeh crashed out of the World Championships under controversial circumstances due to a contested submission while fending off an arm-bar against Luxembourg’s Jose Teixeira. Now a professional up-and-comer Zadeh moves to 3-0, remaining undefeated with superior grappling seeing him through to a unanimous decision win.

Jonny Touma spent two years as an exciting fixture of the Swedish national team under the IMMAF banner as a multiple-time World Championships contender and bronze medallist of the 2018 European Open. Touma’s enthusiasm for high-octane striking was on display, landing double spinning-back-fists to rock Moheb Azizi. While Azizi remained highly game and in the fight, the dynamic action continued to play out with Touma progressing to clinch a unanimous decision triumph.

Team Sweden vet Elin Öberg had a short tenure at the IMMAF level before turning pro, yet we would have loved to see more of her. A split-decision loss to Finland’s Janika Antinmaa at the 2018 European Open was Öberg’s first and only appearance, and she has since transitioned to become a destroyer of top prospects, making her pro debut in 2018 with a 6-second KO of former IMMAF world champion Anna Astvik and later with a doctor stoppage over perennial IMMAF medallist Anette Österberg. Öberg bounced back in fine form from a first professional loss as she stormed through a war to powerfully out-strike the very noteworthy Malin Hermansson.

Former European Open finalist and world bronze medallist Issa Isakov was a long-standing top contender of the international IMMAF platform, representing Belgium with over 15 amateur victories. His success continues now as a 6-1 professional with a unanimous decision win over experienced Dutchman Djamil Chan (15-7).

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The tale of IMMAF & WMMAA: How two global MMA federations merged to create a super organisation https://immaf.org/2020/08/05/the-tale-of-immaf-wmmaa-how-two-global-mma-federations-merged-to-create-a-super-organisation/ Wed, 05 Aug 2020 06:29:25 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40149

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The international governance of combat sports and martial arts is well renowned for its internal rifts and divisions. Take the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) as examples in pro boxing. Meanwhile, the World Anti-doping Agency recognises three Code Signatory International Federations for the sport of Taekwondo, and various bodies lay claim to overseeing Muay Thai and kickboxing.


So when in June 2017, world umbrella sports body, the Global Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF) instructed ‘rival’ applicants for the sport recognition of MMA that they must cooperate, since only one application could be considered, the odds of success were high.


The Swedish founded International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and Monaco based, World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) were both established in 2012 with an Olympic vision and equally claimed the right to be deemed the international authority for amateur MMA. Perhaps it was their newness or their evolution from a sport that within a couple of decades of existence had become the world’s fastest growing that made them so dynamic, because what happened next could not have been anticipated.


In May 2018, IMMAF and WMMAA signed a legally binding affiliation MOU, approved by both memberships. By the close of November 2018 they had completed a fully executed agreement, as well as a first unified world championships with 52 participating countries that would create a new world order in the rankings of amateur MMA. Following a time-lag to allow for the necessary, democratically approved changes to the IMMAF statutes, IMMAF’s 2019 General Assembly saw the IMMAF board expand to accept elected representatives from WMMAA, with WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein joining IMMAF founder August Wallen as Honorary President.


However, these rapid-fire achievements weren’t the most impressive. Not only did the merger require that of two international boards and administration teams, but it also needed to be mapped out across around 100 member nations, a number of whom had counterpart IMMAF and WMMAA national federations.

So how did the IMMAF and WMMAA executives achieve this? immaf.org spoke with former WMMAA Executive Director turned IMMAF Board Director, Tatiana Klimenko, who worked on the national level coordination of the amalgamation.

The main challenge was presented by countries in which both WMMAA and IMMAF each had an active representative organisation. Where this was the case, first consideration was necessarily given to the federation which had government or National Olympic Committee recognition. The non-recognised party was encouraged to join with the mandated organisation. Meanwhile, inactive federations were cut, as were bad players.


For example, in one case IMMAF had received complaints about national federation’s association with right wing extremism and hooliganism. The allegations were never satisfactorily refuted by the organisation in question, and this was taken into account in deciding against them in selecting the best representative in that country to lead the sport, alongside their recognition status.


Where such clarity did not exist, federations were encouraged to merge and, according to Tatiana, this worked well where both sides “put their athletes and the interests of the sport first, over and above power struggles.”


There were successful national level mergers in countries that include Romania, Kazakhstan and India.


“In these countries, national federations were strengthened by coming together, bringing different assets, skill sets and relationships to the table. They increased their membership and deepened their competition pool.”


According to Tatiana, only a surprisingly small handful of disputes emerged that were unresolvable or situations in which merged groups came apart – five or less. In these instances, where IMMAF | WMMAA was forced choose a side, the unified administration evaluated not just the national federation’s administrative compliance to GASIF criteria, but equally took into account the roots and comparative strengths of the federations, their scope of influence within the sport and their business capabilities.


“In all, there was a total of around three organisations of value, largely in terms of their professional MMA or commercial experience, that we were unable to carry with us, which is unfortunate. However, due to the in depth process through which we worked closely with national federations and the many interviews we conducted, I can attest without a doubt that each of the federations we retained are the strongest in their country, whether in terms of good governance process, having some kind of formal recognition or carrying out all the administrative duties of a federation. Some of these remain small due to the political and legal landscape there or because the sport is still young there, but they are certainly the right ones to grow the sport in the interests of the amateur participant and according to the values of International Sport.”


“However, the doors remain open those organisations we lost. We appreciate that the speed with which IMMAF and WMMAA moved with the merger created a difficult situation for some. At any time, we are committed to working to facilitate fresh dialogues between them and our national federation in their country to find a workable solution for a cooperation.”


IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, who was also closely involved in the national merger process alongside WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein, commented:


“I’m extremely proud of what we managed to achieve in uniting two such strong entities. I am thankful to Vadim, Tatiana and the WMMAA Board for their cooperation, and equally to IMMAF founders August Wallen, Vice-President George Sallfeldt and the IMMAF board. The WMMAA board directors and administrative staff who have joined us are by now very much part of the IMMAF international family, bringing enhanced expertise and experience to the team. I am confident too that in all our territories, IMMAF has the strongest national representative. Where National Federations successfully merged they have likewise been strengthened as a result. The process also enabled us to weed out non-performing ‘paper’ federations and those failing to meet good governance standards for amateur sport. The results of our merger with WMMAA are demonstrable through the increased engagement and participation of our federations that has really propelled us forward as a super organisation. With hindsight, I can say I am grateful to GAISF for their recommendation that we unite as it has only made us better as an organisation and reinforced our ability to meet our duties as an international governing body.”

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IMMAF Champions shine in weekend of Pro action https://immaf.org/2020/08/03/immaf-champions-shine-in-weekend-of-pro-action/ Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:46:17 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40147

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Five past champions of IMMAF were in action over the weekend, the standout veterans of amateur MMA’s elite platform secured a clean sweep of victories now as professionals.

Memorable alumni of Sweden’s national amateur team took over the card of BRAVE CF 37 in Stockholm, Sweden. Two-time IMMAF heavyweight world champion Irman Smajic smothered rival Fatih Aktas to extend his undefeated pro tenure via a unanimous decision. In addition, 2017 European Open gold medallist Anton Turkalj claimed an early TKO win as he moves to 5-0 as a professional and Sweden’s potential successor to Alexander Gustafsson at 205lbs. After winning gold medals for Sweden at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships and 2020 Oceania Open, strawweight Bianca Antman scored the highlight of the night with a stunning headkick KO to seal victory in her professional debut.

The BRAVE 37 “people’s main event” saw Muhammad Mokaev, the world’s most talked about amateur prospect, complete his pro debut in dominant fashion by nullifying Irishman Glenn McVeigh across all three rounds of their heated grudge match. As a 23-0 amateur champion Mokaev collected several promotional titles of the UK MMA scene before stepping up to the IMMAF platform, representing Team UK and later Team England. Mokaev became the no.1 ranked junior athlete as a two-time IMMAF World Championships gold medallist at bantamweight with further gold medals won at the European Open and Oceania Open.

Also on the card, IMMAF World and European silver medallist Nina Back came up short in a fight-of-the-night contender. Featuring on the amateur prelims, Back faced off against professional K-1 standout Josefine Lindgren Knutsson, who made her amateur MMA debut.

On the other side of the globe, 2017 IMMAF world champion Manon Fiorot featured at UAE Warriors 12 on July 31 in Abu Dhabi. The former national karate champion and French MMA team graduate is now riding a 5-fight win streak after a TKO stoppage over Canadian rival Corinne Laframboise.

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Getting to know IMMAF President Kerrith Brown: An Interview – Part 1 https://immaf.org/2020/07/27/getting-to-know-immaf-president-kerrith-brown-an-interview-part-1/ Mon, 27 Jul 2020 17:24:57 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40130

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“My lack of education about prohibited substances led me to make a mistake that cost me heavily and is without a doubt, one of the biggest regrets of my life. In Anti-doping as with the law, ignorance is not a defence. It certainly serves as a cautionary tale.”


IMMAF President Brown has travelled a path of dramatic highs and lows, reaching the Olympian podium as an athlete to suffer a doping ban that would change the course of his life. Here the IMMAF President talks candidly about his experiences, what he has learnt in life, how this has shaped the person he is today and how it informs him as IMMAF President.

Roots
Kerrith was born in 1962 in the United Kingdom, in the Midlands city of Wolverhampton, not long after his mother arrived from Jamaica to join his grandmother who had immigrated a year or two earlier. He never met his father, and with two half-brothers not to follow for another ten and twenty years respectively, he describes “quite a good upbringing at that point being the only child” at a “normal infant school in a modest area,” though he talks of “coming from a single parent background, having to build your own circle.”


School
Aged 11, Kerrith entered Springfield Comprehensive Boys School (later Heath Park) having moved to a new area the “other side of town.”

“Secondary school was an eye opener….going into a boys’ school, which was just coming out of being probably the worst school in the area and starting to modernise itself.

“That’s when all the bullying started. It was an alpha male survival environment.”

Kerrith vividly recalls his first impression as “seeing this guy come from nowhere and drop this kid with a double foot kick.”

Aspirations at the school weren’t high: You would “leave school, get an apprenticeship, get a job. That was the path of the norm you would be led down.”

Discovering Judo & Meeting IMMAF CEO Densign White
Judo was offered by Springfield as two 45-minute sessions per week, and Kerrith signed up aged 12, “in order to look after myself, because I was not looking after myself so well. It was about protection rather than about the sport.”

“And it did work. Word goes around. As soon as the kids realised you’re doing a combat sport, they give more respect and leave you alone. Judo and karate were like the dark arts because of the Bruce Lee films at the time.”

IMMAF‘s CEO Densign White, who was in a different class at the same school, also attended the judo sessions, which is where the two first met sparking a lifelong friendship. From there, both were motivated to join their local club.

Judo brought Kerrith “stability, family and like-minded people with similar goals.” It stopped “us from getting into mischief because we were focussed on training rather than going out. I was lucky to drop into that block (of peers) in terms of development and I didn’t know anything else.”

Making the Olympic Squad
Kerrith was inspired by “a Guinness Book of Records or Martial Arts book my mum had bought me for Christmas, and in there was Brian Jacks, who was my hero. He had just got back from the Munich Games (1972), I think. I remember looking at the Olympic Games thinking it would be great if I could emulate that and it was always at the back of my mind.”

At the same time, Kerrith and Densign’s club coach identified they “had something” and he channelled their energies towards making the England squad.

By the time of the 1984 Games, aged 22, Kerrith recalls he’d “been number 1 consistently for 5 years (nationally), was Junior European Champion and was in the top world rankings.”

“Being accepted as number 1 in your country and then to represent in the Olympic Games, you’re on top of the world. It was a dream come true.”

1984 Olympics – Overcoming Injury for Bronze
Then, injury struck.

“I got a cruciate ligament injury 7-months out from the Games. Someone bounced on the back of my knee and it popped.”

Kerrith underwent one of the first key-hole surgeries in London’s Harley Street in 1983, to return to training in March, just 4 months before the Games, and unable to bend his knee until weeks before.

“I didn’t actually start dropping on my knee until I got to the Games. That’s how bad it was. But my focus had been more on rehab than the event and on getting fit. By the time got there, I was quite relaxed.”

Kerrith prevailed to the semi-finals in the men’s lightweight division to lose by a frustrating split decision but went onto fight the then world number 1 and win a bronze medal for Great Britain. Meanwhile, Densign placed fifth in his division.

1988 Olympics
The 1988 Olympics initially presented as a “similar story,” sighs Kerrith, rolling his eyes.

Having maintained his number 1 ranking nationally and ranked among the worlds best, he had just been selected again for the national squad when he suffered another knee injury requiring a second key-hole surgery, but this time to the anterior cruciate ligament of his opposite knee.

When Kerrith arrived in Seoul for the games, he was just beginning to fully bend his knee. Nonetheless, “I was among one of the favourites.”

Kerrith recounts a strong draw. Going into the Semi-Finals, he was facing an opponent he had beaten months previously and who should have presented a certain win. However, to his continued regret, he “got cocky and over-confident and blew it,” erring from his game plan “to throw his opponent with an explosive move and throwing myself instead.”

To compete for the bronze medal, he had to then face world number one, Michael Swain of USA, whom he defeated to make the podium.

“Then…” says Kerrith, referring to the infamous drug scandals that overshadowed the 1988 Games, “the whole world kicked off.”

Doping Scandal
For context, it is worth taking a broader view of anti-doping at the time: Unlike today, International Federations operated by their own prohibited lists and managed their own rules and testing. In 1985, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) added diuretics to their in-competition prohibited list, to be applied at the next Olympic Games. This change was adopted by some but not all sports. Significantly, International Federations were also responsible for the education of their athletes, relying upon their medical support staff to inform and reinforce rules.

Kerrith feels that the change in Anti-Doping Regulations before the Games had been poorly communicated to athletes. He realised too late that the A4 list of banned substances they had been given included a substance that would impact his eligibility to compete.

“Going to our team doctor was the only policy or source of information, so there was a lack knowledge compared with nowadays.”

At the Opening Ceremony, it is told, that when the symbolic doves were released, they were scorched by the Olympic flame. And so, the Seoul Games went on to be dubbed one of the most controversial in Olympic history.

Officiating controversies gave rise to an escalating scandal in boxing. Then, the fastest man in the world, Ben Johnson, famously got caught for anabolic steroids use following a superhuman victory, and quickly became the centre story. British sprinter, Linford Christie, was found positive for the performance-enhancing pseudoephedrine in the same event, and Kerrith was tested among a wider testing of finalists.

To his detriment, Kerrith had been advised to take a diuretic, furosemide, to reduce his knee swelling during the flight over. The substance was commonly used at the time for reducing swelling of joints or muscles and for water retention in weight-cutting.

Two days after being tested, Kerrith received a call to inform him that his sample had returned positive, and he was called to a tribunal scheduled just a few days later, alongside British peer Linford Christie.

Looking back, he believes the shock of the biggest scandal the sporting world had seen, in the revelation that the winner of the Men’s 100m had tested positive, followed by the additional positive finding for third placed GB sprinter Linford Christie, diverted attention away from proper investigation of his case. Amidst the media attention on Ben Johnson and further shockwave of a second finding that might impact the medals awarded in the 100m, the report that a judo athlete had also returned a finding was swiftly processed. British team officials focussed on damage limitation, Kerrith feels, to his disadvantage:

“A deal had already been done in the room that one of us was going to take the fall. Linford had come 3rd in the 100m, with potential to be awarded silver following the suspension of Johnson. Also, Great Britain had come 3rd in the 4 x 100 relay in which the US Team had dropped the baton leading to their disqualification, and so there was a gold medal opportunity for them also. British Athletics was the most powerful sport federation in the UK at the time, and as I see it, we were up against them.”

Kerrith reports that British Athletics “brought over a guy from US doping who was doing a thesis on ginseng and they presented evidence that Linford was suffering from a cold.”

“I remember quite clearly us being an hour late for the hearing as we were waiting at the hotel with Linford for the ginseng vials to be delivered – which they were, in a black bag.”

“On the other hand, I don’t feel we had any support. My sole representatives were my coach, team manager and the then British Judo Chairman. We had no legal representation.”

“I was unaware of the politics at the time,” says Brown, “but have learnt with hindsight about the international corridor (of power). We didn’t really know about appeals and there was no recourse that we knew of.”

Speaking with various old-time insiders, their own views support Brown’s verdict but nonetheless the stigma has been hard to shake.

Aftermath
“ I was devastated. I didn’t know where to go. There was no support mechanism from the organisation. From the moment I was found guilty of doping, I was shoved into a taxi to the airport on my own.”

On his “own initiative” he called friends to collect him from the airport, as press were waiting at his front door. He asked the flight attendant to provide a back exit from the airport to avoid the fray.

“They were camping outside my house, in the bins. I couldn’t go home for two weeks. I went to a mate’s house until it all died down.”

From being funded as part of the national team, Kerrith now faced a two-year ban on competing with all finance cut.

“I carried on training but couldn’t compete and that finished my career. I tried to make a comeback in 1992, after starting to compete again in 1990.”

However, although ranked again at number one hitherto, he failed the national selections for the 1992 Olympics and, also, to medal at the European Championships, which would have provided an alternative route back. At that point, Kerrith knew his athletic career was over and retired.

“My lack of education about prohibited substances led me to make a mistake that cost me heavily and is without a doubt, one of the biggest regrets of my life. In Anti-doping as with the law, ignorance is not a defence. It certainly serves as a cautionary tale.”

Getting Back Up Again & Business Years
Following his dramatic fall from grace in 1988, Brown’s sharp business acumen developed as a means to survive thereafter.

“It was a challenging transition… the time you spend training full time doesn’t give you time to develop life skills for anything else. But then I was lucky and being in the right place at the right time was an important factor in the some of the choices I made.”

Kerrith cites his support network as critical at that time, “having the right people around you. Family network and good set of friends was part and parcel” of being able to move on.

He’d previously worked as a mechanic and freelance electrician, while teaching judo in schools, and he now owned a gym with Densign. From there, he found opportunities in Wolverhampton’s burgeoning nightclub scene as rave was taking off in the UK during the 1990s.

“We were among the pioneers of the house music and drum ‘n’ bass (dance music) scenes that were evolving in the Midlands and that put us at the cutting edge.”

Hosting legendary names such as Fantasia, Quest, Helter Skelter and Amazon as a club owner, Kerrith profited from successful club nights and ventured for the first time into live logistics for two Glastonbury festivals and for a forerunner of V-festival.

“This is why I say live events are part of my DNA….and this experience of being at the cutting edge enables us to push the (IMMAF) team to be better and cutting edge.”

He continued to successfully establish himself in fashion retail through the Diffusion chain, with flagship stores formerly in London’s Carnaby Street, Oxford Street and Covent Garden, of which he remains a partner to this day.

Life Lessons
Ultimately, “the things that worked against me, actually worked for me. If I’d won a gold medal at the Games, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I was forced down another avenue and that created other opportunities.”

“The set-backs you experience in sport teach you. The knock back I had in 1988 was a major set-back most people would never have in a lifetime, and having to deal with that mentally. Learning from that at an early age makes you prepared for anything and learn how to keep moving forwards. Not having a support mechanism enables you to think outside the box more deeply than most people, at the drop of a hat. Having those experiences of training full time and then overcoming those injuries too was challenging and forced me to dig deep.”

Kerrith believes surviving such highs and lows in sport gave him the tools to take on the same highs and lows that are inherent in business. Martial Arts values provide a framework for navigating life’s twists and turns.

“If I’d won an Olympic gold medal, I might have thought to be a coach for the rest of my life. Not winning that spurs me on to want more.”

Asked how what he has learned impacts his role as an International Sports Federation President, Kerrith concludes:

“It is because of my own experience that I am so passionate about Anti-doping education for athletes and at IMMAF it is high on our agenda. Since I joined the organisation, we have hired Anti-doping expert and Commonwealth Games Medical Secretary, Michele Verroken, to implement anti-doping education for IMMAF athletes and coaches as well as our testing programme. It is through her that we recently partnered with the WADA ADeL platform and are actively encouraging national federations to do the online courses. We also recently bolstered our committees with a dedicated Anti-doping Disciplinary Commission and Ethics Commission to support the work of our Anti-Doping and Medical Committees and ensure fairness and impartiality. Our experiences as athletes have shaped mine and Densign’s outlook in all areas of governing the sport and putting athlete and participant welfare first lies at the heart of everything we do.”

Michele, who previously ran the UK’s Ethics and Anti-Doping Directorate at UK Sport was, at the time of Kerrith’s doping offence, Head of the newly formed Doping Control Unit at The Sports Council, battling with sports bodies to take a more responsible approach to anti-doping.

In partnering with IMMAF, she has asserted her confidence that its senior executives fully understand the importance of educating athletes about anti-doping, its rules, its obligations and above all the management of illness and injuries without risking a doping violation:

“Education first! No one should be without access to education. IMMAF has adopted a zero-tolerance policy to cheating by doping, and therefore, it is essential that athletes, coaches and medics know their responsibility to keep the sport safe and fair.

“Mistakes happen and what is important is how you respond. From Kerrith’s experience of how important anti-doping is, IMMAF has committed to achieve WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) Code signatory status and to ensure that lessons are learned.”
Next, in PART 2, read all about Kerrith’s sports administration and MMA years.

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WANTED: Volunteers for IMMAF Sustainability Taskforce https://immaf.org/2020/07/24/wanted-volunteers-for-immaf-sustainability-taskforce/ Fri, 24 Jul 2020 06:40:33 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40119

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IMMAF is offering the opportunity for those passionate about the environment and sustainable futures to audit and provide policy recommendations for the responsible, sustainable organisation of MMA competitions.

The legacy project will form the basis for future sustainable development projects and opportunities at IMMAF, in an area of growing significance both in and outside of sport. Participants can expect to gain valuable experience and access to consultancy from IMMAF’s world-leading expert committee and commission members.

  • Volunteers (3) to participate in the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s new Sustainability Taskforce
  • The purpose of the Taskforce is to, in collaboration with the IMMAF Events Team, conduct a Sustainability Review and develop a Sustainability Recommendations, based on the UN’s 17 Sustainability Development Goals, for implementation in the organisation of IMMAF Competitions in 2021
  • Timeframe: 6 -week project commencing 31 August. All meetings will be held online
  • Applicants should ideally have proven policy development experience in and a passion for environmental matters (for indoor sport events)

For enquiries or to apply, please email your CV to alistair.pettitt@immaf.org

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IMMAF certified judges in UFC debut at Fight Island https://immaf.org/2020/07/16/immaf-certified-judges-in-ufc-debut-at-fight-island/ Thu, 16 Jul 2020 12:17:46 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40099

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International Mixed Martial Arts Federation judges, Vito Paolillo (Italy) and Clemens Werner (Germany), have made their officiating debut with the premier, professional MMA league of UFC for the current series of historic events taking place at UFC Fight Island.

“Due to the coronavirus, we have had to go through two forty-eight-hour quarantines and several COVID tests. The UFC is setting the highest standards in the MMA world by providing a safe environment for MMA contests,” commented Werner.

Under the tutelage of world-renowned referee and IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Goddard, the two IMMAF alumni have honed their knowledge and experience through the international governing body’s progression pathway for officials since 2015.

Having certified on IMMAF Judges and Referees Courses, Werner has gone on to judge 1500 bouts while Paolillo says he has lost count! The IMMAF World Championships famously features more than 500 matches in 5 days, attended by up to 100 IMMAF licensed officials. To be eligible to work at IMMAF Championships, officials must continue to renew their licenses through ongoing professional education.

Clemens Werner commented:

“I am grateful to be one of a few officials to work at these historical Fight Island events. At the current time with the corona restrictions inhibiting most of national and international shows, it is a privilege to be able to follow my passion to judge, and better than that, to judge four UFC shows within three weeks.

“IMMAF paved the way for my development as an official. In addition to what I learnt on the IMMAF Officials Course with Marc Goddard, the experience that I have gained through nine IMMAF championships around the world has been invaluable. The challenges of a whole week of judging at IMMAF Championships has provided great preparation for professional shows. My biggest thanks goes to Marc Goddard, the IMMAF lead official, for his leadership, friendship and the opportunities he offers me.”

Vito Paolillo said:

“Being part of this historic event has been a great honour for me and a dream come true in my career as MMA Official. The treatment we are receiving is something unprecedented. The organisational level is outstanding, and you can really see why the UFC is the only organization in the world to be able to pull this off, not only among MMA promotions, but across sport.”

“It being my first experience as a Judge in the UFC, my colleagues here, who are among the world’s best MMA Officials, have asked if I am feeling pressure at this level. But thanks to my five years of IMMAF experience, I don’t feel anxiety. IMMAF has provided the best training for anyone wanting to work in professional MMA, starting with the course through to a series of events that lets you accumulate in a year the experience that most people take a lifetime to achieve, through IMMAF’s five-day tournament format that sees up to one hundred fights in one day.

“The IMMAF platform has proved the best way to be noticed and receive calls from top professional promotions, such as Brave FC, FightNight Global and KSW, culminating in my UFC selection.

“I want to thank UFC, Marc Goddard and IMMAF for this opportunity and I feel really blessed to be a part of UFC Fight Island.”

Marc Goddard said:

“I’m so happy that both Vito’s and Clemens’ hard work, dedication and portrayal of the qualities required to be an official have been recognised on the biggest stage and this opportunity granted. They have both worked diligently, taking advantage of all the opportunities presented to them over a number of years both at IMMAF and with me across many professional events throughout Europe, the Middle East and beyond. I am proud to see their journey along IMMAF’s educational pathway for officials culminate on the world’s biggest MMA stage, and for these guys it’s just the beginning of the next stage of their officiating careers.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“It’s great to see the effectiveness of the IMMAF Officials Pathway recognised by top tier professional MMA promotions, with all the added pressure on officiating that comes with their extensive fan and media reach and commercial interests. I am proud to see Vito and Clemens representing their national federations, FIGMMA and GEMMAF, not just in the elite amateur league, but also now at elite professional level.”

For enquiries about IMMAF Judges and Referees Certification Courses contact info@immaf.org

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IMMAF launches ‘Peace through MMA’ commission https://immaf.org/2020/07/15/immaf-launches-peace-through-mma-commission/ Wed, 15 Jul 2020 06:22:40 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40097

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has launched a “Peace through MMA” Commission as part of its commitment to harnessing sport to mitigate violence and engender peace, with a focus on developing programmes to socially benefit young people.

President Kerrith Brown said:

“MMA is a universal language recognised by youth worldwide, with the power to break boundaries and to unite. As I have experienced in my own journey, martial arts require personal transformation, the development of self-knowledge, self-discipline, honour and respect. The process of training to fight within a sport is an effective pathway to learning the skills of negotiation and to attaining peace. It is our responsibility as leaders in the sport to channel the great power of martial arts towards social good.”

The committee is chaired by Danny Corr of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association. Corr is acclaimed for his Fight to Unite youth project in Northern Ireland, in a region that has seen in the past many social and economic problems as a result of conflict. The government recognised project has proven the success of a focused and sustainable programme that combines the many benefits of MMA with education, personal development and youth work. The programme tackles issues affecting young people and helps to build resilience and a positive future for young people and their communities.

Corr is joined on the Commission by Denis Rowan, best known as an expert in International Conflict Resolution with extensive work in the Northern Ireland Peace and Political Process. Denis has a vast experience in organising youth projects for social and educational furtherance and for the advancement of peace.

Corr and Rowan are currently working with the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association in the Republic to organise a cross-border youth peace project aligned with a nationally recognised educational programme.

The Peace through MMA Commission is building on this work to develop a blueprint, consultancy and training support for the implementation of similar, tailored programmes for IMMAF’s other National Federations around the world.

Corr said:

“I am honoured to be Chairing this exciting Commission. Our sport and the passion with which IMMAF has developed worldwide has seen untold success; but we have so much more to offer communities and countries worldwide. A tailored structured approach to developing projects can bring massive benefits to our young people and especially in times like these, can help the long term sustainability of organisations and clubs.”

Demonstrating just how important youth development and the cause for peace are to IMMAF, the commission also includes President Kerrith Brown and CEO Densign White, who has a long track record of working with social projects in sport, particularly through his role as Chairman of British Charity, Sporting Equals.

Administrators to the commission are IMMAF Brand & Communications Director, Izzy Carnwath, and Member Development Consultant, Jorden Curran, whose role at IMMAF includes supporting National Federations with their projects related to community intervention, social health and wellbeing.

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IMMAF has registered with the WADA ADeL platform to boost its education of MMA participants https://immaf.org/2020/07/13/immaf-has-registered-with-the-wada-adel-platform-to-boost-its-education-of-mma-participants/ Mon, 13 Jul 2020 13:41:34 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40089

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has successfully registered with WADA ADeL, the anti-doping e-learning platform (ADeL) offering access to all topics related to clean sport and anti-doping.

Through access to the platform, IMMAF can now offer its membership enhanced courses and resources for MMA’s athletes, coaches, doctors, administrators and other participants interested in learning more about anti-doping and protecting the values of clean sport.

Over 100 IMMAF coaches were certified through WADA e-courses over the weekend.

The world governing body for MMA has implemented a comprehensive drug-testing programme at its Championships since 2015, under the leadership of expert consultant Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity, as well as ongoing anti-doping education. IMMAF has issued 9 suspensions to date.

The organisation recently announced its bolstered Anti-doping Committee and a new dedicated, Anti-doping Disciplinary Committee to strengthen its drive for a drug-free sport in amateur MMA.
 
IMMAF Anti-Doping Chair Michele Verroken commented:
“This partnership with WADA allows IMMAF to offer educational courses across the globe to our athletes, coaches, parents and medical personnel.  This is a fantastic opportunity to drive up anti-doping knowledge which in turn should lead to more informed decision making about the risks of doping, how to avoid a doping violation and how to help promote the Clean MMA message.  Testing is one way to address the problem of doping, but it is limited in its impact.  Education is far more significant and ADeL allows us to extend our support for IMMAF members to protect the values of clean sport. We look forward to engaging all our members with ADeL as evidence of our commitment to doping-free sport.”
 
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:
“Access to the WADA ADeL resource enhances IMMAF’s educational offering to members around doping in sport. I am proud of the enthusiastic take-up by our member coaches. In contact sport, fairness in competition critically impacts on the safety also of the opponent and this is well understood by IMMAF’s members who uphold the Olympic and martial arts values of respect, friendship and excellence.”

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IMMAF CEO joins new SIGA Diversity & Inclusion task force https://immaf.org/2020/07/10/immaf-ceo-joins-new-siga-diversity-inclusion-task-force/ Fri, 10 Jul 2020 09:23:23 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40086

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[Press Release via SIGA. London, 7 July 2020] 

Following the successful SIGA-Soccerex Webinar on the topic, “Football For All,” the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) has established a new Task Force dedicated to Race, Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion in order to press meaningful reform.
 
Conceived as part of the #SIGAccelerator initiative, this Task Force is composed of the following members:

  • Brian Lewis, President of the Trinidad and Tobago National Olympic Committee (TTOC), Chair of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) and Member of the SIGA Council (Chair);
  • Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services and SIGA Member;
  • Angela Melo, SIGA Council Member;
  • Densign White, CEO of International Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF) and Member of the SIGA Council;
  • Paul Elliot, Member of The FA Inclusion Advisory Board, former professional football play;
  • Ju’Riese Colόn, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Center for SafeSport;
  • Katie Simmonds, General Counsel & Senior Director, Global Partnerships, SIGA;
  • Karin Korb, Wheelchair Tennis, 2-time Paralympic and 10-time member of USA World Team & SIGA Champion;
  • Stacey Copeland, First British Woman to win the Commonwealth Title for Boxing and SIGA Champion; and
  • Pavel Klymenko, Head of Policy at FARE Network (Football Against Racism in Europe).

The Task Force’s mandate is to develop and propose a series of recommendations aimed at promoting the highest standards on race, gender, diversity, and inclusion in sport. These recommendations shall be submitted to the SIGA Council for approval by the end of August 2020 with a public announcement to be made during the SIGA Sport Integrity Week (Monday 7th September 2020), during a virtual Media Conference.
 
On the creation of the Task Force, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, CEO of SIGA and Chairman & CEO of SIGA AMERICA, commented:
 
“Zero-Tolerance is SIGA’s stance against racism and any form of discrimination and social exclusion. They have no room in any society that considers itself decent and just. And the same applies to Sport.
 
The public demonstrations that are happening everywhere are serious and constitute a powerful and timely reminder that a lot more needs to be done to bring about the much-needed cultural changes. The SIGA Task Force “Sport for All” that we are now announcing is a decisive step towards that goal. On behalf of SIGA, I thank all leaders who have responded to our call for action and volunteered to serve on this task force, and will now be working on a set of recommendations on race, gender, diversity and inclusion in sport, to made public within two months, during the Sport Integrity Week.”

 
On his role as Chair of the Task Force, Brian Lewis, President of the Trinidad and Tobago National Olympic Committee (TTOC), Chair of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committee (CANOC) and Member of the SIGA Council, said:
 
“There is a Yoruba proverb that says don’t be afraid to look at your faults. When we acknowledge our errors and face up to our shortcomings, no one can use them against us. On the issue of racism and racial discrimination and inequalities in sport. It is our duty, responsibility, and obligation to create positive change. 
 
Nelson Mandela said sport has the power to change the world while Mahatma Gandhi said be the change we want to see. We have to root out and eliminate all forms of discrimination in sport. More specifically systemic racism and racial discrimination and inequalities is a reality for too many involved in sport where the colour of your skin matters more than your character. This is unacceptable and now is the time to do something about it. We cannot continue to ignore and deny the problem.”

 
Densign White, CEO of International Mixed Martial Arts (IMMAF) and Member of the SIGA Council, said:
 
“When it comes to gender and racial equality, international sport is lagging behind. The recent Black Lives Matter protests have shone a spotlight on institutional discrimination and provided a catalyst for organisations across many sectors to look inwards and start implementing change. I am proud that SIGA, once again, is leading the charge in sport and I am honoured to have been invited onto this Task Force.” 
 
About inclusivity, Stacey Copeland, First British Woman to win the Commonwealth Title for Boxing and SIGA Champion, said:
 
“Sport is one of the most powerful things on the planet for bringing about positive change, this is why it is so important for sport to be inclusive. As a SIGA champion I am excited to be part of the task force to use our platforms and passion for sport to really make a difference.”
 
Karin Korb, Wheelchair Tennis, 2-time Paralympic and 10-time member of USA World Team & SIGA Champion, said:
 
“Working with leaders whose foundational common denominator is equity will move our work in an exponentially significant way.  While disabled people are often thought of as a monolith, I am looking forward to collaboratively furthering the work of SIGA as a member of the Race, Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion task force. I am excited to bring forward the continued and intentional inclusion of the diverse and intersectional framework of disability in our sport equity narrative.” 
 
Affy Sheikh, Head of Starlizard Integrity Services and SIGA Member, said:
 
“Inclusion is an absolutely vital tenet of sport – without it, its integrity will always be called into question. I am therefore delighted to see a strong commitment from SIGA towards eliminating any kind of discrimination in this area. We should all want to see fairness in sport and that means we have to set ourselves high standards in this regard.”

ABOUT SIGA
 
SIGA is the world´s largest coalition in the field of sports governance and integrity. Supported by more than 100 international multi-industry supporters, SIGA is an independent and neutral organisation whose mission is to bring about meaningful reforms and enhance the integrity of all sports through a set of universal standards operated by an independent and neutral body. SIGA is the only organisation to bring together sport, governments, academia, international organisations, sponsors, business, rights holders, NGOs and professional services companies, from every region in the world, around a common cause of fostering greater integrity throughout sport. Click on the hyperlinks for the list of SIGA Members and Committed Supporters and SIGA Partners.
 
For more information on SIGA, including its vision, mission and reform agenda, please refer to the website: www.siga-sport.com
 
To contact SIGA, please email: comms@siga-sport.com.
 
Find SIGA on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SIGAlliance, Instagram at sigalliance and LinkedIN at https://www.linkedin.com/company/sigalliance/.

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Independent Financial Audit Commission given greater role in IMMAF https://immaf.org/2020/07/10/independent-financial-audit-commission-given-greater-role-in-immaf/ Fri, 10 Jul 2020 09:10:22 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40084

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The International Association of Mixed Martial Arts is underlining its commitment to the principles of good governance by giving the Financial Audit Committee a greater oversight role in its operations.

IMMAF CEO Densign White said: “There have been plenty of horror stories in recent years about serious financial mismanagement by International Federations and we are determined that IMMAF will adopt the highest possible standards of fiscal propriety. The Audit Committee is fully independent and will audit the financial activities of IMMAF and provide oversight of financial matters including upcoming commercial activities.”

The seriousness of the mission can be seen in the appointment of Denis Rowan as Committee Chair. Although a certified accountant by training, Denis is now best known as an expert in International Conflict Resolution with extensive work in the Northern Ireland Peace and Political Process. Denis’ wide-ranging experience across sectors and international experience in the USA and Japan, made him an ideal leader for IMMAF.

“I was delighted to be invited to be Chair of IMMAF’s Financial Audit Committee,” said Denis. “Having discussed the position with Densign White, I was pleased to see that IMMAF understands the value of accountability but also the gains for them in having solid governance arrangements which increases efficiency to the organisation and contributes to growth.”

IMMAF’s Financial Audit Committee members are Svetlana Odintsova (NED) and Dr. Luigi Perillo (ITA). Both have extensive career experience in high level corporate finance but also have key roles in MMA promotions and governance across both the amateur and professional scenes. Mr Perillo has a 25 year background in MMA and is now the President of the Swiss MMA Federation, while Ms Odintsova has extensive experience with both WMMA (now merged with IMMAF) and promotion, M1.

“Svetlana and Luigi blend expertise in finance and the entire sport of MMA, which is ideal”, said Denis. “The priorities going forward are to develop, implement and monitor robust and effective governance arrangements of the highest international standards. We will support IMMAF, the Board, management, and staff to achieve their organisational strategic goals.”

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IMMAF welcomes nationally recognised Zambian Federation with its focus on social change https://immaf.org/2020/07/08/immaf-welcomes-nationally-recognised-zambian-federation-with-its-focus-on-social-change/ Wed, 08 Jul 2020 14:07:58 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40082

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The Zambia Mixed Martial Arts Association (ZMMAA) makes a new addition to the IMMAF family from Africa.


The organisation represents the majority of practitioners in Zambia’s MMA community and aims to expand their opportunities through the establishment of a national amateur league and coaches’ education and certification.


ZMMAA President Benjamin Bush brings significant experience in sport development through his extended work in sport management, athlete development and social projects which use martial arts to help the underprivileged. This includes an ongoing programme in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, using MMA as a vehicle for engaging youth in self-development to engender social change.


Despite being a young federation, ZMMAA has set exceptional standards for the development of MMA and has achieved approval for the sport under the Zambia Martial Art Federation (ZAMAF) which sits under the National Sports Council of Zambia.


Membership to the ZMMAA concurs a wide range of benefits including access to seminars and clinics for technical training, refereeing and judging, cornering, event management, strength and conditioning, sports rehabilitation and sports psychology. The governing body provides judges, referees and sanctioning officials for competitions.


IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“I am proud that despite the challenges to sport posed by the epidemic in 2020, IMMAF continues to grow and to increase its global diversity. I have great personal confidence in President Bush as leader of the Zambia Mixed Martial Arts Federation, particularly in light of his social work through MMA, which expresses the core values of our sport and is a testimony to its capacity to engender peace and positive change.”

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IMMAF CEO Densign White nominated for Fighters Only World MMA Award https://immaf.org/2020/07/03/immaf-ceo-densign-white-nominated-for-fighters-only-world-mma-award/ Fri, 03 Jul 2020 07:34:47 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40078

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  • PLUS, REGULATORY AFFAIRS DIRECTOR MARC GODDARD NOMINATED AGAIN FOR REFEREE OF THE YEAR
  • CAST YOUR VOTE


International Mixed Martial Arts Federation CEO Densign White has been nominated for the Leading Man Award in the annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards. This is the first time that amateur MMA has been represented in the prestigious, industry showcase.


Densign commented: “I am grateful for this nomination on behalf of IMMAF, which is a credit to the hard work and significant achievements of IMMAF’s Members, our President, Board, Committees, staff and volunteers in the development of the sport of MMA. It is fantastic to see this work recognised in the flagship industry awards and I would like to thank the Fighters Only nominations panel for this acknowledgement.”


White is accompanied by IMMAF Director of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Goddard, who has been nominated again for Referee of the Year. Marc is best known by MMA fans for his on-screen work with UFC and other major professional MMA promoters across the globe, but has also been an integral part of the development of amateur MMA and the education and licensing of officials with IMMAF since 2012. Indeed, referees that Marc has trained on the amateur circuit are now refereeing on top tier professional shows, including premier promotion UFC.


ABOUT DENSIGN WHITE
Densign White is a three-times Olympian with a Commonwealth Games gold medal in judo, and a twenty-year career in sports governance.


Following 11 years as Chairman of the British Judo Association and stints as Head Sports Director for the European Judo Union and executive member of the British Olympic Association, White became IMMAF CEO in 2014.


Under Densign’s leadership the world MMA governing body has expanded to 110 member nations; grown its global competition calendar to 7 events per year; introduced a World Anti-doping Agency compliant drug testing programme and developed talent development pathways for MMA coaches and participants.


Under Densign’s charge, the IMMAF has fought a protracted battle for official sport recognition of MMA in order to obtain the same rights and benefits for participants as those of other sports. See petition here.


Major achievements have included IMMAF’s active contribution to aiding the legalisation of MMA in France this year and the launching of the first World Youth MMA Championships for 12 – 18 year olds in 2019.


Further to this, White stands on the Council of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) and is Chairman for Sporting Equals, which works to promote ethnic diversity in UK sport, representing MMA in both these forums.


IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented: “On behalf of the IMMAF Board, I would like congratulate Mark Goddard and especially the CEO on his award nomination: Having worked closely with Densign for many years I can testify first hand to his passion and commitment to good governance and integrity in sport, always focussed on the rights and best interests of the athlete and those who participate. These are the drivers of IMMAF’s goal to see MMA formally recognised as a sport. I could not think of a better person to lead our organisation in this charge.”


ABOUT THE WORLD MMA AWARDS
The annual Fighters Only World MMA Awards sees a panel of experts select nominees across twenty categories, before MMA fans globally inherit the power to determine the winner through voting at www.worldmmaawards.com.  Awards are presented to winners each year at a prestigious live gala event attended by a who’s who of athletes, fighters, celebrities and other famous personalities in sports and entertainment. In response to the global pandemic, this year’s black-tie ceremony has been postponed until October.

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Regulatory commission at the heart of global growth of IMMAF https://immaf.org/2020/07/02/regulatory-commission-at-the-heart-of-global-growth-of-immaf/ Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:47:35 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40075

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Marc Goddard, one of the best referees in the world of professional MMA, is now leading the charge to make IMMAF an outstanding reference in the field of regulatory governance.


Marc has become an icon of the sport after working exclusively in MMA for 20 years – 16 of which as an official. He has been the referee at world title fights for UFC in front of 60,000 people and many other high-profile bouts across the world (but was also a promoter, coach and athlete before that).


In 2011, Marc was part of the founding team for UK based charity, Safe MMA, which set the first medical standard for MMA in the region and became a trustee in 2018. He has become integral to the development of amateur MMA through his work with IMMAF as Director of Regulatory Affairs since 2012. He also stands as President of the newly created English Mixed Martial Arts Association.


“The future of our sport and the portrayal and perception of it remains so important to me,” said Marc. “The effect that officials and the entire subject of regulatory affairs has is a crucial element in seeing and realising that goal fulfilled.”

The primary role of the Regulatory Affairs Commission, which is composed of an international group of outstanding officials from every part of the world, is to develop universal protocol for safe, amateur MMA competition.


But the importance of the regulatory aspect of the sport means that the Regulatory Commission is involved in virtually every aspect of the sport, from developing new rules and regulations, providing technical and safety guidelines for the sport as well as progression pathways and education for officials.

The commission also provides guidance for member federations involved in professional event sanctioning under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts but is also closely involved in other policy discussions, such as the development of an IMMAF policy for transgender competition and technical matters such as the development of the “perfect competition cage”.

“It is my duty that everyone involved in this area employs the highest of standards and integrity,” said Marc. “You are what you do and leading from the front with that always in mind shall stand us in the strongest of steads.”

IMMAF Regulatory Commission 2019-23
Chairman: Marc Goddard
Guillaume Bravo
Asse Hokkanen
Peter Hickmott
Maria Makhmutova
Clemens Werner

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IMMAF’s new communications and marketing commission blends media know-how with promotional expertise https://immaf.org/2020/07/01/immafs-new-communications-and-marketing-commission-blends-media-know-how-with-promotional-expertise/ Wed, 01 Jul 2020 07:11:13 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40073

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POSITION AVAILABLE FOR FEMALE BRAND & MARKETING EXPERT

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has created a new Communications and Marketing Commission which brings together legends of Olympic sport journalism with promotional experts from the sport of MMA.

Adrian Warner, the Commission’s chair, was Olympic Correspondent for the BBC during the 2012 Games and previously worked for the London Evening Standard and Thomson Reuters Agency as a sport correspondent for more than 16 years, many of those based in Germany. He now works as a media consultant and as a senior University Lecturer in multi-media journalism at Northampton University.

“Our team of international journalists and experts has been put together to help with guidance on dealing successfully with the global media and helping IMMAF to attract a mass audience. They have experience of a wide range of Olympic sports in different capacities,” said Adrian.

Another Commission member with impressive sport journalism credentials is Steve Wilson, who has been Executive  Director of Communications and International Relations for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and previously worked as the European Sports editor and Olympic correspondent for Associated Press news agency, covering all major international sporting events over a 25 year period. He currently works as a communications consultant and has recently helped to deliver key projects for the IOC.

The Commission is enhanced by the entrepreneurial energy and marketing skills of two MMA experts, Martin Lewandoski and Rashid Salleh.

From his native Poland, renowned promoter Martin has built KSW into one of the biggest MMA promotions in the world over a 16-year career, as well as launching multiple broadcast and multi-media initiatives. He stands as the president of the Polish MMA Federation under IMMAF, MMA Polska.

Rashid is known in Malaysia as an actor, comedian, sportscaster and journalist, working previously with amateur MMA promotion, Malaysian Invasion, and is now president of the Malaysia Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA). His well-publicised goal is to educate the masses about the differences between amateur and professional mixed martial arts (MMA).

“The Commission is an eclectic group providing advice and guidance to the federation as it communicates the benefits and appeal of amateur MMA. One of our first major goals is to set up a scheme for young journalists from around the world who are keen to report on MMA. We want to help IMMAF provide crucial reporting experiences for young journalists at major events to develop diverse journalistic talent covering the sport in the future.”

To complete the team, IMMAF’s Communications & Marketing Commission is looking to recruit a female expert in Brand and Marketing, preferably with experience in Digital. We are currently a majority white commission and therefore keen to encourage applications from talented, qualified individuals of black and other ethnicities to strengthen our expertise in international, public relations through a more diverse team.

For enquiries, please contact IMMAF’s Brand & Communications Director at isobel.carnwath@immaf.org

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Slovenian Mixed Martial Arts association boosts IMMAF’s membership in Europe https://immaf.org/2020/06/30/slovenian-mixed-martial-arts-association-boosts-immafs-membership-in-europe/ Tue, 30 Jun 2020 12:01:50 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40071

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) proudly welcomes the Slovenian Mixed Martial Arts Association (SMMAA) as it confirms its latest member from Europe.

Headed by its president Zlatko Mahic, the democratic SMMAA body is underpinned by a vast base of member clubs and diverse leadership made up of individuals with key experience in event promotion, the medical sector, law and banking, sports training and as certified MMA officials.

Registered in the capital city of Ljubljana, the SMMAA aims to increase standards for the sport of MMA in line with the universal standards and technical programs of the IMMAF.

SMMAA aims include to:

  • Promote MMA and grappling sports;
  • Train and educate in the spirit of mixed martial arts (MMA);
  • Train and promote sports and martial arts in the spirit of fair play;
  • Inform and raise awareness of self defense systems for the general public;
  • Encourage cooperation and membership within the association;
  • Encourage youth to join the sport;
  • Raise awareness of the positive effects of sport and recreation;
  • Establish national competition circuits;
  • Assist in event sanctioning and organizing;
  • Establish a capable national team for international IMMAF championships;
  • Take care of the quality preparation and safety of athletes;
  • Promote education and licencing of technical staff, medicals, coaches, athletes, officials, cutmen and cutwomen.

SMMAA president, Zlatko Mahic commented:

“I’m delighted to take this step for Slovenian MMA in joining IMMAF. This is an important step for the fast-growing hotbed of talent here in Slovenia. We are excited to prove ourselves on the international stage across IMMAF’s impressive array of tournaments and cannot wait to continue to expand our nation’s impact on the sport of mixed martial arts.”

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IMMAF continues its expansion in South America as Bolivia joins https://immaf.org/2020/06/26/immaf-continues-its-expansion-in-south-america-as-bolivia-joins/ Fri, 26 Jun 2020 12:27:30 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40068

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40+ MMA Federations have national level sport recognition.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) welcomes the Bolivian Mixed Martial Arts Federation (BMMAF) as the latest member nation to join MMA’s world governing body, under the presidency of Florenco Artega Laura

Official sport recognition of MMA is flourishing under IMMAF national federations in South America. The BMMAF joins already with recognition from its national Sports Ministry, attained in December 2019, requiring compliance to its rules and regulation under Bolivian law.

Based in the capital city of La Paz, the Bolivian MMA Federation has a membership spanning 40 MMA clubs united under BMMAF secretary, Trinidad Andrea Arispe Aranibar.

Now working in compliance with global objectives for the development of MMA under the IMMAF, the Bolivian federation has outlined its priority goals as follows:

· Establish a national amateur championship and introduce a talent pathway for young athletes.

· Introduce national members to educational opportunities and certification pathways for coaches, referees and judges.

· Develop the grass roots participation of MMA in the country.

· Collaborate with neighbouring countries in the development of the sport.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“The IMMAF family continues to grow, despite the challenges faced by global sport at present. With representation of 110 nations, over 40 of whom are formally recognised by their national authorities, and with further applications in process, we look forward to welcoming new national teams and delegates to our expanded family at IMMAF’s next international Championships.”

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Medical commission at heart of IMMAF’s Covid-19 policy https://immaf.org/2020/06/25/medical-commission-at-heart-of-immafs-covid-19-policy/ Thu, 25 Jun 2020 12:04:44 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40066

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Medical Commission, one of its longest established commissions, has been finalising medical advisory protocols for a return to training and competition for amateur MMA in a new Covid-19 landscape.

The Medical Commission is chaired by Dr Randa Basharon (USA) and composed of leading international experts in sport medicine.

“The IMMAF Medical Committee members are leaders committed to the advancement of medical care and safety of MMA fighters,” said Dr Basharon. “We continue to pioneer medical safety policies for all competition groups including Junior and Youth, but we are also advising IMMAF on timely issues related to Covid-19 protocols and the issue of transgender participation in amateur MMA.”

The IMMAF Medical Committee has an unwavering focus on best practices in brain injury prevention and brain injury detection.

In terms of our priorities for 2020, this Medical Committee has also developed a ringside physician medical manual, said Dr Basharon. “The ringside medical manual and brain injury prevention are both ongoing works in progress to establish reproducible medical policies and procedures for quality and safety assurance during our competitions.”

The IMMAF Medical Committee continues to develop policies and procedures to advance the safety of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). MMA has a growing global presence and the growth of the sport has demonstrated the need for ongoing safety regulations and policies. IMMAF’s ongoing alliance with SafeMMA has proved to be a successful component in athlete pre and post-fight screening and evaluations.

The IMMAF Medical Commission continues to address medical safety as it relates to the rapid expansion of MMA and the scalability issues represented by increased international growth of the sport. Each year, IMMAF’s medical committee participates in education and research agendas for the purpose of advancing the safety and medical care in MMA.

IMMAF Medical Commission 2019-2023
Randa Basharon (USA) – Chairwoman
Dr Aljulanda Almaskari (OMN)
Prof Dan Healy (IRL)
Dr David Wang (USA)

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IMMAF Disciplinary Committee is an expert blend of law enforcement and sport specialists https://immaf.org/2020/06/23/immaf-disciplinary-committee-is-an-expert-blend-of-law-enforcement-and-sport-specialists/ Tue, 23 Jun 2020 13:32:55 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40063

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Disciplinary Committee is finalising a number of important policy documents under the leadership of its new Chairman Will Lexton-Jones.

The IMMAF Disciplinary Committee is responsible for the management and resolution of any asserted violations of the IMMAF Code of Ethics and other IMMAF Rules and Procedures. The Committee will also be responsible for setting up an advisory group/tribunal pool to help with individual cases.

The Disciplinary Committee is made up of a diverse team with law enforcement, sport and business expertise, led by Will Lexton-Jones. Will is a Detective Chief Inspector with the Metropolitan Police based in London. He also competed in martial arts and wrestling and remains active in sport.

“I am extremely proud to lead the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Disciplinary Committee,” said Will. “The role offers a unique opportunity to combine my life-long interest in martial arts with my background as a police investigator and senior detective. I am privileged to work with a diverse, highly experienced cross-profession team to support IMMAF become a world leader in sporting governance. This year, my colleagues and I have set an ambitious objective to develop discipline policy and case management process that cater to the unique challenges of Mixed Martial Arts, to ensure fairness, proportionality, inclusivity and safety for all our members.”

Stanislav Nedkov is a former UFC Fighter and is now President of the Bulgarian Mixed Martial Arts Federation. He is also Chair of IMMAF’s Youth Development Commission

Chris Dunn is a Barrister. Chris has a long-standing relationship with the martial arts and sporting world. He is a criminal barrister but has experience in sporting tribunals and has represented club players at RFU disciplinary tribunals.

Tara Johnson is a UK Police Sergeant. Tara is one of the lead planners for the largest, most complex public order and security planning events in UK police history. Tara also has a credible martial arts background, having competed in different disciplines, including BJJ and wrestling.
Andy Herbert is a Martial arts and IT professional. Andy has a deep knowledge and understanding of the martial arts world, including MMA. He is a professional Ju-jitsu instructor and senior black belt at Ju-jitsu, and has built a thriving IT business from scratch.

IMMAF Disciplinary Committee 2019-2023
Will Lexton-Jones
Stanislav Nedkov
Chris Dunn
Tara Johnson
Andy Herbert

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Coaching athletes after prolonged training restrictions in Mixed Martial Arts https://immaf.org/2020/06/22/coaching-athletes-after-prolonged-training-restrictions-in-mixed-martial-arts/ Mon, 22 Jun 2020 12:02:49 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40061

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INFORMATION LETTER FROM IMMAF COACHING COMMITTEE

Disclaimer: As more and more countries are returning to normality within sports practice, we feel there is a need to assist our coaches in understanding areas of critical concern, while working with athletes returning after the prolonged break. This is not intended as a guide, but solely informative under current circumstances in providing some approaches, teaching methods and coaching strategies proven effective in the past similar circumstances. It is essential that all coaches follow the official guidelines enforced by the national health and sports authorities in their countries when returning to practice.

LONG BREAKS FROM REGULAR SPORTS ACTIVITY AND EFFECT ON THE BODY.
It is quite common in sport that athletes might stop regular practice as a consequence of injury or illness, for example. A short-term break of 1 week is not that critical for the overall condition of an athlete, but 2, 3 and more weeks always have more serious implications.

A volume of research shows that beginners and elite athletes are the two groups most affected by the long “no practice” period. Athletes who have had the opportunity to maintain their condition by doing some physical activity during the lockdown are in the better position and will be able to rebuild their previous condition more easily.

There are two major areas in which an athlete may have lost capacity and be experiencing some deterioration after the long break, each with a domino effect on the other. These are – technical skills and physical qualities.

The Cardio-vascular system is the one most affected after a long break. Its capacity to transport oxygen through the body will be reduced, causing a loss of endurance by up to 20% just after 3 weeks of no practice. The Muscular system will see a decrease in function and an athlete may feel in himself that he is
“less fit, less strong, less agile and fast”. Tendons and ligaments become less flexible and less elastic without regular exercise. Hormonal systems, which were normal before the break, will experience a negative impact too and will be less able to cope with the stress of the physical activity. Moreover, athletes will gain extra weight as a result of temporary inactivity.

REBUILDING PHYSICAL QUALITIES AFTER THE LONG BREAK.
A coach needs to plan return to practice in a careful and mindful way, the main reason being that “an athlete’s body is not the same as a few months before”. Safety and injury avoidance should remain top priority for the whole period of rebuilding the athletes’ condition, as well as beyond.

General rules that should be applied during such a critical and sensitive period of time are:

  • In conducting the first training sessions to make the warm-up longer and less intensive;
  • Include more general exercises and fundamental moves in the warm-up and main part of the session, and gradually include sport-specific drills as you feel your athletes are ready;
  • Spend the first 2-3 weeks on rebuilding general cardio-endurance to previous levels. For this avoid exercises with high intensity and interval training and always allow your athlete full recovery between blocks of exercises;
  • Make sure that exercises and drills you are planning for the training session are predominantly aerobic
  • and of a mild intensity at the beginning.
  • Make sure your athletes have sufficient time for full recovery between drills or blocks of exercises. Keep in mind that recovery rate is very individual.
  • When returning to weight training remember that tendons and ligaments may have lost a significant portion of their flexibility and elasticity. Therefore, an athlete should begin with exercises that allow for smaller amplitude in the joints and using moderate weights. Frequency of weight training per week should be significantly reduced from prior to the break in training.

REBUILDING TECHNICAL SKILLS
A coach should consider the following:

  • Due to partial loss of intermuscular and intramuscular coordination a well-known technique may be performed with some errors. Therefore, it is not beneficial to start with a quick execution of a technique. It is safer to start rebuilding techniques with slow playback and to increase the speed only when the coach is satisfied that the biomechanical structure of the move, throw, punch etc. is correct.
  • Remember the golden sequence of the skill development: 1. precision (perfect biomechanics) strength and finally, 3. speed
  • An athlete should start rebuilding their technical skills with pre-arranged drills, to include
  • attack-defense, pre-agreed action – reaction. This kind of interaction with the partner will help to rebuild their timing, spatial awareness, and eye-to-hand coordination.
  • Sparring should be deferred to a later stage and the decision to start this form of practice needs to be managed very mindfully and carefully.

MONITORING PROGRESS.
A steady rate of growth of aerobic capacity of your athletes should be the key indicator of the success of the training plan. The simplest way to monitor progress is to look at recovery rate after mild aerobic exercise.

EXAMPLE: Take any aerobic activity common to your club (and well known to your students), for example, running around the gym for 2 minutes. Check the heart rate straight after the run (HR1), and after the 45 seconds of rest (HR2). Ask your athlete to memorise the difference (HR1-HR2). Repeat the testing every session and compare. The number (difference) should increase, which shows your athlete is recovering more quickly and his body becoming more adapted to the aerobic workload.

A CHECKLIST BEFORE THE START
It is wise to gather some information about your athlete prior to admitting him back to practice:

1. His/ her weight, as many people gain weight during time out of practice
2. His/ her general condition
3. If he/she was able to maintain some activity during the lockdown

IMMAF Coaching Commission wishes everybody a speedy recovery and good luck!

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MMA’s application for sport recognition rejected by GAISF again https://immaf.org/2020/06/19/mmas-application-for-sport-recognition-rejected-by-gaisf-again/ Fri, 19 Jun 2020 16:57:13 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40054

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“We have advised GAISF that we wish our application to continue to remain active and we will continue to campaign and fight for justice”.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s latest application to the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) for observer status membership was refused yesterday. This was despite the MMA governing body meeting all known criteria for sport recognition and having engaged with GAISF throughout three application processes over four years.

No reason was given by GAISF in its letter to IMMAF, which stated merely:

“We regret to inform you that following a thorough discussion, the GAISF Council has resolved not to grant the GAISF’S Observer Status to IMMAF. Please be assured that we will continue to evaluate your application and reassess it in the future should you wish to request it.”

[See full letter below.]

Neither was any prior notice given to IMMAF of the decision-making meeting taking place on 19 June. GAISF further declined to advise as to which representatives of GAISF were present at the meeting.

Nevertheless, IMMAF has been instructed by GAISF that its application remains active and the IMMAF CEO has expressed IMMAF’s wish to continue with it.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“Despite IMMAF meeting all known criteria, GAISF has continually refused to give any consistent or clear answers to IMMAF through our four years of willing engagement with them: They will not give any explanation for their decision. They will not tell us who was in the meeting. They will not tell us who had powers of decision over our application, nor will they tell us which combat sports have objected. They still have not explained why some martial arts have said MMA is incompatible with them. The CEO and I have been chastised for being aggressive for asking these questions.”

IMMAF CEO, Densign White, commented:

“This treatment of IMMAF is as shocking as it is antiquated. International Sport would seem to be run effectively by a “Gentlemen’s Club” with no requirement for accountability, transparency, representation or any other markers of good governance, despite the impact their decision making has on sports participants and communities worldwide. We urge GAISF to emerge from the era in which the modern Olympic Movement was born and become accountable as is demanded of every other modern governance body in every other sector.

“For avoidance of doubt, we have advised GAISF that we wish our application to remain active and we will continue to campaign and fight for justice”.

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Anti-doping disciplinary committee enhances IMMAF’s anti-doping structures https://immaf.org/2020/06/18/anti-doping-disciplinary-committee-enhances-immafs-anti-doping-structures/ Thu, 18 Jun 2020 13:04:41 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40022

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Anti-doping Disciplinary Committee is now up and running as part of a bolstered anti-doping structure.


The new Disciplinary Committee, chaired by UK based barrister Max Shephard, will manage and resolve any asserted Anti-Doping Rule Violation or other dispute arising from the implementation of those rules, policies and procedures arising from the Results Management Process as described in the IMMAF Anti-Doping Rules, with right of appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


Setting up a separate committee was approved by the General Assembly of IMMAF following a recommendation of the Chair of the Anti-doping Committee, Michele Verroken (pictured).


Ms Verroken is recognised as one of the world’s foremost experts in anti-doping and sport law. She has been responsible for creating and managing appropriate anti-doping processes for IMMAF.


“Chairing IMMAF’s Anti-Doping Committee is a privilege as well as a challenge,” said Michele. “I want our programme to reach beyond the current anti-doping requirements to further the well-being of IMMAF members, athletes and their support personnel. We would welcome interest from like-minded people to assist our work.”


Like all international federations, IMMAF is firmly committed to the welfare of its athletes and to the promotion of integrity through the sport; the Anti-Doping Committee plays a critical role in monitoring establishing and delivering WADA Code standards and progress towards our objective of CLEAN MMA.


“It is essential to our mission that IMMAF becomes a signatory to the WADA Code, to demonstrate the preparedness of the sport to achieve fair and clean MMA,” said Michele. “Being able to work in a coordinated way with the support of other anti-doping colleagues will serve our athletes better, ensure we attract the right support personnel to our sport and safeguard the well-being of MMA. For those who aspire to professional MMA, we set the foundation for doing it right and for those who aim to participate as amateurs, they can compete and train with confidence that the sport is protecting their interests too.”


The Anti-doping Committee oversees IMMAF’s anti-doping policies and implementation across IMMAF competitions ensuring that IMMAF’s Anti-doping Policy is WADA compliant. The committee includes a panel of expert medical professionals who are highly experienced in the field of Anti-doping. As volunteers with different backgrounds and origins, each member has a wealth of unique experience and are all committed to making IMMAF an outstanding example of good governance and athlete-oriented sport development.


IMMAF Anti-doping Committee 2019-2023:

Michele Verroken (GBR)
Dr. Jack Kreindler (GBR)
Prem Kumar (MAL)
Veronika Nalbatska (BUL)
Dr. David Wang (USA).

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Top MMA prospect Muhammad Mokaev turns pro https://immaf.org/2020/06/12/top-mma-prospect-muhammad-mokaev-turns-pro/ Fri, 12 Jun 2020 17:41:02 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40018

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As an amateur MMA fighter Muhammad Mokaev set new standards that will be aspired to for years to come. He smashed the conventional mould, blazed his own trail and snatched our attention along the way. At age 19 his sponsors and global fanbase of thousands eclipses that of many established professionals and the world’s leading promoters were lining up their bids as his attention turned towards taking the next step.

At 23-0 Mokaev may not be the first amateur to break the 20 wins barrier, he follows in the footsteps of IMMAF world champions and predecessors whose records have ranged from 25-1 to 28-0, yet, above all others, only Mokaev has been able to command such a level of global notoriety.

Mokaev has shown wisdom beyond his years in preparation for a highly anticipated pro career. Striking a sublime balance between that of a humble role model and a fiery, charismatic fight seller, the young athlete was already bringing a spotlight to his domestic level bouts prior to his 18th birthday. Born in Dagestan, Mokaev would hone his craft upon discovering wrestling and MMA at a young age after his family moved to north of England.

While also representing the British wrestling team at an international level, Mokaev took over the UK MMA scene and following his 18th birthday excited fans as he was now able to step up to the IMMAF platform, amateur MMA’s premier proving ground. Dedicating two years to IMMAF competition with Team UK (later restructured as Team England), the men’s bantamweight prodigy earned back-to-back gold medals at the Junior IMMAF World Championships in 2018 and 2019, in addition to winning the 2019 Jr European Open title followed by a successful senior division debut, cruising to gold at the 2020 Oceania Open. Mokaev proved that his talent could shine beyond UK borders, now besting top representatives of Sweden, Russia, Ireland Bulgaria and Japan, including an inspiring trilogy of bouts with Japan’s own top up and comer, Reo Yamaguchi.

Revealing closely contested discussions that saw the likes of Bellator MMA and ONE Championship join the race for his signature, Mokaev announced that his professional career was set to begin upon putting pen to paper with Bahrain based organisation, Brave CF. Mokaev cited the promotion’s support and recognition for his career potential in addition to retaining the opportunity for a move to the UFC in the coming years.

The bar has been raised considerably for the level of prominence that a complete package can accumulate in amateur MMA. Mokaev has set a leading example with a legacy that stands as a motivational case study for future generations of talent.

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Brian Ebersole named as the head coach of the Australian National Team https://immaf.org/2020/06/12/brian-ebersole-named-as-the-head-coach-of-the-australian-national-team/ Fri, 12 Jun 2020 17:35:23 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40016

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By Caoilte de Barra

The President of International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (IMMAFA), Richie Cranny, announces a major shake-up in the Australian national team, which sees UFC veteran Brian Ebersole take the reigns as head coach.

Ebersole; who moved to Australia from Indiana, USA more than a decade ago, takes charge of the Australian team; currently ranked 7th in the IMMAF Senior team rankings.

Joining Ebersole in coaching the Australian National team will be Renato Subotic, Joseph Luciano and Ben Nguyen.

The new coaching team were present with team Australia at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships, which took place in Gold Coast from March 6-9. Over the course of his 16-year career as a pro, Ebersole has fought across the globe in a variety of weight divisions ranging from Lightweight to Heavyweight. He competed in the likes of Strikeforce and IFL prior to making his UFC debut back in 2011, where he made the walk to the Octagon on 8 occasions clocking a record of 5-3 in the UFC.

The 39-year-old decided to call it a day in 2016 in Melbourne, Australia, hanging up his gloves after what was his 71st pro bout.

Along with his long-standing fight career, Ebersole was a Division I collegiate wrestler prior to his career. Along with that he brings a wealth of coaching experience from being the former head coach of two highly renowned gyms, Tiger Muay Thai and MMA and Evolve MMA. 

The rest of Ebersole’s coaching staff also boasts a plethora of MMA experience. Renato Subotic is no stranger to the IMMAF circuit as he was a coach for the Italian National Team back in 2017 & 2018. As a pro his MMA record stands at 2-0, with both wins coming by way of submission. His extensive combat sports experience includes being a member of the Italian Karate team paired with Boxing and Muay Thai bouts.

Likewise, Aussie, Joseph Luciano is another notable addition to the team. Having competed in 6 IMMAF competitions, Luciano has represented his country at IMMAF competition more than any other Australian athlete. Back in 2018 he secured gold in both the IMMAF Africa Open and IMMAF Oceania Open while competing as a Middleweight. He has featured for Australia in the World Championships on 3 occasions, taking home a bronze medal twice. Luciano is now 1-1 since turning pro, competing in the ONE Warrior Series promotion.Last of the newly announced coaching team, Ben Nguyen is known across the world following his time in the UFC where he broke into the top 10. In the UFC he competed against some of the best flyweights in the world, many of which are former title challengers. Nguyen is currently signed to the Asian based promotion RIZIN.

After helping IMMAFA secure 14 medals at the 2020 Oceania Open, 5 of which were gold, the eyes and expectation will be on the new ‘A’ team to help drive the nation into a top 5 position in the IMMAF world rankings.

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Kosovar Mixed Martial Arts Federation joins IMMAF https://immaf.org/2020/06/12/kosovan-mixed-martial-arts-federation-joins-immaf/ Fri, 12 Jun 2020 12:46:40 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40013

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) proudly adds to its significant presence in the Balkan Peninsula with its welcoming of the Kosovo Mixed Martial Arts Federation (Federata Arteve Mikse Marciale Kosoves – FAMMK).


Founded in 2019 and based in the capital city of Prishtina, FAMMK is headed by IMMAF championships veteran Besart Berisha, who represented Austria at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships and 2018 European Open. The Kosovo-born athlete drew upon the experience of the Austrian MMA Federation, who were instrumental in assisting the establishment of FAMMK. With a diverse and skilled board accompanied by a large volunteer workforce, the FAMMK have worked efficiently to unite local MMA clubs and establish a relationship with Kosovo’s Olympic Committee.


As a result, Kosovo hosted its first international competition for amateurs last February, welcoming talent from Albania, Macedonia and Austria.


While the newly established body continues to receive support from fellow IMMAF nations including Austria and Germany, FAMMK aims to firmly establish MMA among the top 3 most active sports in Kosovo.


The objectives of the FAMMK include the:

– Introduction of the MMA community to IMMAF educational pathways for coaches and officials.
– Establishment of regular competitions for domestic talent.
– Development of a national team for the IMMAF Championships platform.
– Continuation of work with schools to establish youth opportunities through MMA
– Continued progress to achieve official recognition from the Kosovar government and/or the National Olympic Committee.

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IMMAF registers in Switzerland ‘The epicentre of the Olympic Movement’ https://immaf.org/2020/06/02/immaf-registers-in-switzerland-the-epicentre-of-the-olympic-movement/ Tue, 02 Jun 2020 09:00:41 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40010

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has has completed the registration process to become a non-profit organisation in Switzerland.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented: “The move means that IMMAF’s official office is registered in a location closer to the majority of International Federations, with Switzerland known as the epicentre of the Olympic Movement.”

IMMAF is the only legitimate international governing body for the sport of MMA (mixed martial arts) focused on furthering its development, recognition and regulation and enabling amateur competition though the organisation of national MMA federations around the world. With a seven-year track record of organising international amateur Championships and developing the sport globally, IMMAF’s membership today includes over 100 National Federations worldwide with National Olympic Committee recognition in around 40 countries.

The IMMAF was founded in Sweden in 2012 where it has been based until now.

Brown said: “The move reflects IMMAF’s ambitions for MMA to be recognised as a sport by the Olympic Movement.”

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Petition for the sport recognition of MMA reaches its first 10,000 signatures https://immaf.org/2020/06/01/petition-for-the-sport-recognition-of-mma-reaches-its-first-10000-signatures/ Mon, 01 Jun 2020 13:19:11 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40008

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Sign petition here: https://www.change.org/mmaisasport

The “MMA Is A Sport” petition for the recognition of MMA as a sport by the Olympic Movement and governments has reached its first 10,000 signatures in just over a week.

This marks a significant milestone since in the United Kingdom, 10,000 signatures on a petition warrants a response from Parliament.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and MMA stakeholders assert that formal recognition would enable the implementation of governance and regulations to ensure health and safety for recreational participants, as well as amateur and professional athletes. It would help foster youth development in MMA, and afford same rights and protections for MMA athletes as students of other sports, such as access to medical services, insurance, anti-doping, safeguarding, etc. In addition, formal recognition of MMA as a sport by the Olympic Movement would pave the way for MMA to become an Olympic sport and allow MMA athletes to represent their country on the world’s most prestigious sporting platform.

IMMAF has applied multiple times to gain recognition for MMA from the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) since 2016, but despite satisfying all known criteria has been denied acceptance so far for political reasons. Influential leaders from other Olympic sports have been outspoken against MMA and have actively lobbied against it. This has included advising the World Anti-doping Agency not to accept IMMAF as a signatory, despite its meeting all criteria. IMMAF has a legal case against WADA in underway in the ordinary Swiss Courts.

Meanwhile, IMMAF is currently waiting for a response to its third application to GAISF for Observer Status. In January 2020, IMMAF was informed by GAISF that:

“several Representatives of GAISF Members had affirmed their opposition to the granting of the Observer Status to IMMAF. Their determinations…is justified on several reasons including but not limited to the inherent definition of mixed martial arts and that its competition rules are in clear compatibility issue with GAISF Members. We would also like to specify that GAISF had received individual submissions confirming compatibility issue due to the similarity between MMA and several combat sports.”

As requested, IMMAF responded with detailed analysis and evidence in February for reassessment. However, GAISF’s decision-making has been postponed further with the cancellation of the SportAccord Convention, where the GAISF Council was due to next meet.

IMMAF CEO Densign White said:

“This has been going on since 2016, despite us meeting all criteria for recognition. We want to focus attention on the process which we think is unfair. By going public we now call upon participants and sports fan to rally behind our petition. We are not the only sport to have suffered due to the lack of a fair and transparent process. A small group of International Federations with GAISF are operating as a trade union and not in the interest of sports participants. Considering the impact this has on government decision making, sport governance and access to public funding, they need to come out into the open and become accountable.”

A timeline of key events

Jun 2016IMMAF applies to become World Anti-doping Agency signatory
Aug 2016IMMAF applies to the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) for sport recognition of MMA
Nov 2016WADA rejects IMMAF on GAISF’s recommendation (*WADA signatory status is required to meet GAISF Membership criteria)
Feb 2017GAISF informs IMMAF its application is incomplete and cannot be processed 
Apr 2017GAISF cites application from rival organisation WMMAA as reason for rejection and advises IMMAF to cooperate with them 
Jun 2017(GAISF workshop) GAISF facilitates meeting between ‘rival applicants’ WMMAA & IMMAF, advising a unified application is the only way to achieve recognition for MMA
Feb 2018IMMAF issues WADA with a formal Notice of Legal Action
Apr 2018(SportAccord)GAISF representatives advise IMMAF and WMMAA to apply to GAISF for the new Observer Status
 IMMAF is verbally told GAISF has lost its original application and to reapply
 IMMAF discovers from WMMAA that they had been personally invited to apply to GAISF and attend the 2017 workshop by a GAISF Council Member. *It later emerges they had never submitted their application (due to the “rivalry” situation).
May 2018IMMAF signs a legally binding Affiliation MOU with WMMAA 
 IMMAF reapplies to GAISF 
Nov 2018IMMAF and WMMAA complete fully executed Affiliation Agreement, and hold first unified World Championships
Mar 2019IMMAF’s 2nd application is rejected by GAISF without explanation
Mar 2019With no advice still from GAISF, IMMAF reapplies for Observer Status
Aug 2019Mediation with WADA fails; IMMAF agrees to postpone its legal case for 4 months so WADA can review its statutes (requiring GAISF to approve membership decisions) 
Oct 2019Inside The Games leaks news of GAISF’s rejection of IMMAF’s application; this is refuted in private communications with GAISF
Nov 2019GAISF writes to its members asking them to formally raise objections to or rivalry issues with MMA before 31.12.2019.
Jan 2020IMMAF meets WADA in court for first technical hearing; WADA’s request for further postponement is refused by judge
 GAISF writes to inform IMMAF that (unnamed) combat sports have cited their issue with MMA as being “non-compatibility”.

For more information visit:

Website – https://www.mmaisasport.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/mmaisasport
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/MMAIsASport
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mmaisasport/
Hashtag – #MMAisaSport
Contact – mmaisasport@immaf.org

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Guatemalan Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GUAMMA) joins IMMAF https://immaf.org/2020/05/28/guatemalan-association-of-mixed-martial-arts-guamma-joins-immaf/ Thu, 28 May 2020 12:26:05 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40006

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is proud to announce the Guatemalan Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GUAMMA) as its newest Pan-American member, close on the back of its recent announcement of representation in Uruguay.

The worldwide growth of MMA has sparked significant interest in Guatemala, which boasts a prominent tradition of combat sports. The Central American nation holds a successful track record in producing international level talent in kickboxing and karate. The national regulatory bodies for both sports maintain a good working relationship with GUAMMA and the sport of MMA.

From initiation on 2011, GUAMMA has served as the national governing body for MMA representing affiliated academies from across the country.

The federation was founded to address the need for development programs, standardised rules and certification of coaches and officials in the sport. GUAMMA has provided regular opportunities for free education and works closely with fellow IMMAF association, FAMMEJL, in neighboring Mexico. As a result, GUAMMA has produced multiple qualified officials with experience on top tier events, including UFC, when in Mexico.

GUAMMA’s current objective is to sustain grass roots talent development, with safety and best practice as the foundation for all its activities.

GUAMMA president, Erick Schumann, has said that the organisation’s efforts to develop the sport have received strong support nationally. He commented further:
 
“IMMAF affiliation is a big step forward in the development of Guatemalan sports. The Guatemalan Association of Mixed Martial Arts has been recognized by the world federation and for the first time Guatemala is given the opportunity to participate in IMMAF tournaments within this discipline of martial arts.  This is a big step forward for government recognition of MMA, the fastest growing sport worldwide, and it will expand the opportunities for its development in all areas of the country.”

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IMMAF welcomes the Uzbekistan MMA association https://immaf.org/2020/05/27/immaf-welcomes-the-uzbekistan-mma-association/ Wed, 27 May 2020 13:03:51 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40002

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is proud to officially welcome its national representative in Uzbekistan, the Uzbekistan MMA Association (UMMAA).

Headed by President Umarov Otabek Mukhammadalievich, the UMMAA is registered as non-profit organisation with Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Justice and recognised and funded by the Ministry of Physical Culture and Sport, as the country’s first and only governing body for MMA.

The registration of the Uzbekistan MMA Association on 23 October 2019 opened a new chapter for the sport in Uzbekistan, as it obtained legal recognition for the first time. The UMMAA has already signed up 7,000 members indicating the popularity of the sport locally and the timeliness of this development.

The key stated aims of the Federation are:

•       to develop amateur and professional MMA competitors in Uzbekistan
•       to creation and phased implementation of a specialized direction in MMA in a children’s and youth sports school
•       to hold annual national championships and local open tournaments for amateurs
•       to develop sponsorship partnerships to support the building of infrastructure and training facilities across all the regions of Uzbekistan
•       to organise regular international amateur and professional events in Uzbekistan

The Federation hosted its inaugural National MMA Championships in March with 235 participants from all 14 regions of the country.

UMMAA President Umarov Otabek Mukhammadalievich commented:
“MMA is becoming a very popular sport in Uzbekistan. Therefore, there was need for a national governing body to oversee its development. We plan to work closely with IMMAF to develop rules and regulations for the sport both nationally and internationally. We also look forward to fully representing Uzbekistan at an international level in IMMAF Amateur Championships. Hopefully one day our beloved sport will become Olympic sport and our athletes will have chance to show their skills to the world.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:
“I am pleased to welcome the Uzbekistan MMA Association, as our newest representative in Asia, which is a growing market for us. We are looking forward to hosting our World Championships in Kazakhstan this year, as global events permit, and our next Asian Open Championships in 2020 also in Kazakhstan and seeing the Uzbekistan National Team debut on these platforms. We also embrace the opportunity of holding a potential future Championships in Uzbekistan.”

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Update on IMMAF gradings for competition policy https://immaf.org/2020/05/26/update-on-immaf-gradings-for-competition-policy/ Tue, 26 May 2020 15:58:07 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40000

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On Wednesday 20 May, the IMMAF Board reviewed the recently announced policy for gradings to be mandatory for athletes competing in IMMAF competitions.

The decisions taken were as follows:

  • to postpone the implementation of mandatory requirements for IMMAF competitions
  • to conduct a 360° review of the proposed IMMAF Progression Pathway and its relationship to the Competition Pathway – spanning the Coaching, Youth and Regulatory Committees and our Membership. IMMAF Founder & Honorary President August Wallen was invited by the Board to be involved in the consultation process.

There will be further communications and updates from IMMAF to Members as the review progresses.

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‘MMA is a Sport’ campaign petitions IOC and Sports Ministers recognise MMA https://immaf.org/2020/05/21/mma-is-a-sport-campaign-petitions-ioc-and-sports-ministers-recognise-mma/ Thu, 21 May 2020 12:18:34 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39997

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#MMAisaSPORT

Sign petition here: https://www.change.org/mmaisasport

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation [IMMAF] has joined with stakeholders across MMA to launch a public petition that demands formal recognition of the sport by the Olympic Movement and governments around the world.

Formal recognition of MMA as a sport would enable the implementation of governance and regulations to ensure health and safety for recreational participants, as well as amateur and professional athletes. It would help foster youth development in MMA, and afford same rights and protections for MMA athletes as students of other sports, such as access to medical services, insurance, anti-doping, safeguarding, etc. In addition, formal recognition of MMA as a sport by the Olympic Movement would pave the way for MMA to become an Olympic sport and allow MMA athletes to represent their country on the world’s most prestigious sporting platform.

IMMAF has applied multiple times to gain recognition for MMA from the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) since 2016, but despite satisfying all known criteria has been denied acceptance so far for political reasons. Influential leaders from other Olympic sports have been outspoken against MMA and have actively lobbied against it.

The ‘MMA Is A Sport’ campaign calls upon all stakeholders, participants and fans of MMA to join as one in urging the International Olympic Committee and Sports Ministers worldwide to address the MMA’s application for sport recognition.

RECOGNITION MEANS…

  1. Recognition as a sport gives MMA athletes and students the same rights and protection as athletes and students of other sports (e.g. access to medical services, accident and injuries insurance, safeguarding of U18s and vulnerable adults, Anti-doping services, youth development, etc.)
  2. Recognition means good governance and regulations to ensure athletes health and safety, standardisation of competition rules and regulations, officiating and coaching standards.
  3. Recognition enables safe and effective youth development.
  4. Recognition would give MMA a pathway to eventually becoming an Olympic sport and the best amateur MMA athletes the opportunity to represent their country at the Olympic Games
  5. International recognition would enable recognition on a national level in many countries which will have a positive impact many communities
  6. Recognition means funding of the sport and its elite amateur athletes at a national level

FACTS ABOUT MMA

  1. MMA competitors are highly skilled athletes
  2. MMA has 600 million fans around the world
  3. Different unified rules exist for amateur and professional competitions
  4. IMMAF is the International governing body for amateur MMA
  5. There are 100+ IMMAF affiliated National Federations across the world developing the sport of MMA, with only 40 being recognized by their Sports Ministries or National Olympic Committees
  6. IMMAF has held annual World Championships since [2014]
  7. In 2019 IMMAF held world and continental championships for youth, juniors and seniors with over 2130 participants from 60 countries
  8. Youth MMA is already thriving – IMMAF’s first Youth World Championships for 12 to 17-year-olds attracted more than 600 participants in 2019
  9. It is misconception that MMA is less safe than other contact sports: Well regulated MMA has more stringent safety policies than most comparable sports.
  10. Amateur athletes and many professionals are subject to WADA compliant anti-doping policies

SIGN PETITION: https://www.change.org/mmaisasport

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“The lack of transparency around how sports are recognised at an international level not only affects MMA but has far-reaching impact across various sports communities worldwide, outcasting participants and exposing them to unnecessary risk. This includes children and impacts our ability to foster the development of the next generation in a safe and well governed environment. The power of the International Sport Federations movement cannot be underestimated, as their judgements are frequently deferred to by governments worldwide in their decision making about sport and significant tax-payer funding of sport. We call on the International Olympic Committee and sports ministers to review and ensure fair process in the international recognition and governance of sport, to protect the rights of citizens globally to safe and equitable access to the sport of their choice.”

UFC COO Lawrence Epstein said:

“The incredibly skilled men and women who compete in professional and amateur mixed martial arts around the world deserve recognition for their sport. Like the world-class Olympians whose sports already have formal IOC recognition, MMA athletes have dedicated many years to developing their abilities, and they deserve to have the opportunity to showcase their talents on the historic, global stage that the Olympics provides. Among the core values of MMA are sportsmanship and respect for your competitors—values that are well aligned with the Olympic Movement. For this reason and many others, we stand with IMMAF in calling on the IOC to formally recognize MMA as a sport, once and for all.”

M1 – Global President and IMMAF Hon. President, Vadim Finkelchtein said:

“After just twenty years of its existence there is no country in the world without MMA. With the fan base, popularity and opportunities the sport of MMA has to offer, the IOC should be wanting us to join. It took MMA just two decades to show the world its values, the respect between its athletes and its unique skillset. It obvious to me how traditional martial arts are using their position and pulling strings to stop MMA from being recognised. But sport should not be about politics. The International Sports organisations should be backing the interests of the majority instead of following the lead of the few. MMA is a sport and our recognition cannot be stopped. It is just a matter of time. Acceptance of MMA will mark a new era in the history of the IOC.”

Cage Warriors CEO, Cas Knight said:

“Sport recognition would have a positive impact on the organisation of professional MMA across Europe. It would facilitate easier access for athletes to professional services, such as medical services, and enable all round governance of the sport to the benefit of its participants.”

Mohammed Shahid, CEO of KHK Sports, CEO of KHK MMA and the President of BRAVE Combat Federation, said:

“It is imperative for MMA that a strong body like the IMMAF can bring the mixed martial arts community together with one united vision. We need to have stronger regulations and need to collaborate as a sport. It is our duty as representatives for the sport of MMA to move forward in a way that is in the best interest of the athletes and the image of MMA; currently MMA is being misrepresented as a sport. A new system is needed for mixed martial arts. We need to move beyond the event business and move into the sports business. Organising the sport under a structured, monitored health and sports system is the first steps towards regulating the sport.
IMMAF is leading amateur MMA as the international governing body and to have IMMAF recognised is key for the sport.”

For more information visit:

Website – https://www.mmaisasport.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/mmaisasport
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/MMAIsASport
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/mmaisasport/
Hashtag – #MMAisaSport
Contact – mmaisasport@immaf.org

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IMMAF expands its footprint in Pan America as it welcomes Uruguay https://immaf.org/2020/05/20/immaf-expands-its-footprint-in-pan-america-as-it-welcomes-uruguay/ Wed, 20 May 2020 06:29:26 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39995

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The Uruguayan Association of Mixed Martial Arts (UAMMA) has been formally confirmed by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) as its newest member.

IMMAF is proud to introduce the UAMMA, founded in 2017, as its sole representative for the sport MMA in Uruguay. UAMMA received government recognition in January of 2019, announced by the National Sports Secretary and Ministry of Education and Culture.

Building on its foundational relationships with members and affiliates, the vision of UAMMA is to promote and develop MMA in Uruguay. UAMMA will provide support and education for Uruguay’s MMA community and aims to introduce regulatory standards for professional and amateur events. It will also work to source funding and create opportunities for grass roots talent, that includes the creation of a database for registered athletes.
 
UAMMAA president, Fernando Degregorio Llugdar, commented:

“We invite everyone to join us at this new stage that will enable the growth of MMA in our country.

“The objectives of IMMAF and UAMMA are very clear and transparent: to regulate, legitimatise and standardise the work of Amateur MMA; to facilitate optimal growth, compliance, performance; and boost the health of the sport and the athletes who practice this beautiful discipline. In this way, with the support of the National Secretary of Sports, the Uruguayan Confederation of Sports and affiliated academies, we will continue working to grow MMA in our country.

“It only remains for us to thank IMMAF for its trust in us and to give our assurance that we will work tirelessly for the development of our sport.”

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IMMAF Heavyweight Champion Ryan Spillane turns pro with Bellator MMA https://immaf.org/2020/05/12/immaf-heavyweight-champion-ryan-spillane-turns-pro-with-bellator-mma/ Tue, 12 May 2020 14:30:19 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39992

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Former IMMAF world champion Ryan Spillane has announced the signing a four-fight contract with Bellator MMA, the organisation with whom he will make his professional debut.

As a standout heavyweight prospect on the international amateur MMA scene, Spillane represented the Republic of Ireland national team under the Irish MMA Association (IMMAA). Trained by Liam-Óg Griffin and John Kavanagh, Spillane’s accolades include several gold medals earned at the IMMAF World Championships, European Open and Oceania Open.

“Delighted to finally announce I’ve signed a 4 fight developmental contract with one of the biggest organisations in the world Bellator MMA. A huge thankyou to John Kavanagh for everything and to Liam Og let’s take over,” Spillane announced via social media.

At age 18 Spillane made his international amateur debut at the inaugural IMMAF European Open in 2015, entering deep waters with clashes against the era’s biggest hitters such as Sweden’s Irman Smajic and Bulgaria’s Daniel Galabarov.

Inspiringly, Spillane’s determination saw the babyface newcomer grow to become the leader of the heavyweight division. His coming of age performance was at the 2018 European Open Championships in Bucharest where he won his first gold medal.

Emerging as a submission specialist, Spillane advanced to the 2018 World Championships and stormed his way to earning the world title. The Irishman’s 2018 streak under the IMMAF banner featured five back-to-back stoppage wins, four within the opening round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy_nkdq70Ag

Spillane capped off his amateur MMA tenure in March of this year upon heading to Gold Coast, Australia, where he snatched the 2019 Oceania Open title with a 30-second demolition job that handed a first loss to Aussie standout Dane Alchin.

Spillane’s progression has seen him clinch a highly prominent pro debut under Bellator having cashed in on the full benefits of the IMMAF amateur platform as a talent development machine and the top international proving ground for amateur mixed martial artists representing their nation.

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IMMAF board to participate in good governance training https://immaf.org/2020/05/12/immaf-board-to-participate-in-good-governance-training/ Tue, 12 May 2020 14:08:27 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39990

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The IMMAF Board will be taking part in a training session this week on Good Governance in line with the organisation’s commitment to integrity in sport.

The IMMAF already stands as an Early Adopter of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance ‘Universal Standards’ that sees it open to independent auditing and a rating of its compliance to good governance, integrity and financial integrity via the SIGA Independent Rating and Verification System (SIRVS).

The Good Governance training session will take a practical approach to the following topics:

  • What is governance?
  • Why it’s important
  • The risks of poor governance
  • Areas to consider for good governance

The session will be conducted by independent consultant and Chairman of Netball Northern Ireland, Geoff Wilson, who has long experience in working with sports and governmental organisations including FIBA, UEFA, AFC & FIFA and a range of international football associations.

Ahead of the training, Wilson elaborated:

“I currently work with several global sporting organisations on strategic planning and governance activity. It is the sporting organisations with strong strategic and governance plans that are successful. IMMAF is to be commended for its focus on this important subject. The Federation has been very active in the last number of years and I look forward to working with the Board to ensure that MMA is a leading sport in the area of governance.”

Highlighting the high value he places on governance standards, IMMAF’s CEO Densign White commented:

“Good governance is essential. The COVID 19 global lockdown gives us time to stand back and take a hard look at ourselves and to evaluate our performance in critical governance areas. Board training has been on my radar for some time but has been difficult to fit it in with all the demands on individual board members in ordinary times. I am grateful for this opportunity that arose a few weeks ago, when Geoff Wilson for offered his time and expertise to concentrate our focus on this important area.”

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IMMAF Board to review new policy requiring gradings for competitors https://immaf.org/2020/05/07/immaf-board-to-review-new-policy-requiring-gradings-for-competitors/ Thu, 07 May 2020 10:09:40 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39987

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) recently announced a new policy requiring MMA gradings as a condition of entry to IMMAF Championships after 31st June 2021.

Based on feedback from some members of IMMAF and the MMA community, the IMMAF Board will be reviewing this policy at the next IMMAF Board Meeting on 20th May 2020.

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IMMAF Gradings mandatory for Championships in 2021 https://immaf.org/2020/04/29/immaf-gradings-mandatory-for-championships-in-2021/ Wed, 29 Apr 2020 13:46:27 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39973

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) will be requiring IMMAF gradings of MMA athletes as a condition of entry into IMMAF Championships in 2021. The requirement will be introduced for IMMAF competitions taking place after the 31st June next year.

IMMAF promotes the IMMAF Talent Development Pathway – a technical progression scheme – as the tool to establish standards across the sport of MMA. Read more here: https://immaf.org/participant-pathways/#technical.

IMMAF Grades assessments are marked and recorded by IMMAF certified coaches using the IMMAF App, available for free from the App store and Google Play.

From July 2021, grading levels required of athletes across IMMAF Championships will be as follows:

In 2022 and beyond, the grading requirements across IMMAF Championships will be:

The entry requirements will be added to IMMAF Championships Handbooks, and screening processes will be implemented.

IMMAF Director of Development Andrew Moshanov said:

“Amateur sport has an ultimate mission – the social and physical development of its participants. Therefore, it is the responsibility of international and national governing bodies of a sport to create an efficient and safe competitive environment. IMMAF is fully committed to this task and has been implementing age banding and weight categories. Following the successful uptake of IMMAF’s coach certification program, it is now possible to require a minimum technical standard of all competitors of IMMAF Championships.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“Requiring an entry-level standard for IMMAF competitors is an important benchmark in the development of the sport of MMA, bringing us into alignment with other international sports. Guaranteeing a quality standard is also important for the legitimacy of Amateur MMA, as well as ensuring a safety measure against mismatches. It will raise the competition level in the early rounds of IMMAF tournaments, which are already increasing in competitiveness year-on-year.

“During this difficult period of COVID-19 lockdown in many countries, we hope that through the roll-out of online grading assessments, we can help keep our athletes engaged, focused and achieving, and continue to enhance the professional development of IMMAF Coaches.”

IMMAF will be issuing more detailed information to National Federations. Please contact your National Federation for further information.

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IMMAF launches new Ethics Commission https://immaf.org/2020/04/28/immaf-launches-new-ethics-commission/ Tue, 28 Apr 2020 07:00:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39968

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A new Ethics Commission has been launched by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) as part of its constant quest for best in class governance.
 
The Ethics Commission will advise the IMMAF Board, and IMMAF’s CEO on organisational procedures and policy guidelines relating to ethical issues. The Commission will ensure that IMMAF acts in accordance with its Statutes and Policies including on Conflicts of Interest and Whistle-blowing. The Commission will also be responsible for the investigation of relevant complaints and work closely with IMMAF’s Disciplinary Committee.
 
The Commission Chair, Rebecca Khoury of Canada, has had a successful career in the world of finance and management but has also worked with non-profit organisations and in sport. She served as the President of Karate Quebec and Karate Canada and received the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada, in recognition of her contribution to Canada’s development.
 
“I am honoured to have this responsibility,” said Rebecca. “Like IMMAF, I believe that the right ethical framework is fundamental to creating a culture that is open, transparent and inspirational to all IMMAF’s stakeholders. For the IMMAF, it’s not just about checking boxes, it’s about walking their talk and that is inspirational, for any passionate sportsperson.”  
 
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “We are delighted to have Rebecca lead an international team which includes high-flying legal and arbitration experts with wide ranging sport and corporate experience. We are determined to make IMMAF a beacon of ethical standards in sport governance.”
 
2019-2021 Members
 
Chairperson: Rebecca Khoury (CAN)
 
Members:
Anish Wadia (IND)
Ryan Adams (GBR)
Josep Vandellos (ESP)
Staff Liaison: Densign White (GBR)

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Take part! IMMAF Amateur MMA Survey https://immaf.org/2020/04/23/take-part-immaf-amateur-mma-survey/ Thu, 23 Apr 2020 12:13:28 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39964

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IMMAF invites MMA and sports fans to take part in our survey as an opportunity to give us your opinions on;

  • Amateur MMA
  • IMMAF Championships & IMMAF TV
  • our vision of getting MMA in the Olympic Games

How can we improve our Championships content to make it more attractive, in your opinion? What can we do better for MMA and sports audiences? What would make you tune in more often?

We thank you in advance for your time and look forward to your feedback.

Please share! #IMMAFsurvey #AMMAsurvey

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IMMAF sets up new Athletes’ Commission https://immaf.org/2020/04/21/immaf-sets-up-new-athletes-commission/ Tue, 21 Apr 2020 07:21:56 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39928

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IMMAF is delighted to announce the creation of an Athletes’ Commission that will keep the athletes’ viewpoint at the heart of all policy decisions.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “As one of seven brand new Commissions, the Athletes’ Commission will encourage and empower the Athletes’ voice in all matters related to Amateur MMA globally.”

The Commission has called on the expertise of former stars of the amateur MMA scene, as well as one of MMA’s most highly respected sport officials in the form of India’s Vikash Sharma.

The Chairman of the Commission, Irman Smajic of Sweden, was an outstanding heavyweight and one of his nation’s most storied amateur MMA fighters. As well as multiple IMMAF World titles, Irman was also a gold medallist at the European Championships and Asian Open events.

Irman, now competing in the professional ranks, with a record of 2-0-0, the proud father of 2 also works as a dentist.

“It is a great honour to lead such a talented team on the new Athletes’ Commission,” said Irman, “and I am excited about doing everything possible to support IMMAF as it continues to develop programmes and platforms to support amateur athletes all around the world.”

Jose “Shorty” Torres of the USA is one of the most decorated amateur athletes in MMA history, with a 25-1 win-loss ratio. A graduate of McKendree University, Shorty was a two-time IMMAF world champion and is currently preparing for a lightweight world title bid as a pro.

Julia Dorny of Germany was a European and double IMMAF World Champion in the amateur ranks before turning pro, where she has an unbeaten record. A former judoka, Julia is an athlete, media scientist and journalist. She is the only female athlete in the world competing as a judoka, mixed martial arts fighter and sumo wrestler.

Aisling Daly of Ireland fought in the UFC but was also pivotal in the development of sports safety for grassroots MMA in the Republic of Ireland. She was part of a group that has helped pioneer the medical safety movement, Safe MMA – Ireland. Daly has been active as a spokesperson for the sport and lobbied to protect MMA from a potential government ban in the country.

2019-2021 Members

Chairperson: Irman Smajic (SWE)

Members:

Jose Torres (USA)

Julia Dorny (GER)

Aisling Daly (IRL)

Vikash Sharma (IND)

Staff Liaison: Mikhail Mazur (RUS)

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Close to 300 participants take part in first FMMAF Webinar https://immaf.org/2020/04/20/close-to-300-participants-take-part-in-first-fmmaf-webinar/ Mon, 20 Apr 2020 13:59:15 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39925

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The French Mixed Martial Arts Federation (FMMAF) held a virtual “Town Hall” conference on Friday, April 17 via Webinar.

Close to 300 members of France’s MMA Community connected to see the presentation by the French Boxing Federation (FF Boxe) which has been designated by France’s Ministry of Sport to build an official MMA structure and manage its development. The participants were also able to ask questions and interact with the presenters.

The FFBoxe team included Lionel Brezephin, the Cadre Technique responsible for MMA, Jean-Baptiste Marsaud, the FF Boxe’s Administrative Director and Johnny Frachey, a French pro MMA athlete.

“We were delighted with the engagement and the constructive exchanges during the webinar,” said Lionel Brezephin. “We had so many questions that we ran out of time to answer them all but remain at the disposition of the community and are looking forward to taking the next steps together.”
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “We were very impressed with the level of professionalism of this presentation and the frequent references to the close co-operation between IMMAF and the FFBoxe. We share the ambition to create outstanding structures and governance for MMA in France.”

If you would like to review the webinar, the full presentation is available at:
https://www.ffboxe.com/mma/connectez-vous-au-mma-francais/

The Webinar showed the progress of the FFBoxe’s work over the last two months, and what will be put in place on the operational level in the coming weeks,” said Lionel Brézéphin. “We have already finalised the MMA Sports Code and the training system. We have pressed the start button on the federal machine.”

The main topics covered by the Webinar were: the timeline, the technical and safety rules, grading, coaching and the organisation of competitions.
At the end of the webinar, interested persons who hold coaching or other qualifications (coaches, officials, organisers, doctors, etc.) were invited to join regional working groups, which will work in several workshops.

These workshops will focus on pedagogy, regulatory issues, etc and once validated by technical experts, will be fed into the frameworks already in place.
The main aim is to validate a methodology of teaching MMA. In addition, these groups will help to identify the most active MMA actors in France and allow them to collaborate in a constructive way.

To participate in the next phase of structuring MMA in France applicants are invited to part in the working groups and workshops, via a form which can be found at the following link: https://bit.ly/fmmaf-candidature

News of MMA in France can be found at: http://www.fmmaf.fr

The email contact for the MMA team at FFBoxe is: mma@ff-boxe.com

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IMMAF Launches New Website in 2020 Digital Makeover https://immaf.org/2020/04/17/immaf-launches-new-website-in-2020-digital-makeover/ Fri, 17 Apr 2020 12:41:41 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39912

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“Our aim is to make IMMAF’s unique and exciting Olympic-styled tournaments as accessible as possible for fight fans to follow, and to ensure that all IMMAF assets are just a-click-away for customers entering IMMAF’s World through immaf.org

IMMAF launches a new website today at immaf.org to establish a refreshed and stronger digital identity that will be mapped out across all its online platforms in 2020.

This forms part of wider project that will see the integration of IMMAF’s digital portals into one holistic ecosystem, providing a seamless customer experience for members and fans globally.

IMMAF’s platforms include:
·       immaf.org – website and gateway into IMMAF’s world
·       immaf.tv – home to IMMAF live and VOD content
·       The IMMAF App – MMA gradings platform freely available from App store and Google Play

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“MMA was born in the digital age and this has contributed to its phenomenal and unprecedented growth as a sport within an incredibly short space of time. Since its founding in 2012, there has been demand for IMMAF to be consistently ground-breaking and innovative in order to build completely new sporting structures for MMA from the grassroots up, around the world.

“Moving into the 2020s, we want IMMAF’s digital interfaces to reflect our brand nature and to create a rewarding and cutting-edge experience for consumers, as we commit to live broadcasting all IMMAF’s Championships at immaf.tv. Our aim is to make IMMAF’s unique and exciting Olympic-styled tournaments as accessible as possible to fight fans to follow, and to ensure that all IMMAF assets are just a-click-away for members and customers entering IMMAF’s World through immaf.org.

“The official launch of the new website today is the first step in this process as we build towards our next Championships when the world emerges again from COVID lockdown.”

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IMMAF Partners With Peace & Sport https://immaf.org/2020/04/08/immaf-partners-with-peace-sport/ Wed, 08 Apr 2020 13:29:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39906

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“Training in MMA provides an effective pathway to learning the skills of negotiation and the attainment of peace.”

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is proud to announce a partnership with Peace and Sport, to help build peaceful communities through the power of sport and create a safer, more equitable and inclusive world.

The objectives of the partnership are:

Collaboration through initiatives to promote peace, social cohesion and coexistence among communities;
Cooperation to improve living conditions for populations through MMA;
Mutual facilitation of dialogues and communication between communities, using MMA and its values;
Encouragement of education, training and responsibility amongst vulnerable youth, through the practice of MMA;
Cooperation and synergy to promote, advocate and raise awareness of the power of sport for peacebuilding and diplomacy.
Peace and Sport President and Founder, Joël Bouzou, said:

“Sport, especially fighting sports demand discipline, respect of rules and of opponents. It requires determination and adaptability. For the last 12 years now, we have been committed to fight for peace. We are glad to partner with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation as mixed martial arts combined with educational programmes and youth work can help to build self-confident resilient individuals and communities and a culture of peace”

IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown said:

“We, at IMMAF, are believers in the power of sport to bring people together and to transform lives. Fighting is in our DNA, and combat sports are unique in providing a structured pathway to channel these human instincts, providing a point of connection with some of the hardest-to-reach groups, including marginalised, war-torn and gang-ridden communities. MMA is a universal language recognised by youth worldwide and has proven its capacity to break boundaries and create fundamental common ground between different factions and individuals. Mastery of MMA requires personal transformation that includes the development of self-knowledge, self-discipline, honour and respect. The process of training to fight within a sporting context is an effective pathway to learning the skills of negotiation and to attaining peace.

“I welcome this partnership with Peace and Sport through which IMMAF can harness the tools of training in MMA to contribute to the mission of building peaceful communities and a safer, more equitable and inclusive world.”

ABOUT PEACE AND SPORT

‘Peace and Sport, L’Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport’ is an international, neutral and independent organization based in Monaco, which promotes peace using the power of sport. Founded in 2007 by Modern Pentathlon Olympic Medallist and World Champion Joël Bouzou, Peace and Sport enjoys the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Peace and Sport brings together and develops partnerships between the peace stakeholders (NGOs, UN Agencies, Academics), the sport environment (Olympic Family, International Federations, National Olympic Committees, Athletes) and the political decision-makers (national, regional and local) with the aim of implementing and ensuring the sustainability of field programs, maximizing the use of sport for development and peace and leading social transformation in every area of the world affected by poverty or social instability. peace-sport.org

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MIXED MARTIAL ARTS FEDERATION

Founded in 2012, the purpose of IMMAF is to further the development, recognition and regulation of the sport of MMA (mixed martial arts), enabling amateur competition though the organization of national MMA federations around the world. With a seven-year track record of organizing international amateur Championships and developing the sport globally, IMMAF’s membership today includes over 100 National Federations worldwide with National Olympic Committee recognition in around 40 countries. IMMAF has advanced programmes for education and certification of MMA coaches, referees and other technical officials, as well as Youth Development. Supported by the UFC®, IMMAF is the only legitimate international governing body for MMA, working to gain sport recognition and see MMA into the Olympic Games. immaf.org

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Densign White Interview: MMA & Sport Recognition Update https://immaf.org/2020/04/02/densign-white-interview-mma-sport-recognition-update/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 13:36:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39909

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What is the current status of IMMAF’s application for sport recognition for MMA?

IMMAF first applied to the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) for recognition of MMA as a sport by the Olympic movement, back in 2016. Progress since then has been fraught with obstructions, about-turns, new demands, delays and lack of transparency. IMMAF meets all known criteria, excepting WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) signatory status – despite being compliant to the WADA Code. We have jumped through every new hoop they have asked us to. Then in 2018, we were told by a GAISF administrator that our application had been lost and we would have to reapply. After much administrative back-and-forth, our second application was formally rejected in March 2019 without adequate explanation, and we reapplied for Observer Status.

At the end of last year, GAISF wrote to its members asking them to formally communicate any objections to MMA being recognised. Although we have had many conversations with GAISF and recognised martial arts’ representatives, and know other martial arts to be obstructing our application, no issues had ever been officially raised by them.

GAISF wrote in January, this year, to inform us that they had received responses from combat sports, who they declined to name, and cited their issue with us as being “non-compatibility” – a term that had not been raised to us before.

Despite the vagueness of this accusation and GAISF’s failure to provide any further definition, we responded in February, as requested, providing an analysis of the differences and similarities between MMA and the other combat sports/ martial arts governed by GAISF Members.

We expressed our surprise at the “compatibility” issue, considering the many similarities in the rules between various recognised sports. For example: Basketball, Netball and Korfball; Tennis and Soft Tennis; Bandy and Ice Hockey among others

Furthermore, Savate, Muay Thai And Kickboxing all consist of striking the opponent with the hands and the legs, all using a boxing style ring as their field of play. Judo, Sambo and Ju-Jitsu (Ne Waza/Groundwork Discipline) are combat sports played with a gi (or kimono) where the objective is to throw, control or submit an opponent (with some differences in the pointing system).

To support our case, we also provided a (presentation defining Amateur MMA in the context of martial arts and combat sports recognised by GAISF).

We have since received a response from GAISF with an attempt to define ‘compatibility’. Apparently, GAISF changed its statutes at some point to replace ‘rivalry’ with non-compatibility’ as grounds for rejecting new member applications. We were not informed of this, though we had already addressed GAISF’s allegation of rivalry by merging with ‘rival’ international governing body for MMA, WMMAA, in 2018. Shockingly, we discovered afterwards that WMMAA had never even applied for membership to GAISF. Now this new criterion clearly gives wider scope for abuse and discrimination without good grounds.

IMMAF was hoping for a decision to made about its Observer Status application at the GAISF Council Meeting during the SportAccord Convention. You were also hoping for the opportunity for meetings with GAISF representatives. Now the Convention has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic, what do you expect to happen next?

We don’t know when the GAISF Council meeting will happen now, but we can expect further delay in the light of the pandemic. GAISF, no doubt, has a number of other matters on its plate, such as the postponement of the Olympic Games.

What is the current status of IMMAF’s legal case against WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) ?

IMMAF has been seeking WADA Code signatory status for the past 4 years. This would not only protect our athletes from doping but also promote MMA as Code compliant, a requirement of sport recognition. However, WADA has refused our application as it requires the support of GAISF. IMMAF’s only course of action was to challenge this. We went to court earlier this year in Lausanne. The case was postponed in order to give us time to put together our witnesses. WADA asked for the case to be thrown out since the Code is due to be changing in January 2021 to allow WADA to make its own independent decisions about signatory applications, without outside influence from the Olympic or sport movement. This of course will be nice when it happens sometime next year, but there is no guarantee that this will help us. We are still waiting for them to do what they should have already done 4-years ago.

IMMAF is extremely frustrated by the inconsistency of WADA’s decision-making process on who is accepted as a Code signatory. It has also come to my attention that WADA has accepted 3 different international federations for Taekwondo, a decision which must be influenced by GAISF since according to WADA they cannot currently make such a decision independently. This surely undermines GAISF’s arguments against MMA. While we worked hard to solve the so-called WMMAA rivalry through a merger, we have also seen two federations accepted for Rugby. Why is MMA being treated differently? The whole thing is so full of contradictions.

Meanwhile, MMA has been legalized in France under French Boxing. What is IMMAF’s relationship like with French boxing?

The development of governance of MMA in France is going well, and we are supporting them with formulating a framework for MMA. French Boxing has agreed to align its rules, regulations and standards for MMA with the international standard.

Another surprise from France, has been French Judo’s venture into offering MMA classes in its gyms. This is a dramatic turnaround from its President’s statement that MMA ‘is a haven for jihadists’ and lacks sporting values. What is your take?

Considering Judo’s actions to block acceptance of MMA at every level, this is completely hypocritical. It is also undermining of the decision of the Ministry of Sport to regulate MMA in France under boxing, a role that Judo didn’t even apply for. They have no right to teach MMA, no qualification and should leave MMA to the experts. They should be following the rules and regulations of MMA through French boxing.

So, what are IMMAF’s next steps in its battle for recognition of MMA as a sport?

We will be continuing with our legal action against WADA and will fight to the end for the result we want. Meanwhile, GAISF keep delaying on making a decision, but based on their decision we will decide our next steps.

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IMMAF Announces Further Cancellation & Postponement Of 2020 Championships https://immaf.org/2020/04/02/immaf-announces-further-cancellation-postponement-of-2020-championships/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 13:25:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39903

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The Board of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has announced the cancellation in 2020 of its European Open Championships and Youth World Championships, which were scheduled to take place in Italy in July and August; and also the postponement of its Asian Open Championships planned for June in Kazakhstan.

This comes on the back of the earlier board decision to postpone the 2020 IMMAF Africa Open Championships and the 2020 IMMAF Pan American Championships.

IMMAF President Brown commented:

“In the shadow of the current global pandemic and government responses worldwide, as well as out of duty-of-care to our members, the IMMAF board has been left with no alternative but to cancel the European and Youth Championships this year.

“Meanwhile, all sports events have been banned in Kazakhstan for the present time, forcing us to stop the Asian Open in June. We will be monitoring with global situation in the hope that we can hold this event later in the year, in the run up to the World and Team Championships.

“Unfortunately, it is unlikely that our calendar will permit space for the other tournaments to be rescheduled this year and we are grateful to our host federations and event partners for their cooperation in reviewing options for applying existing agreements to 2021.

“I encourage athletes to keep training, keep drilling and studying techniques from home. This period will be a test of character and determination: We look forward to relaunching stronger and better, and meeting again in competition very soon”

The Host Federation President for Italy (FIGMMA), Saverio Longo, said:

“I fully agree with the decision taken by the President of IMMAF to postpone the MMA Championships that should have been held this summer in Rome. The health of athletes, teams and organizers is a priority and must therefore prevail over all other interests.

“But I’m sure that when this forced break is over, MMA athletes from all over the world will return to compete with even more enthusiasm and vigour because no virus or adversity can ever extinguish the fire of passion for fighting that burns inside the heart of every MMA fighter.”

Meanwhile, to support members during this time, IMMAF has launched free, online accredited coach education courses which will count towards the full IMMAF Coach Certification. This is a first initiative, to which IMMAF will be adding further online services to facilitate continued sport development through this period of self-distancing and self-isolation in many countries.

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IMMAF Governance Gets Boost With New Youth Development Commission https://immaf.org/2020/03/27/immaf-governance-gets-boost-with-new-youth-development-commission/ Fri, 27 Mar 2020 13:20:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39901

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IMMAF is delighted to introduce the new Youth Development Commission, which will be working closely with other Commissions and Committees to manage the huge demand for amateur MMA youth programmes all over the world.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “Our experience with our first Youth World Championships last year proved the point that MMA has massive appeal for young combat sport athletes. As the legitimate world governing body for amateur MMA, we have a responsibility and mission to make the sport accessible and safe for youngsters, with rules and procedures that are fit for purpose.”

To acknowledge its strategic importance, the Youth Development Commission will have both a chairman, Stanislav Nedkov (BUL) and a vice-chair Danny Corr (Northern Ireland). Stanislav is a former UFC professional fighter and now a sport administrator while Danny Corr is responsible for creating award-winning youth sport and culture initiatives.

The Youth Development Commission will help create programmes to guide young athletes on pathways for lifelong participation, competition preparation and personal development in MMA.

Because young Athlete development frameworks must be holistic and embrace the complex nature of athlete development, this Committee will cover Coaching, Regulatory affairs, Medical, Anti-doping and Ethics.

Members 2019-2021

Chairperson: Stanislav Nedkov (BUL)

Members:

Sharif Bapu (IND)
Danny Corr (GBR)
Zanna Kim (KAZ)
Bertrand Amoussou (FRA)
Vito Paolinio (ITA)
Raul Salas Navarro (MEX)

Staff Liaison: Andrew Moshanov (RUS)

NEW MEMBERS ANNOUNCED TO COACHING COMMISSION

Another key IMMAF Commission is the Coaching Commission, and IMMAF is pleased to announce a new membership team led by Richie Cranny of Australia. Richie is a former professional MMA athlete, coach and founder of the highly successful “Wimp 2 Warrior” training scheme to train inexperienced individuals in MMA techniques.

The Coaching Commission provides strategic direction and leadership to ensure that IMMAF coaches have the most up-to-date level of competency and can deliver effective teaching of the skills of mixed martial arts to their membership. The Commission will provide a coach’s perspective and voice to the decision-making processes within IMMAF and advocates for the rights and interests of coaches within the sport of Amateur Mixed Martial Arts globally.

Both Commissions share an IMMAF Staff Liaison in the highly experienced Andrew Moshanov, IMMAF’s Director of Sport Development.

Coaching Commission 2019-2021

Chairperson: Richie Cranny (AUS)

Members:

Gennady Kapshai (RUS)
Luis Barneto (POR)
Lutz Heyden (GER)
Bertrand Amoussou (FRA)
Paolo Oliveira (NZL)
Anton Blank (UKR)

Staff Liaison: Andrew Moshanov (GBR)

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China’s Martial Arts Machine Will Continue Producing Elite Women in MMA, Federation Official Explains https://immaf.org/2020/03/19/china-martial-arts-machine-will-continue-producing-elite-women-in-mma/ Thu, 19 Mar 2020 17:40:39 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32536

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The presence of Chinese talent within the ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has witnessed significant evolution in the past decade. Nine years have passed since Tiequan Zhang emerged as a pioneer to global MMA audiences, joining the UFC roster as the organisation’s first Chinese-born contender.

In 2020 the UFC is home to around a dozen Chinese athletes with the vanguard including the likes of 22-year-old bantamweight star Song Yadong, currently 5-0 in the world’s leading professional MMA organisation (15-4 overall). Meanwhile, with nine UFC wins and an incredible five bonus awards, 31-year-old Li Jingliang solidified perennial prominence competing in the welterweight division.

While Jingliang had once been earmarked as the face of China’s emergence at the elite pro level of MMA, it has been the nation’s female talent who have secured some of the most stunning triumphs, such as Yan Xiaonan continuing her unblemished UFC tenure in February with a three round dissection of former strawweight title contender Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

Most impressively, 30-year-old sensation Weili Zhang reigns as the current UFC strawweight world champion and most recently defended the crown in a likely ‘fight-of-the-year’ against iconic former champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Zhang blazed a trail and shattered the glass ceiling for Chinese athletes in the UFC and will forever be the one to have shone a spotlight on the pathway for a gargantuan collective of unique national potential.

As just two athletes, the impact of Zhang and Xiaonan is small scale in terms of a Chinese takeover at the elite level, yet their sudden dominance upon arrival is certainly rousing. Will China’s female talent continue to overrun the women’s divisions? To bring such opportunity to fruition, the UFC unveiled its Shanghai based Performance Institute in 2019, tasked with developing high level professionals from across the country. Meanwhile, on the amateur scene Chinese athletes have made an impact at the premier level, most notably through women’s bantamweight prospect Guangmei Han (pictured). A series of unanimous decision wins against rivals from Ukraine, Sweden and Ireland saw Han win gold for the Chinese national team at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships and she has since been taken on board at Shanghai’s UFC P.I.

Before reaching the sport’s upper tier, how is China’s female talent currently cultivated and on what scale is it happening? With China’s legendary and storied martial arts heritage commonly associated with men, what part does national culture play in producing generations of MMA athletes and could similarities be to drawn with the success of Russian males fighting out of the Dagestan region, renown for its wrestling and MMA exports?

To discuss the possible factors, IMMAF.org spoke with Joe Qiaobo, General Consultant and National Team Leader for the MMA Department of the Chinese Boxing Federation, the nation’s government affiliated member to IMMAF. Joe had recently shared the below video that gave a brief insight into the scale and intensity of Chinese girls and women practicing martial arts from a young age.


“These girls are around 15-18 years old,” Joe explained. “They are doing Sanda, which is a Chinese style combat sport allowing punching, kicking and throws. This kind of large group is common in China, what you see in the video doesn’t really show the whole training hall, the whole place is at least 8 times larger than what you see in the video and full of young athletes. Chinese style Sanda has formed the fighting style for most of the Chinese [MMA] fighters which is with strong standup skills with solid takedown defense.”

China hosts a significant professional kickboxing scene with major shows such as Kunlun providing a platform for top domestic talent in both kickboxing and MMA. It is clear that disciplines such as Sanda play an integrated role in streamlining young athletes towards the competitive level while recreational levels of participation among women are potentially off the charts in comparison to other nations. As seen in the Sanda training halls, this machine is engaging practitioners at a young age and carves a pathway similar to the one followed by the current UFC strawweight queen. While the wrestling and sambo youth of Dagestan has produced a wealth of MMA’s most formidable names, is China’s own combat sport culture in the process of constructing a similar highway to the top?

“This is a very good point,” Joe responded, considering the possible similarities between Dagestan’s production of male talent alongside that of Chinese women who may be set to follow in Zhang’s footsteps. “There’s a massive pool of young athletes in China like you saw in the video, male and female, and yes, there will be tons more young MMA talents coming to dominate. It is the reason girls like Xiaonan and Weili are doing so well in the UFC and MMA in general, they were originally good Sanda athletes when they were younger and after retiring from Sanda they started to add more elements on top of their base and applied them so well in MMA.”

And it does not stop there, the official status of China’s MMA Department under the IMMAF umbrella has opened up the national body to the Chinese Olympic Program, presenting all new opportunities and extended pathways to truly world class athletes.

Joe added, “In addition to Sanda, China is very diverse regarding MMA Development. China’s biggest potential is our Olympic combat sports talent pool with real top level athletes of Boxing, Judo, Wrestling, etc. These young athletes were chosen for the Olympic Games and we are also transitioning them as future MMA athletes. The world will see Chinese Olympic level MMA athletes from Judo and Wrestling to Boxing and MMA as well as other pathways. However, we foremost focus on the direct evolution of grass roots MMA and well rounded style development, targeting teenagers in China to take on MMA as their introduction to combat sport.”

The direction of MMA in China is operating on two fronts. The current crop of premier battle ready athletes making their way to MMA’s pro level has been funneled through the various disciplines that boast talent pools of formidable experience. Meanwhile, China’s MMA Federation aims to build the sport from the ground up, planting seeds that one day bring MMA participation to an equal footing with that of leading disciplines in the country, but to what extent could Chinese MMA and the national team, with its aspirations for success, strike a balance between engaging unique grass roots foundations while also integrating with the existing waves of experienced young athletes?

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Anti-Doping and COVID-19 https://immaf.org/2020/03/19/information-anti-doping-and-covid-19/ Thu, 19 Mar 2020 09:25:36 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32655

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19 March 2019

The World Anti-doping Agency has advised that four accredited laboratories are temporarily suspending their activities and it is likely that more will follow.

Currently Rome (Italy) Montreal (Canada), Madrid and Barcelona (Spain) have temporarily suspended operations and it is likely that more laboratories will follow this action. 

Breaking – London laboratory will close on Friday

The outcome is that some samples may be redirected to another accredited laboratory, while some will be stored frozen for analysis at a later date.

The impact is that athletes may not receive their results in a timely fashion. However they should not be complacent in assuming that ‘no news is good news’.  This delay in analysis could mean results are not available for months. It is important that athletes are aware of this situation and monitor closely reporting of results.

Be aware which testing authority is responsible for sample collection and who will report the results.  Monitor and track their receipt.

Although testing agencies have downscaled their sample collection activities, some national programmes are continuing. 

There is no doubt that this could put athletes at risk, not only from the virus itself but also from assumptions that any unwillingness to participate in an anti-doping test is suspicious or even constitutes a refusal.

Download advice for athletes here

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Dominican Republic Federation ready for IMMAF Board approval after President's visit https://immaf.org/2020/03/18/dominican-republic-fed-ready-for-immaf-submission/ Wed, 18 Mar 2020 13:31:33 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32587

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President Kerrith Brown made an official visit to the Dominican Republic, last week, to meet with Dominican Republic MMA Federation President, Manuel Pagan, and Vice Minister of Sport, Marco Diaz.

NF President Pagan & IMMAF President Brown sign IMMAF Membership Certification pending board approval

The Minister confirmed government support for the young federation, whose application for membership is now to be formally submitted to the IMMAF board for approval. He highlighted the importance of sport development and pledged his support for MMA Judges, Referees and Coaches seminars in the interests of athlete welfare.  He commended IMMAF’s guidelines.

The Dominican Republic MMA Federation has also achieved the support of its National Olympic Committee.

During his visit, IMMAF President Brown led a seminar with the federation’s MMA Coaches, for the purpose of explaining IMMAF’s role, MMA progression pathways (including youth development) and the rules and policies of amateur MMA competition.

Speaking of the visit, President Brown said:

“The Dominican Republic federation submitted an impressive application for recognition, and they have gone through all the correct processes in setting themselves up. They’ve done a huge amount of work to advance the development of MMA in the Dominican Republic and for the recognition of the sport. While out there, we attended an amateur event, which I was also extremely impressed by. We welcome the Dominican MMA Republic federation to IMMAF and as a our latest Pan American member.”

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Oceania Title Win Confirms Potential of World Silver Medalist Olivia Ukmar https://immaf.org/2020/03/17/oceania-title-win-confirms-potential-of-world-silver-medalist-olivia-ukmar/ Tue, 17 Mar 2020 17:08:10 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32590

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While the coronavirus (Covid-19) has forced the postponement of the 2020 IMMAF Africa Open and Pan American Open Championships, IMMAF’s 2020 events calendar kicked off with the Oceania Open successfully hosted earlier this month in Australia.

Taking place in Gold Coast from 6 – 8 March, Australia’s own Olivia Ukmar triumphed in the women’s strawweight division, and in doing so made the greatest statement of the event’s gold medalists. The biggest Oceania Open to date was mainly defined by its influx of top ranked athletes from around the world, the vast majority featuring in the women’s divisions.

28-year-old Ukmar featured in the most highly contested of the 2020 Oceania Open women’s tournaments. While number-2 ranked Nina Back was drawn as the competition’s top seed, a clear favorite to win this year’s title was hard to distinguish given the accolades of each contender:

Olivia Ukmar (Australia):
no.6 ranked strawweight
2019 World silver medalist.

Daria Samkick (Ukraine):
no. 5 ranked strawweight
2018 World gold medalist
2019 World bronze medalist

Nina Back (Sweden):
no. 2 ranked strawweight
2018 European silver medalist
2018 World silver medalist
2019 European silver medalist

Jenna Horto (Finland):
no.5 ranked atomweight
2018 European gold medalist
2018 World bronze medalist

2019 World Championships: Ukmar earned a unanimous decision win over former World gold medalist Daria Samchik

Ukmar was highly impressive in victory, first earning a second win over Ukraine’s Samchik, this time even more emphatically by securing a rear-naked-choke submission in the second round against the 2018 world champion. In the Oceania final, Ukmar scored a unanimous decision nod from the judges to best Sweden’s Nina Back and claim the continental title on home soil.

“I just look forward and get excited to be able to showcase my skills and hard work that my team and I put in, and with that I know the results will follow,” Ukmar commented.

Given the quality of opposition, earning the gold medal would have proved to be a major statement for any of the four strawweight standouts. Ukmar’s victory will no doubt further her confidence and leaves a significant mark on the division, showing her potential to go one step further to claim gold at the 2020 World Championships among top ranked opposition. Her international debut at last year’s World Championships was certainly not a one-off, the status of the world silver medalist is intact as a firm favourite for future titles, second only for now to Ukraine’s Anastasiya Svetkivska, the reigning World and European champion.

Main picture: Olivia Ukmar alongside, Australian MMA Federation president Richie Cranny.

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Algerian Federation Already Showing Its Potential https://immaf.org/2020/03/16/algerian-federation-already-showing-its-potential/ Mon, 16 Mar 2020 08:41:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=40204

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A year after a meeting with IMMAF CEO Densign White in London, the Algerian MMA Federation has developed in leaps and bounds.

Under the guidance of Yassine Derradj and Risa Balynas, the federation in Algeria has managed a number of initiatives including an IMMAF Coaches’ Education course led by Director of Sports Development Andrew Moshanov.

The first ever national Algerian Amateur MMA Championship is taking place on 27—28 March, and the federation is also ramping up efforts to develop referees, officials and coaching development pathways, and fully understand the importance of the IMMAF grading system and App.

Mr Moshanov, speaking of his recent experience in Algeria said:

“It is very promising so see how Algeria’s Ministry of Sport are interested in the further development of this sport in the country. They are providing good support to MMA in Algeria and helping the new federation to achieve their goals.”

As is the pattern in a number of countries, the Algerian MMA federation is currently operating as a MMA Committee inside an existing sport structure. In this case it is the Algerian Kickboxing Federation. But the MMA experts are working hard to create a strong structure and to establish themselves as an independent national governing body. IMMAF’s Member Services Manager is working closely with the federation, supplying additional information and advice about membership development and on entry processes for IMMAF events.

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IMMAF Statement On Coronavirus & Postponement Of Events https://immaf.org/2020/03/13/immaf-statement-on-coronavirus-postponement-of-events/ Fri, 13 Mar 2020 13:14:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39897

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At IMMAF the health and wellbeing our members matters to us, and we are mindful of current global measures and concerns regarding the coronavirus (Covid-19).

Therefore, we are sadly postponing our two upcoming tournaments in April and May until further notice: The 2020 IMMAF Africa Open Championships and the 2020 IMMAF Pan American Championships. Participants should contact their National Federation regarding refund of participation fees and for further advice.

With respect to our other events in 2020, including Championships and Courses, please be assured that IMMAF is monitoring the global situation extremely closely and following official advice and restrictions issued by Government bodies. We will be looking at online alternatives for educational courses, where needed.

We are aware of the lock-down in Italy and have therefore also postponed official announcement of the planned 2020 Youth World Championships (6 – 9 August) and 2020 European Senior & Junior Championships (11 – 16 August) in Rome. IMMAF is researching alternative locations for these and all other events, in case of any travel restrictions in force during the planned dates of competition. Every effort will be made to ensure that relocated events, later in the year, take place as close as possible in time to the original dates. We therefore encourage athletes to keep training and preparing for these competitions.

So far, IMMAF has not been informed of any cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) among our members, but have requested that they keep us informed.

We have advised our members that some travel restrictions may apply to teams from infected regions in line with government decrees. Further to this, if any IMMAF participants are suffering from symptoms of the virus they should not attend IMMAF or National level events or training, and self-isolate. This is of particular importance with MMA being a close contact sport and must be taken extremely seriously. Our Medical Committee is meeting today to review the IMMAF screening process for competition and the latest medical advice for members in light of the coronavirus.

We will keep our members and followers updated and informed as the situation progresses, and have asked in the meantime that members follow the following guidelines:

  1. First and foremost, follow the advice of your government and government organisations, as the situation will differ from region to region


In regions where there are no government restrictions:

  1. make sure to follow World Health Organization guidelines to ensure best cleaning practices are carried out at your clubs and gyms;
  2. advise participants/ members not to attend clubs or gyms if experiencing symptoms or if they have knowingly been in contact with an infected person, and to self-isolate as per government advice;
  3. advise participants/ members to not only keep their hands clean (washing regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water) but also their bodies and hair after and before sports practice, due to the close-contact nature of MMA;
  4. advise participants to properly wash their gym wear with using sanitising agents after each use;
  5. advise participants/ members always to sneeze/ cough into tissues;
  6. gym matts, machines and equipment should be wiped down with appropriate cleaning fluids after each use (see World Health Organisation advice);
  7. Members are requested to inform IMMAF should a member of their team or gym contract the virus or have been in contact with it.

We thank everyone for their cooperation,

Densign White
IMMAF CEO

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Australian MMA Federation Responds to Oceania Open Success https://immaf.org/2020/03/09/australian-mma-federation-responds-to-oceania-open-success/ Mon, 09 Mar 2020 16:35:25 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32529

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The IMMAF 2020 Oceania Open concluded on Sunday, March 8, at Palm Beach in the city of Gold Coast, Australia. As the host nation, Australia fielded the largest squad of athletes and as a result were able to top the medal table.

Richie Cranny, president of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (IMMAFA), share his thought followign the championship’s conclusion:

Richie Cranny (left) alongside former IMMAFA president Joe Minehan

The 2020 Oceania Open is now in the books as the biggest amateur mixed martial arts event in Australian history and Team Australia’s most successful IMMAF Tournament to date.

The most exciting thing to come from this year’s Oceania for me and our IMMAFA federation is the new talent that’s been discovered here over the past year, both junior and senior, which will only help inspire and demonstrate to other athletes out there what amazing pathways we can now offer those that are serious about competing at the world class amateur level and willing to put in the work to do so.

Also, it’s been a year where we’ve added some exceptional coaches to our national team such as Brian Ebersole, Alan Philpott and Renato Subotic as well as IMMAF veteran Joseph Luciano, all of which bring unique skill sets and experience which head coach Ed Bavelock has utilised brilliantly. So with 14 medals, new coaches and some exciting new talent which will be around for some time, Australia is only going get stronger over the coming years and we look forward to supporting other host federations in 2020 by sending our athletes to compete around the world as we prepare for our best showing at the worlds to date this October.

Richie Cranny
President
IMMAFA

Main picture: 2020 Oceania Open men’s strawweight champion, Troy Fumo

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2020 IMMAF Oceania: Finals Results & Medallists https://immaf.org/2020/03/08/2020-immaf-oceania-finals-results-medallists/ Sun, 08 Mar 2020 12:16:48 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32485

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The 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships concluded on Australia’s Gold Coast today with the Tournament Finals and Medals Ceremony.

See below for the list of 2020 Oceania Medallists and Official Finals Results.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s nation vs nation, MMA tournament took place from 6–8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre.

Go to MyNextMatch.com to view the full brackets and tournament information

2020 OCEANIA MEDALLISTS

Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Gold: Olivia Ukmar (Australia)
Silver: Nina Back (Sweden)

Female Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)
Gold: Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden)
Silver: Magdalena Czaban (Poland)

Female Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Gold: Bianca Antman (Sweden)
Silver: Jess Bradley (New Zealand)

Female Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Gold: Jesse Wenzlick (Australia)
Silver: Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand)

Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Gold: Michelle Montague (New Zealand)
Silver: Jenni Kivioja (Finland)

Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Gold: Troy Fumo (Australia)

Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Gold: Mohammed Almuamari (Bahrain)

Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Gold: Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom)
Silver: Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain)
Bronze: Keoni TEROROTUA (French Polynesia)
Abdulla Alyaqoob (Bahrain)

Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Gold: Colby Thicknesse (Australia)
Silver: Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom)
Bronze: Abdul Mahdawi (Australia), Denzil Brokken (New Zealand)

Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs):
Gold: Jordan Thomas (Australia)
Silver: Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain)
Bronze: Oliver Schmid (New Zealand), Andy Le (Australia)

Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Gold: Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain)
Silver: Corey Reeves (Australia)
Bronze: Yousif Sayyar (Bahrain), Lachlan Stitt (Australia)

Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Gold: Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand)
Silver: Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia)
Bronze: Vaibhav Vaman Shetty (India), Omer Suliman (Australia)

Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Gold: Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain)
Silver: Patrick Best (Australia) – TKO R1 2:29
Bronze: Auryn Parmley (Australia), Ezekiel Wetere (New Zealand)

Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)
Gold: Ryan Spillane (Ireland)
Silver: Dane Alchin (Australia)

Super Heavyweight 300 kg (661 lbs)
Gold: Hiro Lemaire (French Polynesia)

Finals Results: 8.03.2020

1 Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Olivia Ukmar (Australia) def. Nina Back (Sweden) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

2 Female Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs) Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden) def. Magdalena Czaban (Poland) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

3 Female Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Bianca Antman (Sweden) def. Jess Bradley (New Zealand) – Submission (Armbar) R1 2:20

4 Female Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Jesse Wenzlick (Australia) def. Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand) – TKO R3 1:18

5 Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Michelle Montague (New Zealand) def. Jenni Kivioja (Finland) – Submission (Armbar) R2 1:38

6 Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Troy Fumo (Australia) def. Cherfi Adil (France) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

7 Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Mohammed Almuamari (Bahrain) def. Ebrahim Darwish (Bahrain) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

8 Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom) def. Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain) – Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R1 1:29

9 Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Colby Thicknesse (Australia) def. Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

10 Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs): Gold: Jordan Thomas (Australia); Silver: Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain)

Lightweight bronze: Oliver Schmid (New Zealand), Andy Le (Australia)

11 Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain) def. Corey Reeves (Australia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

12 Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand) def. Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

13 Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain) def. Patrick Best (Australia) – TKO R1 2:29

14 Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) Ryan Spillane (Ireland) def. Dane Alchin (Australia) – TKO R1 0:32

15 Super Heavyweight 300 kg (661 lbs) Hiro Lemaire (French Polynesia) def. Corey Barrett (New Zealand) – TKO R1 1:01

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IMMAF Women’s Commission launches on International Women’s Day https://immaf.org/2020/03/07/immaf-womens-commission-launches-on-international-womens-day/ Sat, 07 Mar 2020 20:54:59 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32496

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We celebrate International Women’s day today but it is also a historical day for IMMAF, which has launched its own Women’s Commission.

Hayzia Bellem, chair of the new Commission, will host the first session of the commission today. The goals of the IMMAF’s Women’s Commission are:

– Encouraging women to practice MMA
– Fighting against gender prejudice in MMA
– Promoting gender equality in MMA and sport generally
– Fighting against harassment in combat sports
– Supporting women to develop their skills within MMA organisations  (coaches, referees and other officials, administrators, etc.)
– Supporting women to gain leadership positions at IMMAF and its federations
– Empowering women and girls through MMA
– Showing the financial benefits of promoting women in MMA
– Recognizing the achievements of individuals and organizations promoting women in MMA (amateur and professional)

The Commission members are:

Hayzia Bellem (FRA) : chairperson
Sharif Bapu (IND): member
Veronika Nabaltska (BUL): member
Gosha Malik is the IMMAF staff liaison

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“I’m proud of the representation and achievements of women in the IMMAF family, as we continue to work to encourage greater female participation at all levels of the sport. The IMMAF Women’s Commission has been founded to further women’s development within MMA. On behalf of IMMAF, I’d like to wish the women of MMA around the world a happy International Women’s Day.”

For more information on the Women’s Commission please contact: malik@immaf.org

Main picture: World Junior Gold Medallists Anna Gaul (GER) and Nora Ochoa (MEX) at end of their 2019 World Championship Final bout

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2020 IMMAF Oceania: Day 2 Results & Finals Fight Card https://immaf.org/2020/03/07/2020-immaf-oceania-day-2-results-finals-fight-card/ Sat, 07 Mar 2020 06:37:36 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32481

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The 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships is underway on Australia’s Gold Coast with its second day of matches having taken place today.

See below the Official Results for Day 2 – the Semi Finals, and for tomorrow’s fight card for Finals.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s nation vs nation, MMA tournament plays out from  6– 8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre from 10:30 hrs daily (AEST / GMT + 10). Sunday’s finals will be available to watch for free at IMMAF.TV. Tickets are available on the door.

Sign up to MyNextMatch.com to view brackets and live tournament updates

Results – Day 2 07/03/2020

1 Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Nina Back (Sweden) def. Jenna Horto (Finland) – Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R3 1:16

2 Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Olivia Ukmar (Australia) def. Daria Samchik (Ukraine) – Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R2 2:30

3 Female Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs) Magdalena Czaban (Poland) def. Courtney Gray (Australia) – TKO R1 1:15

4 Female Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Bianca Antman (Sweden) def. Amanda Cairney (New Zealand) – Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R2 1:33

5 Female Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand) def. Kiera-Lee Botfield (Australia) – Submission (Armbar) R2 1:52

6 Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Michelle Montague (New Zealand) def. Kelsey Schroder (New Zealand) – Submission (Armbar) R1 1:48

7 Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Jenni Kivioja (Finland) def. Mel Webster (New Zealand) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

8 Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain) def. Keoni TEROROTUA (French Polynesia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

9 Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom) def. Abdulla Alyaqoob (Bahrain) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

10 Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Colby Thicknesse (Australia) def. Abdul Mahdawi (Australia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

11 Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom) def. Denzil Brokken (New Zealand) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

12 Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Jordan Thomas (Australia) def. Oliver Schmid (New Zealand) – Split Decision R3 3:00

13 Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain) def. Andy Le (Australia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

14 Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain) def. Lachlan Stitt (Australia) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

15 Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand) def. Vaibhav Vaman Shetty (India) – Submission (Armbar) R1 1:19

16 Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Patrick Best (Australia) def. Ezekiel Wetere (New Zealand) – Unanimous Decision R3 3:00

17 Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) Dane Alchin (Australia) vs. Alexander Lutu (New Zealand) – TKO R3 0:55

FIGHT CARD – DAY 3: 08/03/2020

Day 3 Finals, March 8 2020

1 Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Nina Back (Sweden) vs. Olivia Ukmar (Australia)

2 Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs) Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden) vs. Magdalena Czaban (Poland)

3 Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Bianca Antman (Sweden) vs. Jess Bradley (New Zealand)

4 Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand) vs. Jesse Wenzlick (Australia)

5 Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Michelle Montague (New Zealand) vs. Jenni Kivioja (Finland)

6 Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Troy Fumo (Australia) vs. Cherfi Adil (France)

7 Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Mohammed Almuamari (Bahrain) vs. Ebrahim Darwish (Bahrain)

8 Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain) vs. Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom)

9 Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Colby Thicknesse (Australia) vs. Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom)

10 Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Jordan Thomas (Australia) vs. Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain)

11 Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain) vs. Corey Reeves (Australia)

12 Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand) vs. Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia)

13 Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain) vs. Patrick Best (Australia)

14 Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) Ryan Spillane (Ireland) vs. Dane Alchin (Australia)

15 Super Heavyweight 300 kg (661 lbs) Hiro Lemaire (French Polynesia) vs. Corey Barrett (New Zealand)

The post 2020 IMMAF Oceania: Day 2 Results & Finals Fight Card appeared first on IMMAF.

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French Polynesia Earns Historic First Amateur MMA Win On Day 1 of IMMAF Oceania Open https://immaf.org/2020/03/06/french-polynesia-earns-historic-first-amateur-mma-win-on-day-1-of-immaf-oceania-open/ Fri, 06 Mar 2020 16:12:16 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32471

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The French Polynesia national team secured its first ever victory on the international amateur MMA platform, on day 1 (March 6) of the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships in Australia.

The debut of French Polynesia under the IMMAF banner comes following recognition of The Polynesian Federation of Wrestling and Associated Disciplines (FPLAJDA) as a member of the IMMAF, announced last year on November 11.

The symbolic first triumph for the national team was secured in the very first bout of the day by men’s bantamweight (61.2 kg/135 lbs) athlete, Keoni Terorotua (main picture). The 22-year-old bested Levi Hawkes of New Zealand, a veteran of the 2018 Junior World Championships and 2019 Oceania Open. The bout was decided by a split-decision on the judge’s scorecards.

Terorotua’s team mates, Aremiti Tinirau (men’s welterweight) and Michael Lisan (middleweight) were also in action, but were defeated after going the distance against experienced Australians Corey Reeves and Loni Doyle Filimoehala who both earned unanimous decision wins for the home nation.

Recap full Day 1 results and Day 2 schedule below.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s nation vs nation, MMA tournament plays out from 6– 8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre from 10:30 hrs daily (AEST / GMT + 10). Sunday’s finals will be available to watch for free at IMMAF.TV.

Tickets are still available from Eventbrite and on the door.

Sign up to MyNextMatch.com to view brackets and live tournament updates

Results – Day 1: 06/03/2020

Bout 1: Male Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Keoni TEROROTUA (French Polynesia) d e f Levi Hawkes (New Zealand) via Split Decision Round 3, 3 (28-29, 29-28, 29-27)

Bout 2: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Colby Thicknesse (Australia) d e f Ali Yaqoob (Bahrain) via TKO Round 3, 1:54

Bout 3: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Denzil Brokken (New Zealand) d e f Justin Grey (Canada) via Submission (Guillotine Choke)  Round 1, 0:50

Bout 4: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom) d e f Taj Fewquandie (Australia) via Submission (Armbar)  Round 2, 1:02

Bout 5: Male Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Oliver Schmid (New Zealand) d e f Mohamed Alghool (Bahrain) via Split Decision Round 3, 3:00 (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Bout 6: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Lachlan Stitt (Australia) d e f Gary Mcdonald (New Zealand) via TKO Round 1, 1:55

Bout 7: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Corey Reeves (Australia) d e f Aremiti TINIRAU (French Polynesia) via Unanimous Decision Round 3, 3:00 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Bout 8: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Yousif Sayyar (Bahrain) d e f Tiep Cai Xuan (Czech Republic) via Split Decision Round 3 (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Bout 9: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand) d e f Samuel Marles (Australia) due to Medical Examination Failed

Bout 10: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Omer Suliman (Australia) d e f Lukas Piffko (Czech Republic) via Unanimous Decision Round 3, 3:00 (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Bout 11: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia) d e f Michael LISAN (French Polynesia) via Unanimous Decision Round 3, 03:00 (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)

Bout 12: Male Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Auryn Parmley (Australia) d e f Tony Hemopo (New Zealand) via TKO Round 2, 0:56

Fight Card – Day 2: 07/03/2020

Bout 1: Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Nina Back (Sweden) VS Jenna Horto (Finland)

Bout 2: Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Daria Samchik (Ukraine) VS Olivia Ukmar (Australia)

Bout 3: Female Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs) Magdalena Czaban (Poland) VS Courtney Gray (Australia)

Bout 4: Female Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Bianca Antman (Sweden) VS Amanda Cairney (New Zealand)

Bout 5: Female Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Kiera-Lee Botfield (Australia) VS Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand)

Bout 6: Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Michelle Montague (New Zealand) VS Kelsey Schroder (New Zealand)

Bout 7: Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Mel Webster (New Zealand) VS Jenni Kivioja (Finland)

Bout 8: Male Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain) VS Keoni TEROROTUA (French Polynesia)

Bout 9: Male Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Abdulla Alyaqoob (Bahrain) VS Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom)

Bout 10: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Abdul Mahdawi (Australia) VS Colby Thicknesse (Australia)

Bout 11: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Denzil Brokken (New Zealand) VS Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom)

Bout 12: Male Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Jordan Thomas (Australia) VS Oliver Schmid (New Zealand)

Bout 13: Male Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain) VS Andy Le (Australia)

Bout 14: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain) VS Lachlan Stitt (Australia)

Bout 15: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Vaibhav Vaman Shetty (India) VS Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand)

Bout 16: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Omer Suliman (Australia) VS Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia)

Bout 17: Male Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain) VS Auryn Parmley (Australia)

Bout 18: Male Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Patrick Best (Australia) VS Ezekiel Wetere (New Zealand)

Bout 19: Male Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) Dane Alchin (Australia) VS Alexander Lutu (New Zealand)

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2020 IMMAF Oceania: Day 1 Results & Day 2 Fight Card https://immaf.org/2020/03/06/2020-immaf-oceania-day-1-results-day-2-fight-card/ Fri, 06 Mar 2020 08:46:10 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32459

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The 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships kicked off today (6 March) on Australia’s Gold Coast with its first day of matches.

See below the Official Results for Day 1 – the Quarter Finals, and tomorrow’s fight card for Day 2 – the Semi-Finals.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s nation vs nation, MMA tournament plays out from 6– 8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre from 10:30 hrs daily (AEST / GMT + 10). Sunday’s finals will be available to watch for free at IMMAF.TV.

Tickets are still available from Eventbrite and on the door.

Sign up to MyNextMatch.com to view brackets and live tournament updates

Results – Day1: 6/03/2020

Bout 1: Male Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Keoni TEROROTUA (French Polynesia) d e f Levi Hawkes (New Zealand) via Split Decision Round 3, 3 (28-29, 29-28, 29-27)

Bout 2: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Colby Thicknesse (Australia) d e f Ali Yaqoob (Bahrain) via TKO Round 3, 1:54

Bout 3: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Denzil Brokken (New Zealand) d e f Justin Grey (Canada) via Submission (Guillotine Choke)  Round 1, 0:50

Bout 4: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom) d e f Taj Fewquandie (Australia) via Submission (Armbar)  Round 2, 1:02

Bout 5: Male Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Oliver Schmid (New Zealand) d e f Mohamed Alghool (Bahrain) via Split Decision Round 3, 3:00 (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Bout 6: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Lachlan Stitt (Australia) d e f Gary Mcdonald (New Zealand) via TKO Round 1, 1:55

Bout 7: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Corey Reeves (Australia) d e f Aremiti TINIRAU (French Polynesia) via Unanimous Decision Round 3, 3:00 (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Bout 8: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Yousif Sayyar (Bahrain) d e f Tiep Cai Xuan (Czech Republic) via Split Decision Round 3 (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Bout 9: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand) d e f Samuel Marles (Australia) due to Medical Examination Failed

Bout 10: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Omer Suliman (Australia) d e f Lukas Piffko (Czech Republic) via Unanimous Decision Round 3, 3:00 (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Bout 11: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia) d e f Michael LISAN (French Polynesia) via Unanimous Decision Round 3, 03:00 (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)

Bout 12: Male Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Auryn Parmley (Australia) d e f Tony Hemopo (New Zealand) via TKO Round 2, 0:56

Fight Card – Day 2: 7/03/2020

Bout 1: Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Nina Back (Sweden) VS Jenna Horto (Finland)

Bout 2: Female Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs) Daria Samchik (Ukraine) VS Olivia Ukmar (Australia)

Bout 3: Female Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs) Magdalena Czaban (Poland) VS Courtney Gray (Australia)

Bout 4: Female Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs) Bianca Antman (Sweden) VS Amanda Cairney (New Zealand)

Bout 5: Female Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Kiera-Lee Botfield (Australia) VS Rosemarie McAuslin (New Zealand)

Bout 6: Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Michelle Montague (New Zealand) VS Kelsey Schroder (New Zealand)

Bout 7: Female Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Mel Webster (New Zealand) VS Jenni Kivioja (Finland)

Bout 8: Male Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Abdulla Mubarak (Bahrain) VS Keoni TEROROTUA (French Polynesia)

Bout 9: Male Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Abdulla Alyaqoob (Bahrain) VS Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom)

Bout 10: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Abdul Mahdawi (Australia) VS Colby Thicknesse (Australia)

Bout 11: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Denzil Brokken (New Zealand) VS Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom)

Bout 12: Male Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Jordan Thomas (Australia) VS Oliver Schmid (New Zealand)

Bout 13: Male Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Zubair Gadzhiev (Bahrain) VS Andy Le (Australia)

Bout 14: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Ramazan Gitinov (Bahrain) VS Lachlan Stitt (Australia)

Bout 15: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Vaibhav Vaman Shetty (India) VS Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand)

Bout 16: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Omer Suliman (Australia) VS Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia)

Bout 17: Male Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Murtaza Talha Ali (Bahrain) VS Auryn Parmley (Australia)

Bout 18: Male Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Patrick Best (Australia) VS Ezekiel Wetere (New Zealand)

Bout 19: Male Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs) Dane Alchin (Australia) VS Alexander Lutu (New Zealand)

The post 2020 IMMAF Oceania: Day 1 Results & Day 2 Fight Card appeared first on IMMAF.

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IMMAF Oceania Championships Commence on the Gold Coast https://immaf.org/2020/03/05/%ef%bb%bfimmaf-oceania-championships-commence-on-the-gold-coast/ Thu, 05 Mar 2020 09:52:16 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32423

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Athletes for the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships arrived earlier today in Australia’s Gold Coast, and the Tournament Draw has now been completed ahead of tomorrow’s first day of matches.


ABOUT THE 2020 IMMAF OCEANIA OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s nation vs nation, MMA tournament plays out from  6– 8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre from 10:30 hrs daily (AEST / GMT + 10). Sunday’s finals will be available to watch for free at IMMAF.TV.

Star names representing Australia include women’s strawweight contender, Olivia Ukmar, who won Australia’s first World Silver medal in MMA at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships, and Abdul Mahdawi, who returns to the Oceania Championships as a former silver medallist.

Top ranking IMMAF international male talent includes: World and European Gold medallist, Ireland’s Ryan Spillane (heavyweight); Bahrain’s Ramazan Gitinov (welterweight) and Murtaza Talha Ali (light-heavyweight); plus world champion, the UK prodigy Muhammad Mokaev (bantamweight).

International female names include Ukraine’s 2018 World Gold medallist Daria Samchik; Sweden’s two-time World Silver medallist Nina Back (strawweight), World Gold medallist Bianca Antman (flyweight) and
World Gold medallist Bezhan Mahmudi (atomweight); Finland’s 2018 IMMAF Performance of the Year winner Jenni Kivioja (lightweight); 2018 European Gold medallist Jenna Horto (strawweight); Poland’s World Gold medallist Magdalena Czaban (atomweight) and New Zealand’s reigning World Gold medallist, Michelle Montague (lightweight).


DAY 1 MATCHES SCHEDULE: QUARTER FINALS

Bout 1: Male Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs) Keoni Terorotua (French Polynesia) VS Levi Hawkes (New Zealand)

Bout 2: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Colby Thicknesse (Australia) VS Ali Yaqoob (Bahrain)

Bout 3: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Justin Grey (Canada) VS Denzil Brokken (New Zealand)

Bout 4: Male Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs) Taj Fewquandie (Australia) VS Dylan Thompson (United Kingdom)

Bout 5: Male Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs) Mohamed Alghool (Bahrain) VS Oliver Schmid (New Zealand)

Bout 6: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Lachlan Stitt (Australia) VS Gary Mcdonald (New Zealand)

Bout 7: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Corey Reeves (Australia) VS Aremiti Tinirau (French Polynesia)

Bout 8: Male Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs) Tiep Cai Xuan (Czech Republic) VS Yousif Sayyar (Bahrain)

Bout 9: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Samuel Marles (Australia) VS Hakaraia Wilson (New Zealand)

Bout 10: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Omer Suliman (Australia) VS Lukas Piffko (Czech Republic)

Bout 11: Male Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) Loni Doyle Filimoehala (Australia) VS Michael LISAN (French Polynesia)

Bout 12: Male Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs) Tony Hemopo (New Zealand) VS Auryn Parmley (Australia)

Main picture: Swedish star team arrives at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre

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Brendan Allen TKO's Top Rival; 2015 IMMAF Champion Moves to 2-0 in UFC https://immaf.org/2020/03/02/brendan-allen-tkos-top-rival-2015-immaf-champion-moves-to-2-0-in-ufc/ Mon, 02 Mar 2020 12:57:50 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32394

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On February 29 former IMMAF world champion Brendan Allen secured his second UFC triumph at UFC on ESPN in Virginia, USA.

Upon booking his place in the UFC via Dana White’s Contender Series, the Roufusport fighter is now 2-0 in the world’s leading MMA promotion with an overall 14-3 pro record. He produced a demolition job against highly rated UK prospect Tom Breese in a middleweight bout last weekend, handing the 28-year-old Brit his first ever stoppage loss by securing a takedown against the fence and forcing the referee stoppage with strikes in the final seconds of the opening round.

The Team USA veteran and former national champion won gold in the middleweight division at the 2015 IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA in Las Vegas (main picture). It was a golden era for the U.S. national team with Allen’s title winning team mates including the likes of Jose Torres and Will Starks. Allen became the world’s inaugural number-one ranked contender upon the inception of the IMMAF world amateur rankings.

The 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships take place from 6 – 8 March at the Tallebudegra Leisure Center on Australia’s Gold Coast. For more information and tickets, click HERE.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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IMMAF Announces New World Team Championships in Bahrain https://immaf.org/2020/02/29/immaf-announces-new-world-team-championships-in-bahrain/ Sat, 29 Feb 2020 16:29:41 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32370

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1 – 5 DECEMBER, MANAMA

The International MMA Federation (IMMAF) announced a brand new event to its 2020 calendar at a press conference held on 29 February in Manama: The 2020 World Team Championships is to be hosted by the Bahrain Mixed Martial Arts Federation (BMMAF) from the 1 – 5 December at Khalifa Sports City Arena as part of BRAVE International Combat Week.

The World Teams Championship follows an Olympic format that differs from IMMAF’s World Championships as medals are awarded to National Teams rather than individual athletes. The winning team is the one that secures the most wins. Competition participation is limited to a total of 16 male teams and 8 female teams.

The MMA tournament is exclusively open to the world’s best male and female teams as according to the World Amateur MMA Rankings, following the 2020 IMMAF World Championships in Kazakhstan in October. Ranking points can be accrued by National Teams across the year from their participation in IMMAF Continental and World Championships.

Priority entry will be given to the Top 14 male National Teams and Top 6 female National Teams: If one of the world’s top teams decline, their place in the competition will be offered to the next team down and so on. There will also be an additional 2 male and 2 female Wild Card Teams, which will be selected at the sole discretion of IMMAF. Each male team will comprise 7 athletes with a maximum of 3 substitutes, and each female team will include 5 athletes and a maximum of 2 subs.

Following the 2020 World Championships, IMMAF will invite the top ranking teams to register. The Bahrain Mixed Martial Arts Federation will be generously covering the accommodation for World Teams and there will be no Participation Fee for entry.

IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown said:

“I would like to thank Bahrain Olympic Committee President, His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad, BRAVE CEO Mohammed Shahid and Bahrain Mixed Martial Arts Federation President Mohammed Qambar for their ongoing support of amateur MMA and its international development as a sport. The depth of talent in IMMAF competitions is deepening year-on-year, and I expect the level of competition to sky rocket at this prestigious World Teams event.”

Bahrain has to date hosted three consecutive IMMAF World Championships (2017 – 2019) under the patronage of HH Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad, and as part of BRAVE International Combat Week. Team Bahrain currently tops the National Team Rankings (for male athletes).

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Bianca Antman Targets Oceania Open & No.1 Rank After Reclaiming IMMAF World Flyweight Title For Sweden https://immaf.org/2020/02/28/bianca-antman-targets-oceania-open-no-1-rank-after-reclaiming-immaf-world-flyweight-title-for-sweden/ Fri, 28 Feb 2020 13:12:15 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32351

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The 2019 IMMAF World Championships saw Swedish talent re-emerge as leaders of the women’s divisions.

Sweden’s five senior level medalists took their national team to third place in the 2019 world championships medal table. While Bezhan Mahmudi captured gold in the atomweight bracket, Bianca Antman’s gold medal triumph in the flyweight division meant that Sweden recaptured the 125lb title for the first time since 2016, following in the footsteps of IMMAF great Gabriella Ringblom.

Taking three victories in four days at the world championships last November, Antman’s broad and aggressive display of ability included an Americana submission over South Africa’s Ceileigh Niedermayr in the quarter-finals before going the distance to claim a unanimous decision semi-final win over Russian national champion Zemfira Alieva. At the finals, Antman submitted former world silver medalist Hannah Dawson, the New Zealand standout who had last been defeated in the 2017 finals as a strawweight against Sweden’s Anna Astvik.

Antman celebrates upon submitting Dawson to win the 2019 flyweight world title.

In the Oceania Open flyweight bracket Antman will be rivaled by the New Zealand duo of Amanda Cairney and 2018 Oceania gold medalist Anne Wilson. Victory for Antman in the Oceania tournament would see her become the new number-one ranked athlete in the women’s 125lb division. Antman currently occupies second place in the rankings behind Australia’s 2018 Oceania Open and Asia Open champion, Alish Smith.

The 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships take place from 6 – 8 March at the Tallebudegra Leisure Center on Australia’s Gold Coast.
For more information and tickets, click HERE.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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IMMAF World Championships & Asian Open Announced for Kazakhstan https://immaf.org/2020/02/27/immaf-world-championships-asian-open-announced-for-kazakhstan/ Thu, 27 Feb 2020 14:46:47 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32348

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced that the 2020 IMMAF World and Junior World Championships and the 2020 IMMAF Asian and Junior Asian Open Championships will both take place in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, IMMAF CEO Densign White and General Director of Kazakhstan MMA federation, Valikhan Ten

The announcement was made earlier today at a press conference organised by Host Federation, the Kazakhstan National Public Union of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation, attended by IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, IMMAF CEO Densign White and General Director of Kazakhstan MMA federation Valikhan Ten.

The 2020 IMMAF Asian & Junior Asian Open Championships is scheduled for 23 – 27 June 2020 (with the Tournament Draw on 22 June), and the 2020 IMMAF World and Junior World Championships will take place during the week commencing 25 October. The Asian Open plays out at the Palace of Combat and Martial Arts – Zhekpe Zhek, with the venue for the Worlds to be confirmed.

The Kazakhstan National Public Union of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation is recognised by the National Sport Committee of Kazakhstan. The National Team ranks 3rd place in the Senior World Amateur MMA Rankings and 2nd place in the Juniors. The team picked up 18 medals including 4 golds* at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain, and 22 medals including 7 golds* at the 2019 Asian Open in Thailand. Stand out athletes included strawweight, Bagdat Zhubanysh, who places 3rd and female atomweight Ayan Tursyn, who places 16th in the World Amateur Pound 4 Pound rankings.

Speaking at the Nur Sultan press conference, General Director of Kazakhstan MMA federation Valikhan Ten said:

“We are very proud to host these prestigious events in Kazakhstan. We will do our best to deliver the events to the highest level.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“There was tense bid process between Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Kazakhstan to host the Championships: We are certain that Kazakhstan will perform to a high level and will be able to deliver the event to a gold standard. From our side, we will give every support.”

President Brown thanked IMMAF Honorary President, Vadim Finkelchtein; the new President of the Kazakhstan National Public Union of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Federation and Chairman of the Management Board of JSC NC “KazMunayGas”, Aidarbayev Alik Serikovich; and the National Sport Committee of Kazakhstan for their support in facilitating the hosting of the IMMAF World and Asian Championships by Kazakhstan,

*Kazakhstani 2019 World Gold medallists are Bagdat Zhubanysh, Talshyn Zhumatayeva, Fariz Abdalov, Gani Adilserik

***Kazakhstani 2019 Asian Gold medallists are Ayan Tursyn, Talshyn Zhumatayeva, Bagdat Zhubanysh, Olzhas Moldagaliyev, Anatoliy Zolotykh, Aidyn Tolepbayev, Madi Dosmukhametov – Men’s Middleweight

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2019 IMMAF Worlds Matches Free-to-view At IMMAF TV https://immaf.org/2020/02/26/2019-immaf-worlds-matches-free-to-view-at-immaf-tv/ Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:07:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39895

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All matches from the 2019 IMMAF MMA World Championships are now available to watch for FREE exclusively at immaf.tv

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s flagship, nation vs nation event saw elite MMA amateurs from around the world battle it out over 5 days and 4 cages between 11 and 16 November, at the Khalifa Sports City Arena in Manama, Bahrain.

The Championships included Senior and Junior tournaments, in which 452 athletes took part from 51 nations across 16 weight divisions (male and female).

While Russia dominated especially in the Senior event, other notable talents to look out for include Gold medallists Bagdat Zhubanysh (Kazakhstan), Olympic wrestling hopeful Michelle Montague (New Zealand) and prodigy Muhammad Mokaev (United Kingdom).

Tune into immaf.tv to relive a host of world class finishes and elite mixed martial arts action!

2020 IMMAF TV PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE

In 2020, IMMAF TV will be live streaming from all its Championships as listed below: Look out for scheduling information to follow.

Free-To-View

March: 2020 Oceania Open Championships
April: 2020 Africa Open Championships
May: 2020 Pan America Championships

Pay-Per-View

June: 2020 Asian & Junior Asian Open Championships
August: 2020 European Open and Junior European Open Championships
August: 2020 Youth World Championships
October/ November – TBC: 2020 World and Junior World Championships

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IMMAF Unveils Athletes & Teams for the Oceania MMA Championships – WATCH ON IMMAF TV https://immaf.org/2020/02/25/immaf-unveils-athletes-teams-for-the-oceania-mma-championships-watch-on-immaf-tv/ Tue, 25 Feb 2020 09:12:40 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32314

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WATCH FINALS ON IMMAF.TV
BUY TICKETS & DONATE TO THE AUSTRLIAN BUSHFIRE APPEAL  

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has unveiled the National Teams and Athletes registered to compete in its 2020 Oceania MMA Championships on Australia’s Gold Coast, from 6 – 8 March.

The tournament finals of the ‘2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships’ will be available to watch for free worldwide at IMMAF.TV on 8 March from 10AM (UTC+10), with an estimated 6 hours run time.

Star names representing Australia include women’s strawweight contender, Olivia Ukmar (pictured), who won Australia’s first World Silver medal in MMA at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships, and Abdul Mahdawi, who returns to the Oceania Championships as a former silver medallist.

Latest international male talent to sign up includes past World and European Gold medallist, Ireland’s Ryan Spillane (heavyweight) and Sweden’s World Gold medallist Bezhan Mahmudi (atomweight). Female additions include Ukraine’s 2018 World Gold medallist Daria Samchik, Sweden’s two-time World Silver medallist Nina Back (strawweight) and World Gold medallist Bianca Antman (flyweight), Finland’s 2018 IMMAF Performance of the Year winner Jenni Kivioja (lightweight) and 2018 European Gold medallist Jenna Horto (strawweight) and Poland’s World Gold medallist Magdalena Czaban (atomweight).

They join IMMAF gold medallists that include New Zealand’s women’s lightweight world champion Michelle Montague, Bahrain’s Ramazan Gitinov (welterweight) and Murtaza Talha Ali (light-heavyweight), plus the UK prodigy Muhammad Mokaev (men’s bantamweight).

IMMAF’s Continental Championships bring world class talent to the doorstep of regional National Teams on each continent, to boost the opportunity for elite level competition and local talent development. Ranking points accrued in each Championships contribute to an athlete and National Team’s standing in the World Amateur MMA Rankings and can gain them priority entry and seeding opportunities in the flagship, end-of-year IMMAF World Championships

See the full list of athletes listed by National Team below

2020 IMMAF OCEANIA OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: ATHLETES LISTED BY NATIONAL TEAM

AUSTRALIA
Courtney Gray Women’s Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)
Olivia Ukmar Women’s Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Troy Fumo Men’s Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Angelica Silva Women’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Jesse Wenzlick Women’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Kiera-Lee Botfield Women’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Adam Assuncao Men’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
taj fewquandie Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Colby Thicknesse Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Abdul Mahdawi Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Tye Wall Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Andy Le Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Jordan Thomas Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Kim Luk Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Lachlan Stitt Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Aidan Nowfel Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Corey Reeves Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Cash Douglas Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Samuel Marles Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Omer Suliman Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Loni Doyle Filimoehala Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Patrick Best Men’s Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Auryn Parmley Men’s Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Dane Alchin Men’s Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)

BAHRAIN
Mohammed Almuamari Men’s Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Ebrahim Darwish Men’s Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Abdulla Alyaqoob Men’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Abdulla Mubarak Men’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Ali Yaqoob Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Mohamed Alghool Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Zubair Gadzhiev Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Ramazan Gitinov Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Yousif Sayyar Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Murtaza Talha Ali Men’s Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)

CANADA
Justin Grey Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)

CZECH REPUBLIC
Tiep Cai Xuan Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Lukáš Piffko Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)

FINLAND
Jenna Horto Women’s Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Jenni Kivioja Women’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)

FRANCE
Cherfi Adil Men’s Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)

FRENCH POLYNESIA
Keoni TEROROTUA Men’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Aremiti TINIRAU Men’s Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)
Michael LISAN Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Hiro Lemaire Men’s Super Heavyweight 300 kg (661 lbs)

INDIA
Vaibhav Vaman Shetty Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)

IRELAND
Ryan Spillane Men’s Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)

POLAND
Magdalena Czaban Women’s Jr. Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)

NEW ZEALAND
Anne Wilson Women’s Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Amanda Cairney Women’s Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)
Jess Bradley Women’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Rosemarie McAuslin Women’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Levi Hawkes Men’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Clarke Jarrett Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Michelle Montague Women’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Denzil Brokken Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)
Oliver Schmid Men’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Mel Webster Women’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Kelsey Schroder Women’s Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)
Hakaraia Wilson Men’s Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)
Ezekiel Wetere Men’s Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Tony Hemopo Men’s Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Alexander Lutu Men’s Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)
Corey Barrett Men’s Super Heavyweight 300 kg (661 lbs)

SWEDEN
Bezhan Mahmudi Women’s Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)
Nina Back Women’s Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)
Bianca Antman Women’s Flyweight 56.7 kg (125 lbs)

UKRAINE
Daria Samchik Women’s Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)

UNITED KINGDOM
Muhammad Mokaev Men’s Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)
Dylan Thompson Men’s Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)

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Russian MMA Champion Darya Nyrkova Named Person of the Year in Home City https://immaf.org/2020/02/24/russian-mma-champion-darya-nyrkova-named-person-of-the-year-in-home-city/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 18:35:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32304

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IMMAF World Championships veteran Darya Nyrkova has been named “Person of the Year” in her home city of Kiselevsk, Russia, for physical culture achievements.

Nyrkova represented the Russian national team at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships. She was eliminated at the quarter-final stage after going the distance in a grueling bout against no.1 ranked atomweight, Ayan Tursyn of Kazakhstan.

In 2019 the 28-year-old champion of multiple martial arts was among the first women to ever compete at the Russian MMA Union’s National Amateur Championships where she captured the atomweight title with a trio of wins over national rivals.

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Athlete Registration Opens for the 2020 IMMAF Pan Am Open Championships https://immaf.org/2020/02/24/%ef%bb%bfathlete-registration-opens-for-the-immaf-pan-american-open-championships/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 15:12:03 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32290

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– PLAYA DEL CARMEN – CANCUN, MEXICO
– 21 – 23 MAY

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is pleased to announce its 2020 IMMAF Pan American Open Championships, as registration opens for Athletes and National Teams today. The three-day MMA tournament will take place in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico from 21 – 23 May (with athlete check-in and the Tournament Draw on 20 May). Those wishing to compete should contact their National Federation for information.

The Playa Del Carmen is a coastal resort town along Mexico’s Caribbean shoreline, neighbouring the more well-known holiday destination of Cancun. It is renowned for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs.

Hosted by FAMMEJL (the Mexican Federation of Mixed Martial Arts) at the BlueBay Grand Esmeralda hotel, the nations Continental Championship provides opportunity for Pan American athletes to experience international level competition close to home soil.

IMMAF’s Pan American member nations include Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States of America and Venezuela.

The United States has produced notable World Champions that include Jose Torres, Will Starks, Benjamin Bennett, Quitin Thomas and LaNeisha Vinson; while Team Canada has also enjoyed top level success with athletes that include Alexander Martinez and more recently, 2019 junior champion, Jett Grande. Michele Oliveira, Carlos Veras and Amanda Ribas have triumphed with Gold for Brazil; and host nation, Mexico has seen its women, in particular, scoop up World medals through Nadia Vera and Daniela Hernandez.

As an Open Championships, elite amateurs from around the World are welcomed to enter. Participation in IMMAF Continental Championships accrues ranking points for athletes and teams in the World Amateur MMA Rankings, with top performing athletes seeded for the end-of-year IMMAF World Championships.

FAMMEJL President, Raul Salas, said:

“We are very happy to be the host of this great event and will work to make your visit a fantastic and comfortable experience on the beautiful beaches of Cancun. MMA unites speakers of different languages, nations and will. War in the ring – Peace on earth.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“The Americas are the home to contemporary Unified Rules MMA and a hotbed of talent, from which we can expect to see new IMMAF stars emerge. The Pan Ams provide a fantastic opportunity for international athletes to test their skills, most particularly against college wrestlers and advanced BJJ practitioners. We expect the Pan Ams to increasingly grow in stature year on year and fast develop into one of IMMAF’s Tier 1 events: This Championships therefore offers a great opportunity for sponsors to engage early for preferential partnership deals and to become a part of the development of elite amateur and grass roots MMA across Pan America.”

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Aussie Courtney Gray Stands Between Clash of Champions at 2020 Oceania Open https://immaf.org/2020/02/24/aussie-courtney-gray-stands-between-clash-of-champions-at-2020-oceania-open/ Mon, 24 Feb 2020 13:27:04 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32285

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Australia’s Courtney Gray (pictured above, center) has the opportunity to announce herself as a premier amateur talent next month as the 24-year-old stands between a battle of reigning world champions in the atomweight division of the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships.

The event takes place from 6 – 8 March at the Tallebudegra Leisure Center on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Making her debut on the international IMMAF platform, Gray enters the 105lb (47.6kg) bracket of the Oceania Open alongside Sweden’s reigning 2019 world champion Bezhan Mahmudi (pictured, left) plus 2019 junior world champion and senior European Open gold medalist Magdalena Czaban (pictured, right) of Poland.

After winning the world title at last year’s IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain, 25-year-old Mahmudi shot to second place in the atomweight world rankings. Meanwhile Czaban, age 20, is the number-one ranked junior atomweight contender following triumph at the world championships for under 21s. The Polish standout is also ranked 3rd in the senior division (18+) after claiming the 2019 European Open title in Rome.

Mahmudi vs. Czaban would be a significant bout between two decorated leaders of the division. Their participation lends to what is set to be the biggest Oceania Open to date, welcoming more international champions and top ranked standouts than ever before, particularly in the women’s divisions.

However, the right to face Mahmudi must first be decided in the semi-final collision of Czaban vs. Gray as the tournament draw grants a bye to the highest ranked contender. Standing between two world champions, Gray is the darkhorse of what is a major atomweight mini series and victory against one or even both of her top flight rivals would launch the Aussie to international prominence as one to watch heading into the 2020 World Championships.

For more information and tickets, click HERE.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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IMMAF Visit French Boxing Federation In Paris https://immaf.org/2020/02/20/immaf-visit-french-boxing-federation-in-paris/ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 13:03:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=39892

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A delegation from the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), headed by President Kerrith Brown, visited the headquarters of the French Boxing Federation (FF Boxe) in Paris this week.

The French Sports’ Ministry recently chose the FF Boxe as their preferred choice to run the sport of MMA in France. They will set up and manage the necessary administrative, competition and membership structures via an internal MMA specialist unit, until an independent MMA federation is ready to go it alone.

The IMMAF delegation, which also included IMMAF CEO Densign White and IMMAF CSO Nicolas Davies, met Patrick Wincke, the National Technical Director of FF Boxe, Lionel Brezephin, Technical Officer and Liaison Officer for MMA as well as Arnaud Romera, President of the National Pro Boxing League (LNBP).

The FF Boxe are already hard at work building an administrative framework for MMA in France and will begin a wide consultation process, with a series of workshops to bring together the MMA community being planned over the next 6 months. It is expected that elections for the MMA Committee within the FF Boxe will take place in September.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“We are very impressed with the positive attitude of FF Boxe. They are reaching out to France’s MMA community and building something that is both pragmatic and sustainable. The FF Boxe has the know-how, existing structures and human resources to help MMA develop in France. We are going to work closely with them, establishing regular communications and providing any support or guidance that is required.”

Patrick Wincke said:

“It was a pleasure to welcome IMMAF to our HQ in Paris, and to tell them more about our plans and challenges. As the World Governing Body for amateur MMA, IMMAF has well established frameworks for governance, technical rules, membership, educational pathways and competition management systems and are happy to share their knowledge with us. We are looking forward to building a strong working relationship.”

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Dan Henderson to Host 2020 U.S. Youth MMA National Championships https://immaf.org/2020/02/18/dan-henderson-to-host-2020-u-s-youth-mma-national-championships/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:11:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32265

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The USA are the defending no.1 ranked nation in the IMMAF youth world rankings, following the inaugural IMMAF World Championships in 2019 when Team USA took home 28 medals including 16 golds.

As the national teams looks to continue its momentum, the USFL has announced its 2020 Youth MMA National Championships, taking place April 25-26 and with assistance from UFC Hall of Fame member Dan Henderson. The MMA legend will host the event at Dan Henderson’s Athletic Training Center in Temecula, California.

The USFL Nationals are open to athletes between ages 8 and 17. Athletes between the ages of 12 and 17 will be selected to compete at the 2020 IMMAF Youth World Championships, tentatively scheduled for August 6-8 in Rome, Italy.

Athletes who are 17-years-old on April 25 but turn 18 prior to August 6 may participate in the U.S. National Championships but will not be eligible to compete in the IMMAF World Championships.

“We must continue to drive forward and acknowledge that last year’s accomplishment guarantees nothing without participation and hard work by coaches and athletes at the local level,” USFL President Jon Frank said. “I’m looking forward to a great national championship where the top talent in the U.S. come together to sharpen each other’s tools.”

Registration deadline for the USFL Nationals is April 18, 2020. All participants must have an active USFL license to participate. Visit FightLeague.org for further information.

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MMA Academic Coaching Qualification Launches in Northern Ireland https://immaf.org/2020/02/17/mma-academic-coaching-qualification-launches-in-northern-ireland/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 14:43:56 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32251

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A fully accredited college MMA Coaching Award has been launched in Northern Ireland by IMMAF Coaching Committee member, Danny Corr, in cooperation with Kingsbridge Training Academy. The Open College Network course is the first of its kind as an OCN Credit For Learning Level 3 Academic Qualification, available in Ireland and recognised across the United Kingdom. The course is fully aligned with IMMAF Coaching Qualification Level 1 (i.e. Club Coach level).

The comprehensive course is aimed at providing MMA Coaches with a structured processes and principles of ethical MMA coaching. The course offers coaches and potential coaches the tools to acquire a working knowledge of all aspects of becoming a recognised MMA coach and teach to a uniform, certified structure as required by government bodies and insurance providers.

This major development  means that MMA coaches in the region will now have access to recognised academic institution that provides nationally recognised certification. The qualification not only ensures a robust level of training for delegates, including aspects such as Safeguarding and MMA-specific First Aid, but also provides each candidate with the support and structure for its implementation in their clubs and coaching.

IMMAF Director of Development Andrew Moshanovsaid:

“ There are nations where the sport of MMA is recognised and regulated by government sports authorities. However most of these are Eastern European countries, where sport has historically been regulated by the state. The establishment of this course is a remarkable achievement on the coach education front by IMMAF’s National Federation in Northern Ireland, as this is the first ever time that the sport of MMA has been on the radar of its national educational authority and within the national qualification framework in the UK.”

The first course will begin in May 2020, if you wish to register a place please follow the links below, or for more detail contact Danny Corr –
b4-mma@ntlworld.com

COURSE INFORMATION:

Package 1: https://kingsbridgetrainingacademy.com/training-courses/level-3-award-in-mixed-martial-arts-mma-coaching-package-1/

  • Coaching Practice and principles: Saturday 2 May 2020.
  • Safeguarding Children within Mixed Martial Arts: Saturday 6 June 2020.
  • MMA Sports Trauma Course Essential First Aid for Coaches: Saturday 4 July.

Package 2: https://kingsbridgetrainingacademy.com/training-courses/level-3-award-in-mixed-martial-arts-mma-coaching-package-2/

  • Coaching Practice and principles: Saturday 2 May 2020.
  • Safeguarding Children within Mixed Martial Arts: Saturday 6 June 2020.
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Jenni Kivioja Steps Up to Test World Lightweight Champ Michelle Montague https://immaf.org/2020/02/17/jenni-kivioja-steps-up-to-test-world-lightweight-champ-michelle-montague/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 11:01:21 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32242

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Finland’s Jenni Kivioja could be set to provide the challenge that IMMAF world champion Michelle Montague is searching for in 2020.

A perennial top contender in the IMMAF women’s featherweight (145lb) division, the Team Finland mainstay has taken on the challenge to enter the 155lb lightweight bracket of the 2020 Oceania Open in Australia.

New Zealand’s Montague remains undefeated as an amateur mixed martial artist. The 26-year-old grappling powerhouse currently reigns as the IMMAF Oceania Open champion and World Championships gold medalist while also aiming to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a freestyle wrestler.

2019 World Championships Final: Montague vs. Webster

Despite triumphing over opponents from Russia and Sweden at the 2019 World Championships, Montague was forced to battle New Zealand team mate Mel Webster for a second time as the Kiwi duo would both advance to the gold medal decider. In 2020 the world champion is on the hunt for new international rivals and the proven skill set of Kivioja will certainly up the ante for a hugely compelling 4-woman tournament.

Kivioja is a former silver medalist of the IMMAF World and European Open championships and won the 2018 “Performance of the Year” award for her devastating head-kick KO at the European Open in Bucharest, Romania – watch below in the 2018’s Performance of the Year nominees.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBN8jnWfe-k&t=6s

Should they collide, Montague vs. Kivioja would serve as one of the most insightful bouts of the year. Kivioja may look back to her experience in the 2018 World Championships finals against Julia Dorny, in which Kivioja’s striking kept her rival at bay and unable to secure an early takedown. While Dorny eventually secured a dominant position on the ground and captured the world title via an arm-bar in the second round, the German standout presented similar threats to that of Montague with both physical strength and a strong grappling pedigree. Montague’s overwhelming prowess on the ground has to date looked unstoppable, but compared with her new rival’s trademark movement and precision striking, a focused and tactical approach from Kivioja would embody many of the characteristics that could prove testing for Montague while standing.

The 2020 Oceania Open women’s lightweight divisions will feature Michelle Montague (defending champion), Mel Webster, Jenni Kivioja and newcomer Kelsey Schroder who could make a significant impact on her IMMAF platform debut.

The 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships take place from 6- 8 March at the Tallebudegra Leisure Center on Australia’s Gold Coast.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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IMMAF Signs With Fighting Spirit In Media Rights Deal https://immaf.org/2020/02/17/immaf-signs-with-fighting-spirit-in-media-rights-deal/ Mon, 17 Feb 2020 08:19:06 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32246

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has signed a media rights agreement with Fighting Spirit for the worldwide sales of its broadcast programming.

IMMAF is the only legitimate global governing body for amateur MMA, working for Olympic recognition. With 100 nations as members and National Olympic Committee recognition in around 40 countries, IMMAF has a seven-year track record of organising nations MMA Championship tournaments with a rich back catalogue of programme material. IMMAF’s recent World Championships in 2019 featured over 400 matches over 5 days, while its Continental and World events continue to grow exponentially year-on-year.

Fighting Spirit is the leading agency of combat sports around the globe. Specialised both in delayed and live distribution, Fighting Spirit is a well-known established company in the field of international TV distribution.  

IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, said:

“IMMAF is pleased to be signing with Fighting Spirit. Our MMA platform is growing in size, depth of talent and brand stature and ours is a young sport with high engagement among the millennial and Z generations. In 2020, we have committed to offering a calendar of broadcast material, with television packages available for our Asian Open Championships, European Open Championships, Under-18s Youth World Championships and World Championships. We invite broadcasters to benefit from showcasing world-class amateur mixed martial arts action from IMMAF.”

Fighting Spirit CEO, Laurent Pourrut, said:

“Fighting Spirit is honoured to work with IMMAF. Our strategy will be to give the best worldwide exposure to IMMAF but also to see that IMMAF co-exists with professional promotions in terms of its TV exposure. Fighting Spirit distributes well-established MMA brands such as Professional Fighters League (PFL) and M-1. There are a lot of synergies.”

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Major Additions to Oceania Open Women's Divisions https://immaf.org/2020/02/13/major-additions-to-oceania-open-womens-divisions/ Thu, 13 Feb 2020 13:17:52 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32221

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The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is hugely excited for what will be the most compelling Oceania Open to date when the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships take place from 6- 8 March
at the Tallebudegra Leisure Center on Australia’s Gold Coast.

In conjunction with IMMAF and hosts, the Australian MMA Federation (IMMAFA), the event is set to welcome its greatest influx to date of elite level amateur standouts, particularly in the women’s divisions where several of the world’s leading contenders will battle for gold medals at atomweight, strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight and lightweight.

The diverse lineup of premier global talent bound for Australia will feature a total of 4 current world champions, 1 former world champion, 11 international medal winners and 10 top prospects ranked in the top-5 of their division. Following the big outcomes of 2019, this collision course between some of the biggest names in women’s amateur MMA will serve up a must-see of head-to-head bouts with big implications for the year to come.

Among those set to compete, top international standouts include:

Michelle Montague (New Zealand, lightweight):

– No.1 ranked lightweight
– 2019 World champion
– 2019 Oceania Open champion

Mel Webster (New Zealand, lightweight):

– No.2 ranked lightweight
– 2019 World silver medalist

Jenni Kivioja (Finland, lightweight):

– No.4 ranked featherweight
– 2019 World bronze medalist
– 2018 World silver medalist
– 2018 European Open silver medalist
– 2018 Performance of the Year winner

Bianca Antman (Sweden, flyweight):

– No.2 ranked flyweight
– 2019 World Champion

Anne Wilson (New Zealand, flyweight):

– No.5 ranked flyweight
– 2018 Oceania Open champion

Daria Samchik (Ukraine, strawweight):

– No.5 ranked strawweight
– 2018 World Champion
– 2017 European Open champion
– 2019 World bronze medalist

Nina Back (Sweden, strawweight):

– No.2 ranked strawweight
– 2018 World silver medalist
– 2019 European Open silver medalist
– 2018 European Open silver medalist

Olivia Ukmar (Australia, strawweight):

– No.6 ranked strawweight
– 2019 World silver medalist

Jenna Horto (Finland, strawweight):

– No.5 ranked atomweight
– 2018 European Open champion
– 2018 World bronze medalist

Bezhan Mahmudi (Sweden, atomweight):

– No.2 ranked atomweight
– 2019 World champion

Magdalena Czaban (Poland, atomweight):

– No.3 ranked atomweight (senior)
– No.1 ranked atomweight (junior)
– 2019 European Open champion (senior)
– 2019 World champion (junior)


By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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Tickets on Sale: 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships https://immaf.org/2020/02/11/tickets-on-sale-2020-immaf-oceania-open-championships/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 14:30:11 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32215 Watch world-class MMA athletes from around the world compete on the Gold Coast, as the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation brings its three-day, nation vs nation tournament to Australia from 6 to 8 March with the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships. Highlights include watching the Australian National Team go toe-to-toe against international World Champions from […]

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6–8 March 2020

Gold Coast, Australia

Buy Tickets and donate to the Australian Bushfire Appeal

Watch world-class MMA athletes from around the world compete on the Gold Coast, as the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation brings its three-day, nation vs nation tournament to Australia from 6 to 8 March with the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships.

Highlights include watching the Australian National Team go toe-to-toe against international World Champions from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Bahrain, amongst talent from across 13 nations. Watch rising MMA stars here first; New Zealand’s World Lightweight Champion and Olympic (wrestling) hopeful, Michelle Montague, and world #1 ranked junior amateur, Muhammed Mokaev (England). Opponents are selected randomly by tournament draw across male and female weight divisions, meaning competitors only learn who they will face the night before each bout, raising the stakes for each side!

Support the Australian bushfire crisis appeal

$10 AUD from every 3-day ticket sold (at $32.74) will be donatedto support emergency work in wake of the Australian bushfires crisis, in which 10 million hectares of land has been catastrophically destroyed. Your donation will contribute to emergency funds to care for injured wildlife, help restore homes for koalas and other wildlife and support the response, recovery and restoration teams.

Buy tickets and donate to the Bushfires Appeal here: https://bit.ly/2Sx7yf4

Schedule information

Hosted by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (IMMAFA), matches will commence at 10:00 hrs (local time) daily at the Tallebudegra Leisure Center, Palm Beach North, with a minimum run time of 4 hours. The Championships Finals and medals ceremonies will take place on Sunday 8 March.

For international visitors, Friends & Family Hospitality Packages are available. Contact klimenko@immaf.org for information.

Follow @IMMAFed on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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IMMAF Medalist Santoro Claims First Pro MMA Title in The UK https://immaf.org/2020/02/10/immaf-medalist-santoro-claims-first-pro-mma-title-in-the-uk/ Mon, 10 Feb 2020 17:22:49 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32204 As a veteran medalist of the IMMAF platform, Giacomo Santoro (pictured, at the 2018 IMMAF European Open) is the latest European standout to win a domestic MMA title in the UK. The charismatic 24-year-old fighter kicked off his professional career on the evening of February 8 with a rear-naked-choke submission triumph that saw him claim […]

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As a veteran medalist of the IMMAF platform, Giacomo Santoro (pictured, at the 2018 IMMAF European Open) is the latest European standout to win a domestic MMA title in the UK.

The charismatic 24-year-old fighter kicked off his professional career on the evening of February 8 with a rear-naked-choke submission triumph that saw him claim the Fusion Fighting Championships’ pro flyweight title. Santoro bested Elliot Hoye, an English up-and-comer of notable experience.

In 2017 and 2018 Santoro qualified for the Italian amateur MMA team via the national circuit under FIGMMA, Italy’s MMA regulatory body. He represented Italy at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships where he reached the quarter-final stage in Bahrain. In 2018 he earned the men’s flyweight silver medal at the IMMAF European Open Championships in Bucharest.

Santoro is the latest in a trend of European talent and veterans of the international IMMAF platform, finding success within the UK’s regional promotions.

Santoro follows the likes of former IMMAF world champion and multi-time European gold medalists, Alexandra Toncheva, showcasing Bulgarian MMA talent in Ireland and the UK, plus Robin Roos, Tobias Harila and Andreas Gustafson Berg, the prominent Swedish trio now making a name for themselves as professionals.

Who will be the next international talent to test themselves on the busy UK MMA circuit?

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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What’s Next for MMA in France? https://immaf.org/2020/02/09/whats-next-for-mma-in-france/ Sun, 09 Feb 2020 19:16:03 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32193 On Friday 7 February, the Ministry of Sport officially announced that MMA will be regulated in France under the auspices of the French Boxing Federation. The announcement was made by Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu, at a dedicated press conference. [Watch press announcement video via Boxe Mag – French Language] The Minister formalised the French Boxing […]

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On Friday 7 February, the Ministry of Sport officially announced that MMA will be regulated in France under the auspices of the French Boxing Federation. The announcement was made by Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu, at a dedicated press conference. [Watch press announcement video via Boxe Mag – French Language]

The Minister formalised the French Boxing Federation as host for the development of MMA until December 31, 2020. She also confirmed that MMA is now recognised in France and that professional competitions could be organised.

“This is an anticipated day for lovers of MMA,” said Maracineanu. “Their passion is recognised today. I took the time to discover this sport that I did not know. If I made this choice, it is for its recognition. It was not easy and I commend all the federations that have expressed interest.”

She stated that the challenge for the FFB “will be to open up, listen and involve as many people as possible.”

So, what next for MMA in France? See below for the French Boxing Federation’s agenda for the coming months:

February 2020: An official delegation of MMA’s representatives will meet with the Boxing Federation

Mid-February 2020: Workshop meeting with the Ministry of Sports and the Director of Sports

End of February 2020: Presentation meeting for the participants in the consultation work;

March 2020: “Assises du MMA” (general presentation with the participation of MMA representatives, federations, athletes)

End of March 2020: Opening of the application process for participants in MMA working groups;

April 2020: Constitution to be formed for the MMA working groups

May 2020: Finalisation of technical and safety rules

6 June 2020: General Assembly of the French Boxing Federation and validation of the statutes, regulations and sports codes for MMA;

September 2020: Possible launch of club affiliations and MMA licenses for practitioners.

Pictured: Chaieb Rayan scores a win for France over America’s Kevin Arnold at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain

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IMMAF Board Approves 2020 Action Plans & Welcomes Uzbekistan as New Member https://immaf.org/2020/02/09/immaf-boards-approves-2020-action-plans-welcomes-uzbekistan-as-new-member/ Sun, 09 Feb 2020 18:22:44 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32184 The Board of Directors of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) met on 7/8 February in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, to formulate policy and approve action plans for 2020. The IMMAF Directors agreed to step up efforts to gain official recognition from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) […]

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The Board of Directors of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) met on 7/8 February in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, to formulate policy and approve action plans for 2020.

The IMMAF Directors agreed to step up efforts to gain official recognition from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Global Association of International Sports Federation (GAISF) while continuing to strengthen IMMAF’s operational capacity.

The membership of IMMAF Commissions was approved, as was a new IT platform designed to ensure efficiency of communication. In addition, a 2020 Action Plan for each team was approved.

IMMAF President with Uzbekistan federation VP Sherzod Toshmatov

IMMAF was also pleased to welcome a new member from Uzbekistan (with Observation status).

The formation of Area commissions for Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and Americas were also approved and appropriately, a Central Asian commission, made up of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, was also launched in Nur-Sultan.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“The creation of these Area and Regional Commissions, under the IMMAF umbrella, will allow our policies and values to develop more quickly at local level, where the impact on the development of amateur MMA will be greatest.”

The Board also approved a revamp of the IMMAF brand, website and a new IT strategy,the latter of which will be managed by a new consultant Tobias Sahlin.

Densign White, IMMAF CEO said:

“We have had a very productive couple of days of meeting, and the Board has set out clear project guidelines for our teams to activate and deliver. We will be focusing on building an efficient commercial unit to untap the potential of IMMAF to generate significant revenues.

IMMAF’s Continental Championships will kick off with the Oceania Open at the Gold Coast from 6-8 March, while registration is now possible for the IMMAF Africa Open Championships in Johannesburg, South Africa from April 15-18th.

The Asian Open will be taking place at the state of the art Palace of Combat and Martial Arts in Nur-Sultan in June.

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French Sports Ministry Announces Official Decision for MMA to be Housed within Boxing – MMA Governing Bodies Respond https://immaf.org/2020/02/07/french-ministry-decision-for-mma-to-be-housed-within-french-boxing-mma-governing-bodies-respond/ Fri, 07 Feb 2020 14:09:18 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32171 [London. 7 February 2020] The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and the Comité Français de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA) welcome today’s official announcement by the French Ministry of Sport that MMA is to be legalised in France under the auspices of the French Boxing Federation. IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented: “The official announcement is […]

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[London. 7 February 2020] The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and the Comité Français de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA) welcome today’s official announcement by the French Ministry of Sport that MMA is to be legalised in France under the auspices of the French Boxing Federation.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:

“The official announcement is a crucial step on the path to creating a dynamic MMA structure in France. IMMAF will continue to supply constructive support and advice to all the MMA stakeholders.” 

IMMAF Board Director and CFMMA Co-President, Bertrand Amoussou said:

 “After many years of commitment and hard work by MMA activists in France, it is a major milestone that the French Sport Ministry has recognised our sport. We are now looking forward to working hard, and in a unified way, to ensure that the structures set up to govern MMA work as well as possible.”

The decision concludes a tender launched by the Ministry of Sports in 2019 to decide under which federation the sport’s governance would be developed to enable the legalisation of MMA in France. In France, by law, all sports must be governed within the structures of a government recognised federation and meet specific administrative criteria over a number of years. The interim housing of MMA within a comparative sport’s structures has allowed the Minister of Sport to fast-track the legalisation and regulation of MMA, while MMA’s stake holding organisations within the country are still in a developmental phase.

Main image: Antony Fresno Eyssette wins a match for France in the 2019 IMMAF World Championships

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IMMAF Africa Open Championships Returns to South Africa for 2020 https://immaf.org/2020/02/05/immaf-africa-open-championships-returns-to-south-africa-for-2020/ Wed, 05 Feb 2020 10:44:05 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32161 Registration opens for athletes today The International MMA Federation announces the return of its Africa Open Championships to Johannesburg, South Africa, as registration opens today to MMA’s elite amateurs from around the globe. Those wishing to compete should contact their National Federation for information. Hosted by MMASA (Mixed Martial Arts South Africa), IMMAF’s 3-day, nation vs […]

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Registration opens for athletes today

The International MMA Federation announces the return of its Africa Open Championships to Johannesburg, South Africa, as registration opens today to MMA’s elite amateurs from around the globe. Those wishing to compete should contact their National Federation for information.

Hosted by MMASA (Mixed Martial Arts South Africa), IMMAF’s 3-day, nation vs nation tournament will take place this year at the new EFC Performance Institute from 15 – 18 April 2020, with the Tournament Draw on 14 April. The Championships will be available to watch at IMMAF.TV and the programming schedule will be published shortly.

Africa broadened its footprint on the international mixed martial arts platform in 2019, with increased representation at the IMMAF World Championships from Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa and Ghana. Notably, Cameroon’s Rengou Mefire Simplice earned a world bronze medal for his country. South Africa currently stands at #9 in the National Team Rankings while Cameroon has climbed to #16.

New African nations to the IMMAF fold, last year, included Algeria, Nigeria, Guinea, Ghana and Morocco, while November saw the formation of an IMMAF Committee for Africa.

Open to talent from around the world, IMMAF’s Continental Championships aim to foster regional sport development and provide international competition opportunities for local athletes by bringing it to their doorstep.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“The 2020 Africa Open is expected to receive a boost from the spike in regional confidence following growth in 2019. The move of location of the Africa Championships is illustrative of the event’s rising prestige. Africa athletes are demonstrating themselves to be a rising talent force and the competition provides an excellent proving ground for athletes looking to build experience, and gain medals opportunities and ranking points in preparation for the end-of-year World Championships.”

IMMAF’s Director for Africa, Raymond Phillips, said:

“We are proud to be hosting the fifth annual IMMAF Africa Open in South Africa. It is exciting to see the growth in MMA on the Africa continent as IMMAF continues to grow at a magnificent tempo towards our Olympic goal. We look forward to welcoming IMMAF affiliated teams from around the world. Over the past 5 years, MMASA has had the honour to host teams from Sweden, India, Cameroon, Australia, France, Czech Republic, Bahrain, Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Spain, Mauritius and Lebanon, for whom we have worked to provide unparalleled hospitality: Alongside the great sporting opportunities presented, we offer unique tourist excursions to make up a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience for visitors. We look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful country of South Africa!”

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Australia’s MMA Prospects Excited to Face World’s Best at Oceania Open https://immaf.org/2020/01/30/australias-mma-prospects-excited-to-face-worlds-best-at-oceania-open/ Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:32:04 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32149 In five weeks time Australia’s amateur MMA prospects will be taking on some of the world’s very best at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships on the Gold Coast. This year the Oceania Open is set to enjoy an added influx of world champion talent with four reigning gold medalists of the IMMAF World Championships […]

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In five weeks time Australia’s amateur MMA prospects will be taking on some of the world’s very best at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships on the Gold Coast.

This year the Oceania Open is set to enjoy an added influx of world champion talent with four reigning gold medalists of the IMMAF World Championships looking to claim the continental title, including New Zealand’s women’s lightweight world champion Michelle Montague, Bahrain’s Ramazan Gitinov (welterweight) and Murtaza Talha Ali (light-heavyweight), plus the renown UK prodigy Muhammad Mokaev (men’s bantamweight).

Australia currently occupies 7th place in the senior team world rankings and the Australian MMA Federation has made clear its statement of intent for success as the host nation, registering a squad of 27 athletes to take on the likes of Bahrain’s national team who lead the world rankings. Pro MMA veteran Alan Philpott, who serves as one Australia’s team coaches, says that the Aussie standouts are excited to be kicking off the year against the best in the world.

“Any of the guys on the ‘Aus’ team that I have trained or spoken to are excited to be facing the tough opposition,” Philpott told IMMAF.org. “We are expecting tough grinding fights. Everyone is pushing hard and focusing purely on themselves which I believe will play a big part in their performances.”

Philpott relocated to Australia two years ago from Northern Ireland and is a vastly experienced veteran whose professional career dates back to 2011. A seven-man coaching staff will be in the corner of Australia’s athletes. Alongside Philpott will be Joel Thompson, Daniel Ung, Ryan Dunstan, Craig Jehn, Ed Bavelock and Renato Subotic.

Philpott experienced his first IMMAF event last year at the 2019 World Championships in Bahrain and believes the exciting and developing MMA scene within Australia has plenty to give. “I had a really good time,” he commented. “Being there among some of the best coaches in the world and seeing how well everyone got on together was good to see. I thought it was very well organised and as an amateur I would have loved to of had this opportunity . I think IMMAF tournaments are the way forward and before going professional this is the road that should be took.

“I have only been in Australia and part of the MMA scene for around 2 years now and in that time I’ve seen massive growth with the likes of Robert Whittaker, Alex Volkanovski , Martin Nguyen all being world champions. You have the guys from Melbourne all making waves and then the Mohktarian brothers with Nadia Kassem and Alex Gorgees and the other top fighters all making a name for themselves and starting to open doors for further athletes. Aussie MMA is on the rise and it’s only going to get better, I truly believe.”

The 2020 Oceania Open Championships take place from 6-8 March at the Gold Coast Recreation Centre, Palm Beach. Athletes set to represent the nation at the 2020 Oceania Open include:

Loni Doyle Filimoehala: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)  
Patrick Best: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)                  
Dane Alchin: Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)                       
Olivia Ukmar: Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)                        
Jesse Wenzlick: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)                
Troy Fumo: Strawweight 52.2 kg (115 lbs)                            
Corey Reeves: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)                    
Jordan Thomas: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)     
Abdul Mahdawi: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)                              
Courtney Gray: Atomweight 47.6 kg (105 lbs)                     
Kim Luk: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)    
Adam Assuncao: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)              
Lachlan Stitt: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)                       
Andy Le: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)    
Samuel Marles: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs) 
Auryn Parmley: Light Heavyweight 93 kg (205 lbs)
Thomas Cooper: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)                               
Colby Thicknesse: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)           
James Sargison: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)                                 
Aidan Nowfel: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)                    
Omer Suliman: Middleweight 83.9 kg (185 lbs)                   
Tye Wall: Lightweight 70.3 kg (155 lbs)   
Kiera-Lee Botfield: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)                          
Cash Douglas: Welterweight 77.1 kg (170 lbs)                     
Angelica Silva: Bantamweight 61.2 kg (135 lbs)                   
Tala Peau: Heavyweight 120.2 kg (265 lbs)           
Taj Fewquandie: Featherweight 65.8 kg (145 lbs)

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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IMMAF Creates first Regional Committee in Africa https://immaf.org/2020/01/28/immaf-creates-first-regional-committee-in-africa-2/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 12:20:02 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32141 Main picture: Hocine Mesboua (Algeria), IMMAF Director Wissam Abi Nader, Africa Union Chairman Avinash (Mauritius), IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and IMMAF Africa Director, Raymond Phillips at formation meeting in Bahrain, November 2019. The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is proud to announce the creation of its first Area Committee in Africa. The African Committee […]

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Main picture: Hocine Mesboua (Algeria), IMMAF Director Wissam Abi Nader, Africa Union Chairman Avinash (Mauritius), IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and IMMAF Africa Director, Raymond Phillips at formation meeting in Bahrain, November 2019.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is proud to announce the creation of its first Area Committee in Africa.

Africa Federations leaders at the 2019 Amateur MMA Awards

The African Committee is will be the first of a global network of representative bodies to help deliver IMMAF strategy and goals more effectively at national level.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“This is a key strategic development for IMMAF and proves that our organisation has reached a mature stage of its development. Our African Committee, made up of representatives from IMMAF African member federations, under the supervision of IMMAF Africa Director Mr Raymond Phillips and Avinash Ramtohul as Chairperson, will work with us to develop the sport in that continent. The local needs and priorities of MMA are best understood by those on the ground. IMMAF will support each new Committee as they develop their own structures and plans.”

Amongst the priorities of IMMAF’s Africa Committee will be:

– To promote Amateur MMA in Africa in a way that benefits African IMMAF member federations
– To assist in the development of training methodology and pathways for coaching and officials’ education
– To provide administrative and communication support to members
– To support national efforts to gain recognition of Sport Ministries and National Olympic Committees
– To organise African events and competitions
– To provide an ethical framework of good governance and counter any methods and practices that go against IMMAF standards and guidelines

The full statutes of the African Committee are now being finalised as is the entire Leadership team, communication platforms and new logo.

“I am very excited to see a shared vision and goals for the development of our sport in Africa,” said Kerrith Brown. “The creation of our first Area Committee is just the start. IMMAF is looking forward to rolling out our programme around the world in 2020.

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2020 Swedish Amateur MMA Finals: Results and Video https://immaf.org/2020/01/27/32133-2/ Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:36:18 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32133 The 2020 Swedish Amateur MMA National Championships concluded this past weekend with finals taking place on January 26 in the city of Gothenburg. Under the Swedish MMA Federation (SMMAF), the national amateur championships span three divisions separating experience levels: C-Class, B-Class and A-Class. A-Class competitors compete under the elite level IMMAF Unified Amateur MMA Rules […]

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The 2020 Swedish Amateur MMA National Championships concluded this past weekend with finals taking place on January 26 in the city of Gothenburg.

Under the Swedish MMA Federation (SMMAF), the national amateur championships span three divisions separating experience levels: C-Class, B-Class and A-Class. A-Class competitors compete under the elite level IMMAF Unified Amateur MMA Rules with SMMAF finalists battling for qualification to the national team ahead of the 2020 IMMAF international championships events schedule.

Watch the full SMMAF national championships finals below via Kimurase and scroll down for A-Class results and list of medalists. For full results including C-Class and B-Class, visit mmanytt.se.

Finals (A-Class) Results:

Men’s Flyweight: Sebastian Gonzalez defeated Rickard Wickelgren via unanimous decision (3-0)

Women’s Bantamweight: Jessica Andersson defeated Frida Vastamäki via split-decision (2-1)

Men’s Bantamweight: Jonny Touma defeated Oskar Jaskari via spli-decision (2-1)

Women’s Featherweight: Sofia Hedqvist defeated Janina Danes via submission (arm lock, Round 2 (2:51)

Men’s Featherweight: Daniyal Shamkhalov defeated Emil Andersson via submission (guillotine), Round 3 (0:22)

Men’s Lightweight: Eladio Bravo defeated Tobias Söderberg via TKO, round 2 (1:41)

Welterweight: Christian Stigenberg defeated John Oldenqvist via spli-decision (2-1)

Middleweight: Danijel Grbic defeated Alexander Lindgren via submission (guillotine), Round 1 (2:32)

Light heavyweight: Daniel Karlsson defeated Robin Enontekiö via unanimous decision (3-0)

Medalists:

Men’s Flyweight:

  1. Sebastian Gonzalez, Redline Training Center
  2. Rickard Wickelgren, Adrenaline Fighters Idrottsförening
  3. Rekar Zana, Västerås Fight Club
  4. Markus Adolfsson, GBG MMA & BJJ IF

Women’s Bantamweight:

  1. Jessica Andersson, Coloseum Fightcenter Skövde
  2. Frida Vastamäki, Kampsportstadion
  3. Kim Amprazis, Masthuggets Kampsportsklubb

Men’s Bantamweight:

  1. Jonny Touma, Pancrase Gym Stockholm
  2. Oskar Jaskari, Redline Training Center
  3. Henric Pedersen, Nova MMA Idrottsförening
  4. Awat Kohzadi, Västerås Fight Club

Women’s Featherweight:

  1. Sofia Hedqvist, Sandviken Budo & Kampsportsklubb
  2. Janina Danes, Pancrase Gym Stockholm
  3. Sofia Odbro, Fighter Centre Idrottsförening

Men’s Featherweight:

  1. Daniyal Shamkhalov, Västerås Fight Club
  2. Emil Andersson, GBG MMA & BJJ IF
  3. Alexander Lööf, Västerås Fight Club

Men’s Lightweight:

  1. Eladio Bravo, Akademi Nord Idrottsförening
  2. Tobias Söderberg, Kampsportscentret LSS
  3. Robert Nilsson, Fighter Centre Idrottsförening
  4. Abdulbasid Saidov, Kampsportscentret LSS

Welterweight:

  1. Christian Stigenberg, Söders Fight Gym
  2. John Oldenqvist, GBG MMA & BJJ IF
  3. Alireza Mohammady, Östersunds Jeet Kune Do Klubb
  4. Lina Lindeberg, Combat Academy IF Täby

Middleweight:

  1. Danijel Grbic, Redline Training Center
  2. Alexander Lindgren, Västerås Fight Club
  3. Axel Karlsson, Fighter Centre Idrottsförening
  4. Addis Saljevic, Akademi Nord Idrottsförening

Light-Hevyweight:

  1. Daniel Karlsson, East Idrottsförening Norrköping
  2. Robin Enontekiö, Fighter Centre Idrottsförening

Heavyweight:

  1. Salif Diop, Pancrase Gym Stockholm

Main photo: Stefan Romare (MMA Nytt)

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Afghan MMA Community Comes Together; Over 250 Athletes Compete in Kabul Event https://immaf.org/2020/01/23/afghan-mma-community-comes-together-over-250-athletes-compete-in-kabul-event/ Thu, 23 Jan 2020 18:01:20 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32128 The inspiring power of community was recently on display within Afghanistan’s developing MMA scene. National regulatory body, The Afghan MMA Federation (AMMAF), which caters to grass roots development of MMA within the nation, welcomed over 250 young athletes to compete at an amateur championships in Kabul on January 9. “254 athletes participated from 11 provinces,” […]

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The inspiring power of community was recently on display within Afghanistan’s developing MMA scene.

National regulatory body, The Afghan MMA Federation (AMMAF), which caters to grass roots development of MMA within the nation, welcomed over 250 young athletes to compete at an amateur championships in Kabul on January 9.

“254 athletes participated from 11 provinces,” the AMMAF stated. “It was very effective for the development of Amateur MMA and its athletes, many who travel from far provinces for their wish to compete in these events, and so we pave the ground for them. They gained good experience before returning home to their provinces, Afghan people are very talented and these athletes will be selected step by step for eventual world competition. We hope they will continue to train and experience these events until they have enough experience for the IMMAF world level. The Afghanistan MMA Federation looks forward to continuing the journey of being an active IMMAF member.”

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French Sport Ministry chooses Boxing as host federation for MMA https://immaf.org/2020/01/21/french-sport-ministry-chooses-boxing-as-host-federation-for-mma/ Tue, 21 Jan 2020 20:03:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32122 London – 21 January – The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) welcomes the announcement earlier today that the French Boxing Federation has been given the responsibility of supervising the first phase of development of the sport of MMA in France. This decision, by the French Sport Ministry, is part of a historic legalisation of […]

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London – 21 January – The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) welcomes the announcement earlier today that the French Boxing Federation has been given the responsibility of supervising the first phase of development of the sport of MMA in France.

This decision, by the French Sport Ministry, is part of a historic legalisation of the sport of MMA in France. In a statement, the Ministry said: “Having requested and analysed all relevant information received from a number of combat federations who were interested in welcoming MMA, we have decided, by an official Ministerial Decision, to delegate the sport of MMA to the French Boxing Federation.”

It has been made clear that this will be a temporary arrangement and, after a year, the Ministry will decide whether MMA is ready to become an independent federation in France.

Kerrith Brown, IMMAF President said; “We are delighted to see that Boxing will now be the partner of MMA in France, where it has extremely well established and respected structures. Above all, we believe that by partnering with boxing, MMA will show that it shares a willingness to create the right culture and values, especially in membership and education programmes for athletes, coaches and officials. “

Densign White, IMMAF CEO said: “This is another significant milestone for the sport of amateur MMA. France is a major sporting nation and host of the Olympic Games in 2024, so partnering with boxing will be a massive boost in the growth of MMA in France. This is a major step in the ongoing campaign by IMMAF for international recognition of MMA as a sport with Olympic values.”

Pictured: French 2017 IMMAF World Gold medallist, Manon Fiorot

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Lightweight World Champion Michelle Montague Teases Move To Featherweight https://immaf.org/2020/01/21/32111-2/ Tue, 21 Jan 2020 16:13:02 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32111 IMMAF world lightweight gold medalist Michelle Montague recently took to Instagram, teasing a move to the women’s featherweight division of amateur MMA’s premier international platform, on the hunt for more competition. The 26-year-old announced herself under the IMMAF banner in 2019 while representing the New Zealand national team. Montague quickly established herself as one of […]

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IMMAF world lightweight gold medalist Michelle Montague recently took to Instagram, teasing a move to the women’s featherweight division of amateur MMA’s premier international platform, on the hunt for more competition.

The 26-year-old announced herself under the IMMAF banner in 2019 while representing the New Zealand national team. Montague quickly established herself as one of the most imposing and physically impressive athletes at the international level, dominating at both the Oceania Open and World Championships, accumulating a trio of first round submission wins in addition to a single knockout triumph.

Not wholly content with reigning over the -155lbs ranks, Montague is an athlete in search of challenges and is strongly considering the option of going after the more populated featherweight talent pool. If the decision is made to target a second world title at the lower weight, the question that Montague will first look to assess is that of healthily maintaining the -145lbs limit for the duration of the tournament, likely to face 4 – 5 rivals within the championship week if she is to reach the finals.

The reigning lightweight world champion is already experienced is making the featherweight limit for singular bouts and is considering adapting that experience for the tournament format and potentially sustaining the change for a future pro career.

“I’ve always been proactive and strict when it comes to dropping weight,” Montague explained. “I’ve been under that weight (145lbs) at the beginning of 2019, so I can manage it.”

Historically, the likes of UFC champion Amanda Nunes and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino have brought significant prominence to the professional featherweight division, but for Montague, a drop to featherweight would purely be in search of rivals and states that she feels no pressure to enter featherweight territory for any perception of a spotlight, citing the PFL lightweight division as a major platform for women at lightweight with Olympic Judo icon Kayla Harrison winning the $1 million dollar championship tournament last December, in addition to opportunities under the trailblazing all-women’s promotion, Invicta FC.

“My thoughts were that I’d for sure have fights at featherweight. I don’t have any motive about the spotlight part because I see the PFL lightweight division as a huge spotlight for those girls, so nope that’s not a factor.”

Following her gold medal triumph last November, “The Wild One” quickly set out her intent to qualify for the New Zealand Olympic wrestling team bound for Tokyo 2020. Stay tuned to find out more about her Olympic mission and 2020 campaign within the international proving ground of amateur MMA.

By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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IMMAF Origins Story: “We believed in the mission” https://immaf.org/2020/01/20/immaf-origins-story-we-believed-in-the-mission%ef%bb%bf/ Mon, 20 Jan 2020 12:52:33 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32088 Main picture: IMMAF Board celebrates at the close of the inaugural IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas in 2014 , with August Wallen centre facing. The lessons learned the hard way in Sweden helped to make IMMAF what it is today. Founder August Wallen talks to immaf.org about IMMAF’s origins. “IMMAF’s journey began during dark […]

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Main picture: IMMAF Board celebrates at the close of the inaugural IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas in 2014 , with August Wallen centre facing.

The lessons learned the hard way in Sweden helped to make IMMAF what it is today. Founder August Wallen talks to immaf.org about IMMAF’s origins.

IMMAF founders, August Wallen & George Sallfeldt

“IMMAF’s journey began during dark times in Sweden, when MMA, and all full-contact combat sports faced the threat of a ban,” said August.

IMMAF’s story begins in Sweden where a martial artist called August Wallen had the vision, the plan, and like all good fighters, the discipline and determination to change the world.

In 2005 Sweden elected a new Sport Minister who promptly cancelled an investigation to accept all martial arts and legalise pro boxing, which was banned in Sweden at that time. The Minister set off instead to ban all forms of full contact martial arts in the country.

As a fighter, Wallen, a.k.a. “The Strangler” fought the likes of Yuki KondoVernon “Tiger” WhiteElvis Sinosic and Chris Greig and he has also been a coach, a promoter, a manager a gym owner and entrepreneur. But his greatest MMA legacy is likely to be political, as he was a driving force in amending the legislation to save MMA in Sweden and the man who then decided to reach beyond his country’s own border to pursue a dream called IMMAF.

“This gentleman was also vice Prime Minister of our country and stood up in front of Parliament to tell a bald lie about the dangers of mixed martial arts. I joined with George Sallfeldt (now IMMAF Vice President) and Michale Sjolin to lead a campaign not just against the proposed ban but about the principle of honest political principles in our country. We developed a very engaged lobbying group. They were knowledgeable about MMA, united, passionate and believed in democracy.”

Wallen was able to underline Swedish MMA’s safety, noting that there had been no deaths in MMA in Sweden, while horse riding had 160.

“You can’t ban MMA based on the argument of death in the sport, unless you ban horse riding first,” declared Wallen.”

“We succeeded, by 2007, to get the law changed. You now needed a national permit to organise competitions in all sports where there were head strikes.

“We were able to make 116 changes to the proposed ban,” Wallen says proudly. “We believed in the mission.”

August then founded SMMAF (Swedish MMA Federation) in 2007, securing the first permits for competitions before joining the Association of Swedish Budo and Martial Arts Federation. Upon admittance, MMA became a legitimate national sport and its approved clubs could be subsidized in part by the taxpayer.

“ This was important because I knew that in order to advance, we needed recognition, and in Sweden this could only happen when you were officially recognised by the Swedish Sport Confederation, which is the umbrella organisation for sport in the country.”

By setting up this body, and obtaining a permit for amateur MMA, it was possible for professional MMA to be accepted in Sweden, initially with “softer” rules than those of the UFC.

“It took, literally, years of work to ensure that amateur MMA developed roots in Sweden and for the authorities to be convinced that professional events could be sanctioned as well. I worked very closely with the UFC and we were finally able to secure permission to organise shows with the first event happening in 2012.”

“What I would call “sportifying” mixed martial arts in Sweden was critical to success,” explains Wallen. I think MMA developed kind of backwards. All other sports start on the amateur level with people playing soccer, for instance, in their backyards. Then you get many teams in one city, then a city against a city, regions against regions and finally international competition. But in MMA the professional scene emerged first, and we were trying to create a pyramid from the bottom up.”

With a proposed ban on mixed martial arts legislated in 2006, hosting a UFC event in Sweden in 2012 was a milestone event in a remarkable turnaround for the industry in Sweden. “The world’s roughest sport has become housebroken,” was the title of an article in Sweden’s Expressen.se.


“Very few if any sports federations in Sweden have ever accomplished so much in such short time,” said Wallen proudly.


The sport of MMA was no longer marginalised but prominent in Swedish living rooms. Television was showing local promotions Superior Challenge, Vision Fighting Championship, The Zone FC, and Rumble of the Kings with UFC events, including “The Ultimate Fighter,” regularly shown as well.

“The campaign to give the sport in my country legitimacy and to create a functioning national governing body gave us the confidence and experience to do the same thing on an international stage.”

From Sweden to the World – the birth of IMMAF

By 2012, Sweden had a solid structure with a national league, national championships, good governance and pathways for coach and technical official education.

August stepped aside for George Sallfeldt to take over and they agreed that what had been achieved in Sweden, could now become a model for a worldwide organisation.

“We both agreed that the key to further development, and funding, inside Sweden was to form and grow a legitimate international federation with World Championships. Creating this system would also allow fighters to remain amateur and develop their skills, rather than turn professional too quickly. We needed an amateur pyramid in MMA where some people were turning professional without even having competed, which was a crazy situation, but that was because amateur structures didn’t exist, unlike in almost every other sport.

Wallen knew that the first step for the IMMAF was to facilitate the formation of a unified national federation for as many countries as possible. Some countries, like France, had no body at all. Other nations, like Brazil, sported a handful of federations that operated independently of each other and sometimes in competition.

“It was a challenge to build the pyramid with safety and medical issues as the top priority. We needed that reassurance and trust so people could compete safely said Wallen. “There were world champions in other sports who were coming in to compete in professional MMA, but in the long run, we also wanted really good youth training programmes and competitions to develop true mixed martial arts fighters from the start.”


“Our first job was to see that there were national federations capable of sanctioning professional events,” said Wallen. “We could then look into arranging international amateur events and hold amateur world championships. Once you hold regular international world championships, then you can search for recognition from GAISF and the IOC. When you have that, you are a recognized sport.


“Thanks to the support of UFC we were able to organise our first amateur World Championships in Las Vegas in 2014, the same year that Kerrith Brown and Densign White joined IMMAF. Both were Olympian athletes in Judo and experienced sport administrators. Working with the elected Board, they have built a team, and processes, that have brought us to the brink of recognition by GAISF and the World Anti-doping Agency.”

WMMAA – Soul Mates not Enemies

In 2012, both the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and the World MMA Association (WMMAA) were founded independently, both aiming to establish an amateur structure based on principles of good governance. WMMAA was established by Vadim Finkelchtein, owner of the M1 professional franchise.

“I remember sitting down for the first time for a meeting with Vadim and his team,” said August. “The mood was friendly and respectful, and it was quickly clear that we both wanted the same things for the sport of amateur MMA globally. We were simply on parallel paths but aiming for the same destination. We left the meeting agreeing to stay in touch and wishing each other good luck.

It became clear from meetings with GAISF that they could only accept one International organisation and that “rivalry” was a serious hindrance to international recognition. IMMAF and WMMA began discussing how to best create a unified organisation which would have the best elements of both organisations.

The process ended formally in November 2019 with WMMA being absorbed into IMMAF.

“IMMAF is now a much more powerful and inclusive organisation as a result,” said August. “I cannot underline enough now important this is. It would never have happened without the positive attitude and good faith of Vadim and his team.

UFC – Friend and Partner

“The crucial thing about the UFC support is that it has always been very respectful of the fact that we needed to be independent and to focus on the development of amateur MMA around the world.

“One important factor, from the start, was that I absolutely insisted that my own involvement was completely pro-bono. I remained an unpaid volunteer when helping to set up an MMA federation in Sweden, supporting the arrival of the first UFC Event in Sweden, to founding IMMAF in 2012. I was always insistent on the fact that this was a labour of love, a truly “amateur” commitment from me. UFC respected that committed stance.”

But it is also crucial to emphasise that UFC did not only give IMMAF verbal support but also committed finances, without which IMMAF would simply not have been able to grow and develop.

“I really think we need to acknowledge the contribution of George Sallfeldt,” said August. “He took over as President of the Swedish Federation, then joined the Board of IMMAF where he was soon elected as IMMAF Vice President.

“With a background in business, George negotiated an agreement with UFC so IMMAF could obtain, to use an entrepreneurial term the “seed funding” for vital administrative structures and activities. Thanks to this support oversee IMMAF could start to build the sport on a global level

With the UFC’s verbal and financial backing and years of hard work, the IMMAF is now the only legitimate international governing body for MMA. Through its support of IMMAF, UFC shows its real commitment to international grassroots development.

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Cutman Committee & Licenses Renewal to Preserve Highest Standard for Athletes https://immaf.org/2020/01/17/cutman-committee-licenses-renewal-to-preserve-highest-standard-for-athletes-2/ Fri, 17 Jan 2020 15:35:44 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32076

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  • – IMMAF establishes a Cutman Committee, headed by Robert Plant

  • – All IMMAF “B” and “C” cutmen and -women trained in 2018 and earlier are required to take revalidation course to extend their licence for 2020 and 2021.

  • The IMMAF CUT TEAM aims to preserve the highest standard of services provided to its athletes at every step of their ‘amazing’ journey .

    Over the past few years, IMMAF has provided training to more than 100 cutmen and women all over the world. Many of them are now successfully working with national promotions and at international events. IMMAF recently reviewed its and updated its programme for the training and certification of cutpersons.

    Robert Plant, unarguably one of the best cutman with IMMAF and a world expert heavily engaged in UFC shows, said:

    “ IMMAF is like no other promotion anywhere in the world. Our work is intense, but gratifying. The IMMAF CUT TEAM is committed to delivering the best quality services to the athletes at every single step of their amazing journey in sport. We are proud to be part of it and happy to see them safe and successful.”

    IMMAF’s Director of Sport Development, Andrew Moshanov, commented:

    “It is not surprising that so many international promotions are keen to invite IMMAF trained cutman to work on their events, relying on the quality of our specialists. As the calendar of IMMAF events continues to grow, we need continue to need more specialists of high calibre around the world, on every continent and in every country.”

    IMMAF’s renewed cutman programme sees the adoption of the following policies and measures to elevate this vital part of IMMAF event operations to the next level:

    1. The formation of the IMMAF Cutman Committee to oversee the development and training of the specialists in the field with Robert Plant taking the role of a Chairman
    2. The redesigned official cutman training program on offer to all IMMAF national federations
    3. A Continuous Professional Development (CPD) pathway and mandatory revalidation process.

    CPD revalidation comprises a bi-annual, short refresher course for all IMMAF cutmen, which will be mandatory for them to extend their licence for a further 2 years. It combines a theory test with a review of the cutperson’s work history over the preceding 2 years. Further information is to follow at Immaf.org

    All IMMAF “B” and “C” cutmen trained in 2018 and earlier are required to complete revalidation course to extend their licence for another two years (2020 and 2021). Register at mynextmatch.com for revalidation.

    Q & A

    Q1: Is it possible to register interest to work at IMMAF event without valid IMMAF Cutman licence?

    No. To work at any IMMAF Continental Championships, a cutman’s licence must be extended by the start of registration for that event.

    Q2: Is there any other way to extend the IMMAF Cutman licence?

    No. It is mandatory for IMMAF cutman to revalidate their licences for the next 2 years.

    Q3: What will happen if a cutman does not undergo revalidation?

    If an IMMAF licenced cutman fails to revalidate their qualification for longer than 3 months he/she will be considered as a “lapsed specialist”, and his progression to the next level of cutman qualification will cease. This means, he will not be considered for work at any official IMMAF events.

    Q4: How can a “lapsed cutman” come back onto the IMMAF ladder?

    All “lapsed experts” will need resit the full training course again in order to return to the progression ladder.

    Q5: What is the structure of revalidation course?

    It is a combination of an on-line theory test and a review of the cutperson’s work history over the preceding period of 2 years.

    Q6: What is the pass mark for revalidation test?

    The pass mark for the revalidation theory test is 95%. The working history over the preceding period of 2 years shall be reviewed by IMMAF Cutman Committee.

    Q7:  Where can one find an official IMMAF Cutman Licensing Course?

    The official IMMAF cutman courses are advertised exclusively at immaf.org and mynextmatch.com and are presented by IMMAF approved tutors.

    IMMAF LEVEL “A” CUTMEN

    The list of IMMAF “A” LEVEL CUTMeN (effective since January 1, 2020)

    1. Robert Plant (UK)
    2. Angelo Tarantini (Italy)
    3. Vahaq Petrosyan (Poland)
    4. Paolo Benedito (Portugal)
    5. Paride Scanu (Italy)
    6. Chiara Scappa (Italy)
    7. Paul Barton (UK)
    8. Joahim Alves (Portugal)
    9. Paolo Masala (Italy)
    10. Bryan Coyle (Ireland)
    11. Debora O’Sullivan (Ireland)
    12. Jessica Issacson (Ireland)
    13. Basel Alhindawi (Jordan)

    ALL IMMAF “B” LEVEL CUTMAN trained before 2018 are due for revalidation by March 1, 2020. Please, register at MyNextMatch for the on-line test.

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    IMMAF CEO “Satisfied” with Progress of Case to Gain WADA Recognition https://immaf.org/2020/01/15/immaf-ceo-satisfied-with-progress-of-case-to-gain-wada-recognition/ Wed, 15 Jan 2020 23:13:20 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32071 [LONDON – 15 January 2020] A hearing, requested by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) in the dispute regarding recognition of IMMAF as an official signatory to the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), took place on Tuesday 14 January in Lausanne, Switzerland. IMMAF CEO Densign White was present together with representatives from IMMAF’s legal representatives […]

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    [LONDON – 15 January 2020] A hearing, requested by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) in the dispute regarding recognition of IMMAF as an official signatory to the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), took place on Tuesday 14 January in Lausanne, Switzerland.

    IMMAF CEO Densign White was present together with representatives from IMMAF’s legal representatives (Gros & Waltenspühl). The hearing was technical and its main purpose was to restrict (from both parties) the number of statements to be disputed and for which witnesses will be called.

    WADA requested a suspension of the proceedings, on the grounds that the admission process to the WADA is currently being modified and that the 2021 version of the Code will most likely allow the IMMAF to become signatory.

    IMMAF has objected to this request and the judge is now considering whether a suspension of the proceedings would be appropriate.

    IMMAF CEO, Densign White, said:

    “I was satisfied that our case was heard. Our legal representatives clearly stated IMMAF’s position which is that a suspension of proceeding would not be appropriate. It would unduly delay the whole process and there is also absolutely no guarantee that WADA would accept IMMAF as a signatory when the new Code enters into force.”

    The judge also set a 10-day deadline (until Friday, January 24, 2020) to determine a restricted list of witnesses who will testify, and whether this would be in person in Lausanne or by rogatory letter. No date has yet been fixed for the next hearing.

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    IMMAF Fantasy Matchmaking: Jose Torres vs. Muhammad Mokaev https://immaf.org/2020/01/15/immaf-fantasy-matchmaking-torres-vs-mokaev/ Wed, 15 Jan 2020 11:56:29 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32066 What if the original face of amateur MMA took on today’s most talked about amateur champion, who would have taken victory in this battle of IMMAF bantamweight prodigies? Jose Torres (USA) In his early 20’s Jose Torres earned gold at the inaugural IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas 2014 and retained the title in 2015 […]

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    What if the original face of amateur MMA took on today’s most talked about amateur champion, who would have taken victory in this battle of IMMAF bantamweight prodigies?

    Jose Torres (USA)

    Torres

    In his early 20’s Jose Torres earned gold at the inaugural IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas 2014 and retained the title in 2015 to become the first ever two-time IMMAF world champion. After his two years competing on the IMMAF platform Torres was the world’s most recognised amateur prospect and the top talent within Team USA at a time when the nation was the leading force of the World Championships. Torres blazed a trail for the prominence of amateur mixed martial artists on the IMMAF platform and was defeated only once (on his amateur debut). His 25-1 amateur record was unprecedented in 2016 and in 2019 we are seeing a number of current greats follow that same level of dedication. Torres was often credited and recognised by mainstream MMA media as the world’s most decorated amateur MMA fighter. After being the first 0-0 professional to sign with Titan FC, he would go on to win the promotion’s bantamweight and flyweight titles before completing a victorious UFC debut in 2018.

    Muhammad Mokaev (UK/England)

    Despite being yet to battle the IMMAF senior ranks, Muhammad Mokaev is undoubtedly the most talked about amateur MMA standout of today. While his back-to-back IMMAF world titles and European Open triumph have come at the junior level (under 21’s), he has continuously bested far older rivals on the UK circuit and at 21-0 is among the most dominant and most recognised talents with a reputation and following that overshadows many of his professional counterparts. At just 19 years of age this Team GB wrestling veteran and Olympic hopeful has truly redefined what it means to be a champion of amateur MMA.

    Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

    By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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    Additions From Canada, Finland, India and French Polynesia Join 2020 Oceania Open Challenge https://immaf.org/2020/01/13/additions-from-canada-finland-india-and-french-polynesia-join-2020-oceania-open-challenge/ Mon, 13 Jan 2020 13:59:00 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32062 Athletes from Canada, Finland and India have joined the list of contenders set to challenge at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open in March, joining standouts from the UK, Bahrain and host nation Australia. The event will also welcome the first appearance of a French Polynesia national team and will feature five athletes making their international […]

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    Athletes from Canada, Finland and India have joined the list of contenders set to challenge at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open in March, joining standouts from the UK, Bahrain and host nation Australia.

    The event will also welcome the first appearance of a French Polynesia national team and will feature five athletes making their international debuts following last week’s announcement confirming the region as an IMMAF member. French Polynesia has become the first French territory to supervise the practice of MMA and Amateur MMA under a government mandate.

    Canada’s’ Justin Grey continues his travels, entering the men’s featherweight division as a veteran of the 2018 IMMAF World Championships and 2019 Pan-American Open. Similarly, India’s Vaibhav Vaman Shetty enters the middleweight bracket as a veteran of the 2019 World Championships and Asian Open. At age 34, Shetty is among the oldest contenders at the international amateur level.

    In the men’s bantamweight division, 18-year-old Max Hynninen (main picture) seeks his first win on the IMMAF platform following his international debut at the 2019 Junior World Championships where he was handed a unanimous decision loss at the hands of two-time world champion Muhammad Mokaev. Nevertheless, three rounds of experience against the world’s foremost amateur contender presents a unique opportunity to learn and Hynninen will look to demonstrate his progression at the first continental Open of 2020.

    Pictured: World champions of amateur MMA – Ramazan Gitinov (left), Murtaza Talha Ali (center) and Muhammad Mokaev (right).

    The challenge is steep as some of the world’s most prominent and dominant amateur MMA standouts such as Muhammad Mokaev, Murtaza Talha Ali and Ramazan Gitinov setting their sights on the Oceania Open and a clean sweep of the year to come. Read more HERE.

    The 2020 IMMAF events calendar begins with the Oceania Open Championships taking place from 6 – 8 March at Australia’s Gold Coast Recreation Centre on Palm Beach. Athlete registration closes on Jan. 24.

    By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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    IMMAF International Growth Continues as Venezuela Becomes New Member https://immaf.org/2020/01/13/immaf-international-growth-continues-as-venezuela-becomes-new-member/ Mon, 13 Jan 2020 10:57:41 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32054 IMMAF, the world governing body for amateur Mixed Martial Arts, is proud to welcome Venezuela as its latest international observational member. Venezuela becomes the 13th IMMAF member in the Pan-American Area, joining Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.  IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “MMA is […]

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    IMMAF, the world governing body for amateur Mixed Martial Arts, is proud to welcome Venezuela as its latest international observational member.

    Mauricio Delgado, IMMAF’s representative in Venezuela

    Venezuela becomes the 13th IMMAF member in the Pan-American Area, joining Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA. 

    IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “MMA is growing fast around the world with the Pan-American region one of the most diverse and dedicated. IMMAF is consistently investing in the continent with sports’ development resources, and we are excited about the potential of this region, especially with the Pan-American Open Championships heading to Cancun, Mexico in May, which is a renowned destination for combat sports.”

    Mauricio Delgado, IMMAF’s representative in Venezuela, runs the Fundacion Pugilatus, the most important combat sports promotion in Venezuela which is involved in the development of MMA, Boxing and Kick Boxing at both amateur and professional level.

    “Venezuela is very proud to become the latest member of the IMMAF family” said Delgado, “and we are working hard to develop the Venezuelan Federation. Through the MMA Venezuela Alliance, we have united the 18 MMA clubs in the country, which is equivalent to 60% of the entire MMA amateur community.”

    The priorities for Venezuela are to create the necessary administrative and competition structures as well as coaching and technical official certification pathways. “We are looking forward to preparing a Venezuelan team for IMMAF events in 2020, starting at the Pan-Am Open and with the goal of competing at the World Champs at the end of the season,” said Delgado.

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    French Polynesia becomes the First French Territory to Legalise MMA https://immaf.org/2020/01/09/%ef%bb%bffrench-polynesia-becomes-the-first-french-territory-to-legalise-mma/ Thu, 09 Jan 2020 17:26:45 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32039 FRENCH POLYNESIAN TEAM TO COMPETE IN IMMAF OCEANIA CHAMPIONSHIPS In France’s mainland the Sports Ministry has postponed its decision about the guardianship of MMA and its legalisation until February. Meanwhile, in France’s overseas territory of French Polynesia, a Public Service Delegation (DSP) was granted on December 27 for the Federation of Wrestling, mixed martial arts, […]

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    FRENCH POLYNESIAN TEAM TO COMPETE IN IMMAF OCEANIA CHAMPIONSHIPS

    In France’s mainland the Sports Ministry has postponed its decision about the guardianship of MMA and its legalisation until February. Meanwhile, in France’s overseas territory of French Polynesia, a Public Service Delegation (DSP) was granted on December 27 for the Federation of Wrestling, mixed martial arts, jiu jitsu and associated disciplines (FPLALDA) to supervise the practice of MMA and Amateur MMA competitions. A decree was published on January 3 in the Official Journal of French Polynesia.

    A Public Service Delegation can only be granted to a sports federation by the country’s President on the advice of the French Polynesia Olympic Committee: The mandate bestows on the federation a monopoly over technical rules and regulations, official competitions, education, insurance and licensing, as well as disciplinary authority. The term, ‘Polynesian Federation’, is only legally permitted in the company name of organisations that have been granted the DSP.

    In an interview with news outlet Tahiiti Info, FPLALDA President, Hiro Lemaire, commented :

    “This Public Service Delegation will also allow us to organise a Polynesia MMA Championships this year, and will allow our fighters to represent French Polynesia in the context of international competitions. This will apply in March for the (IMMAF) Oceania MMA Championships in Australia.”

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    GEMMAF Confirms Additional Merge of MMA Governing Bodies in Germany https://immaf.org/2020/01/09/gemmaf-confirms-additional-merge-of-mma-governing-bodies-in-germany/ Thu, 09 Jan 2020 16:08:09 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32033 The German Mixed Martial Arts Federation (GEMMAF) has announced the completion of an agreement to further unite MMA in Germany, expanding unified goals for regulatory and development standards within the sport. In 2019 GEMMAF merged with counterpart, GAMMAF, to unify Germany’s standout governing bodies under the GEMMAF banner following the merger of international umbrella bodies, […]

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    The German Mixed Martial Arts Federation (GEMMAF) has announced the completion of an agreement to further unite MMA in Germany, expanding unified goals for regulatory and development standards within the sport.

    In 2019 GEMMAF merged with counterpart, GAMMAF, to unify Germany’s standout governing bodies under the GEMMAF banner following the merger of international umbrella bodies, IMMAF and WMMAA. Despite this, GAMMAF representatives later separated from the national unity, dividing the German scene once again.

    Founded in 2014, GEMMAF serves as the oldest and largest regulatory body for German MMA and has been working with the UFC since 2014. GEMMAF begins 2020 by expanding its reach further upon merging with GAMMA², an additional sanctioning body dedicated to grappling and MMA with sanctioning experience with the organisation, We Love MMA, one of Germany’s most well established MMA promotions.

    A statement at GEMMAF.de explained, “After both the GEMMAF and the GAMMA² had done valuable development work in the field of MMA in their specializations for years, both organizations have decided to join forces and, under the GEMMAF flag, to combine all strengths of both clubs in the fields of amateur MMA, events and training use.

    “We are highly motivated to continue our work on structuring MMA in Germany in 2020 and see this cooperation as an important step towards standardizing the German MMA scene!”

    GEMMAF president Clemens Werner commented, “This is an important development and overall a great step. We are getting stronger and stronger.”

    By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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    Russia's Newest Prodigy, 20-Year-Old Igor Glazkov Wins Pro Debut With Single Punch https://immaf.org/2020/01/08/russias-newest-prodigy-20-year-old-igor-glazkov-wins-pro-debut-with-single-punch-2/ Wed, 08 Jan 2020 17:12:55 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32021

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    Former IMMAF junior world champion and senior European Open gold medalist, Igor Glazkov will be one to watch in years to come after winning his professional debut last month in St. Petersburg, dropping his opponent in the opening seconds with a left hook counter.

    The 20-year-old wrestling champion of Siberia took on the best of amateur MMA in 2019 and conquered the IMMAF light-heavyweight ranks. After qualifying to represent the Russian national team under the government affiliated Russian MMA Union, Glazkov made his international debut at the 2018 IMMAF – WMMAA Unified World Championships in the junior men’s -205lb division, forcing knockout and submission stoppages to best opposition from New Zealand and the Czech Republic to earn the gold medal.

    While Glazkov’s documented record does not account for the volume of Siberian regional contests, his official record from the international IMMAF platform and Russia’s national championships stands at 11-1 with his sole defeat coming in Russia’s 2019 national championship finals against Magomed Shakhrudinov who would go on to win the 2018 IMMAF senior world title.

    In 2019 Glazkov stepped up to the elite senior level of the European Open Championships in Rome. The junior world champion laid waste to the division, proving his ability with four back-to-back triumphs from 20-23 June, first submitting Igor Kutsenko of the prominent Ukrainian national team before completing a TKO of Belgium’s Cedric Lushima.

    Glazkov could not be stopped as he entered the European Open semi-finals to make astonishingly light work of towering Frenchman Paulin Begai. In the European Open final, Glazkov completed a three round shut-out against Finland’s Kirill Andreev. The incredibly humble standout consistently showcased unstoppable wrestling prowess and struck hesitation within rivals with fierce strikes while standing and without mercy on the ground.

    Following his path of destruction at the European Open, Glazkov turned his attention to going pro and was signed to the reputable pro fight team and management group, Рать, a stable of Russian UFC talent and standout up and comers including Georgy Kichigin, Nikolay Aleksakhin, Roman Kopylov and Timofey Natyukhin who sensationally knocked out former UFC champion Eddie Alvarez last year.

    Glazkov’s corner captured footage of his pro debut, watch it HERE.

    By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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    IMMAF Resumes Legal Action Against WADA https://immaf.org/2020/01/07/%ef%bb%bfimmaf-resumes-legal-action-against-wada/ Tue, 07 Jan 2020 09:58:16 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32017 IMMAF, the World Governing Body for the sport of amateur Mixed Martial Arts, has resumed legal action against the World Anti-Doping Agency. The case between IMMAF and WADA will be heard at the Tribunal d’Arrondissement in Lausanne on 14th January 2020. IMMAF is challenging the decision in the ordinary Swiss Courts because IMMAF’s application to […]

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    IMMAF, the World Governing Body for the sport of amateur Mixed Martial Arts, has resumed legal action against the World Anti-Doping Agency. The case between IMMAF and WADA will be heard at the Tribunal d’Arrondissement in Lausanne on 14th January 2020.

    IMMAF is challenging the decision in the ordinary Swiss Courts because IMMAF’s application to WADA for signatory status has been rejected.

    IMMAF CEO Densign White, said: “At the end of August 2019 we accepted a request of WADA to postpone our court case (scheduled for 4 September) to allow them more time to review the current procedure for a sport organisation to become a signatory. But now WADA has asked for a further 5 months extension which the IMMAF Board of Directors has unanimously rejected.”

    “We regret that we have to take legal action, but it seems to be the only way to force this issue. WADA should be a fully independent body but maintain that they need a green light from GAISF to accept IMMAF as a signatory. We continue to wait for GAISF to consider our application for Observer status. As a WADA code compliant sport, we should also be a WADA signatory. Without this status IMMAF’s sanctions are easily bypassed to the detriment of our athletes, their safety and Clean Sport.” said White.

    IMMAF first implemented an anti-doping policy based on the World Anti-Doping Code and Standards in 2015. In-competition testing was introduced at its international Amateur MMA tournaments, commencing with the 2015 IMMAF World Championships. IMMAF works with the internationally renowned expert consultancy, Sporting Integrity Ltd, headed by Michele Verroken, to develop its anti-doping policy and programme.

     “IMMAF’s application to WADA is a crucial part of being recognised by the Sport Movement. Signing up to WADA means promoting development, open access to funding, professional services and our authority to safeguard participants,” said White. “As we start 2020, we are resolute in pursuit of international recognition which benefits our member federations and our athletes.”

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    IMMAF World Champions Set Sights on 2020 Oceania Open https://immaf.org/2020/01/02/world-champions-set-sights-on-oceania-open/ Thu, 02 Jan 2020 16:48:10 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32007 The 2020 IMMAF events calendar kicks off the new year with the Oceania Open Championships taking place from 6 – 8 March at Australia’s Gold Coast Recreation Centre on Palm Beach. In previous years the event has served up a collision for Australia and New Zealand’s national teams to battle for superiority of the continental […]

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    The 2020 IMMAF events calendar kicks off the new year with the Oceania Open Championships taking place from 6 – 8 March at Australia’s Gold Coast Recreation Centre on Palm Beach.

    In previous years the event has served up a collision for Australia and New Zealand’s national teams to battle for superiority of the continental Open. In 2020, the opportunity for a major impact presents itself with world leading contenders from Bahrain and UK added to the fold, set to challenge for the Oceania Open titles.

    Two-time junior bantamweight World champion and European Open gold medalist, the undefeated Muhammad Mokaev (21-0) of the English national team begins the most compelling new chapter of his IMMAF tenure. The world’s no.1 ranked junior athlete (under 21’s) makes his debut in the senior (18+) division and will be looking to prove his highly touted and world renown abilities. Already the world’s most prominent amateur prospect, the 19-year-old may yet end 2020 as the GOAT of amateur MMA.

    Following his successful return to action at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships, the also undefeated Murtaza Talha Ali (11-0) of Bahrain continues to regain momentum in the senior light-heavyweight division. The 2017 World Champion and 2018 European Open gold medalist missed a year of action with injury from the latter half of 2018 until his return at the 2019 World Championships last November. Defying any notion that he had been surpassed by those who emerged during his absence, “The Juggernaut” bulldozed his way to the world semi-finals where he would clinch a split-decision triumph over defending 2018 world champion, Russia’s Magomed Shakhrudinov, before going on to claim the gold medal and regain the world title.

    Also representing Bahrain at the Oceania Open will be welterweight world champion, Ramazan Gitinov (11-2). Amassing a 10-fight win streak in 2019 alone, Gitinov emerged as one of the most dominant athletes of the year, first shutting out two-time world silver medalist Axel Sola at the Asian Open in Bangkok before going on to a further 9 consecutive triumphs. The senior welterweight leader concluded 2019 as the Asian Open champion, European Open champion and World Champion.

    With even more international standouts expected to join the fold, athlete registration for the 2020 Oceania Open closes on Jan. 24.

    By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran


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    IMMAF President End of Year Message 2019 https://immaf.org/2019/12/26/immaf-president-end-of-year-message-2019/ Thu, 26 Dec 2019 15:59:08 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=32002

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    As we turn into 2020, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown looks back on 2019 as the year in which IMMAF further distinguished itself as the global governing body for MMA. 

    Dear Members, Participants and Supporters, 

    Once again, we end the year in celebration of our expanding community and its increasing influence, as MMA continues to carve its place on the world stage of ‘legitimate’ sport. 

    We upped the ante in 2019 and set yet higher standards for ourselves in hosting a world first in the inaugural Youth MMA World Championships, in Rome. Over 250 pioneering athletes, of between the ages of 12 to 17, blazed a trail for youth-adapted MMA competition without head shots.     

    Our global calendar of events concluded with the showcasing of world-class, amateur MMA at its best as 50 national teams and 436 athletes converged in Bahrain for the 2019 World Championships. The depth of talent, scale and diversity of the World Championships astounds me every year: The bar continues to be obliterated as we welcome more and more phenomenal athletes from every country to represent their nation’s flag on amateur MMA’s premier proving ground.   

    In our quest for legitimacy from the international sports world, we did not sit back, and IMMAF and WMMAA pushed to gain considerable ground. IMMAF postponed its case against the World Anti-doping Agency, ceding time to the organisation for it to review its statutes in relation to how signatory applications are processed. We are anticipating an update in January, when the IMMAF Board can then make a decision about our next steps.   

    Following the companies’ merger of IMMAF and WMMAA in 2018, we concluded 2019 with a democratic amalgamation of the two Boards of Directors at a pivotal General Assembly. In 2020 this historic outcome will prove its significance. Our stewardship of MMA is undeniable with a global membership of 97 national members recognised by their government or National Olympic Committee. This is an accomplishment that cannot be rivaled.

    For another memorable year, on behalf of the unified board of IMMAF and WMMAA, to all presidents, coaches, athletes, staff, volunteers and officials, I wholeheartedly thank you for your much-valued support and loyalty. I speak confidently in saying that 2020 is set to mark our greatest turning point to date. Together, our journey continues.

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, I wish you all peace, health and happiness in what will surely prove to be a momentous new year.

    IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown.

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    IMMAF and WMMAA Federations in China Work Towards Unified Vision https://immaf.org/2019/12/22/immaf-working-with-former-immaf-and-wmmaa-federations-in-china-to-create-one-vision/ Sun, 22 Dec 2019 10:13:55 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=31982

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    IMMAF China

    President Kerrith Brown and IMMAF Director Bertrand Amoussou have joined Director Han Jiuili in Beijing to review and support the progression of governance of MMA in China.

    The MMA Department of the Chinese Boxing Federation, headed by Jiuli, was approved as IMMAF’s national representative for China by members at the IMMAF General Assembly in November. The former WMMAA member will be working with former IMMAF member, the Chinese Mixed Martial Arts Federation, following on from the IMMAF -WMMAA merger of 2018/19.

    President Brown, who has been meeting with both groups, said:

    “CIMMAF’s contribution to the development of MMA in China is well recognised by the IMMAF Board, and we are working to consolidate the new structure and the organisation’s place within it. They have carried out some immense groundwork in developing the sport across the regions of China. It’s an honour now to work with both groups towards a unified national vision for MMA.”

    Meanwhile, Director Amoussou, has been working on the ground to introduce the IMMAF Progression Scheme into Chinese gyms.

    President Brown will be delivering a detailed report and recommendations to the IMMAF Board, at their next meeting, about the status of MMA in China and the progress of affiliation between the two Chinese National Federations.



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    Unparalleled IMMAF Standards Lead The Way in MMA Event Safety https://immaf.org/2019/12/19/31968-2/ Thu, 19 Dec 2019 17:12:34 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=31968

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    The remarkable medical standards in operation at IMMAF championships are second to none in the world of MMA. IMMAF continues to raise the bar for medical standards with each passing year, its level of processes are a leader in both mixed martial arts and the wider combat sport world.

    The 2019 IMMAF World Championships were no exception and once again served as leading example for the world governing body’s dedication to athlete safety.

    While each registered athlete is subject to medical pre-clearance prior to the championships start, including bloodwork and examinations that see IMMAF’s medical team network with doctors on a worldwide scale, the focus placed on athletes does not stop there.

    Spanning 50 national teams, a total of 436 athletes were in action at the 2019 IMMAF World Championships. IMMAF’s third-party medical consultancy and non-profit services provider, Safe MMA, provided a breakdown of processes that continued to uphold elite standards of the most extensive medical policy in MMA.

    Dr Aljulanda Almaskari hand picked his team,” Safe MMA records manager Yoni Gottlieb explained. “Working closely with them, he ensured that they first understood the sport, after which most fell in love with it! It was a source of pride to him that many of them practice martial arts, with a few even being decorated national and international champions in BJJ, boxing and MMA.

    “Through regular training sessions and active participation in events, Dr Almaskari ensured the bar was raised in delivering excellent medical care to athletes competing in one of the most physically demanding sports. The principle codes of conduct he set down were:

    – Every athlete is a fighter, a superstar, and someone special. They have families, they fight for their countries and beliefs, and most importantly they are “our patients”.
    – NO ATHLETE IS LEFT BEHIND, not in the accommodation, not in the arena or in the training ground.
    – Every incident should be accounted for and every episode should be seen through to conclusion.
    – Do the best possible; if it’s beyond your limit, seek help and advice.
    – Keep your conduct professional.
    – Keep everyone at the same distance: “my personal approach is instead of keeping everyone at an arm’s length away, embrace everyone.”
    – SMILE, HIGH FIVE, FIST BUMP… HUGS are welcome after consent!

    The phenomenal medical team led by Dr Aljulanda Almaskari comprised of:

    – 25 doctors from the following specialties

    • Orthopaedics and Trauma
    • intensive care / anesthesia
    • General Surgery
    • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
    • Emergency medicine
    • ENT
    • Ophthalmology
    • Neurosurgery
    • Internal and Acute medicine
    • Obstetrics & Gynecology
    • Dentistry and Maxillofacial surgery

    – 12 Nurses
    – 20 Paramedics
    – 6 ambulance drivers
    – 20 medical volunteers
    – 3 secretaries (maintaining records and tracking sheets)

    The extensive medical facilities covering the event were:

    – Bahrain Defence Force Hospital

    • Tertiary care hospital with acute trauma care and neurosurgical care
    • 24/7 emergency services

    – Salmaniya Medical Complex

    • Tertiary care hospital with acute emergency, trauma care and neurosurgical care
    • 24/7 services

    – Yousif Engineer Health center

    • Primary health center with radiology services
    • 200m from Sports arena

    medical care areas were set up within 2 sites:

    Venue:

    • – Medical center at the competition venue
    • – Fully equipped for care of minor injuries and for athlete screening and primary care
    • – Resuscitation and emergency intervention set up
    • – Readily available for all athletes, teams and staff as well as audience/fans

    Athlete hotel:

    • – 24 hour coverage provided by a doctor and a nurse
    • – Resuscitation and emergency intervention equipment
    • – Primary care and medications
    • – Readily available for all athletes, medical teams and IMMAF staff as well as host federation

    From approximately 388 bouts, there were a total of:
    – 18 brain CT scans, all normal results.
    – 7 facial CT scans, 1 of which was normal and 6 of which detected a total of 4 nasal fractures and 3 orbital fractures.
    – 18 X-rays, 15 of which were normal and 3 of which detected metatarsal/metacarpal bone fractures.
    – Beyond these 9 athletes with fractures, there were 42 athletes with minor injuries recorded, ranging from exhaustion to lacerations.

    By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran

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    IMMAF Board Member Looks Forward to Seeing IMMAF App Bolster the Recreational MMA Community. https://immaf.org/2019/12/17/immaf-board-member-looks-forward-to-seeing-immaf-app-bolster-the-recreational-mma-community/ Tue, 17 Dec 2019 17:31:50 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=31961

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    IMMAF broke new ground this month the announcement of an all-new MMA Grading App for coaches, students and fans of Mixed Martial Arts.
    Recap the full launch announcement HERE.

    Developed by IMMAF – the world governing body for MMA – in tandem with its Coaches’ Education and Licensing Programme, at official launch, five-hundred-and-forty-seven IMMAF certified coaches already have full access to the IMMAF App. As IMMAF continues to roll out its coach licensing courses around the world in 2020, use of the App as a teaching and assessment tool is set to become a core course component following its 2019 pilot program featuring over 500 coaches in nations such as Australia, Mexico, France, Ireland and Greece.

    Expectations for 2020 aim to see a further 1000 coaches engaged from Kazakhstan and Russia, where the sport MMA and national federations under IMMAF enjoy government affiliation and support.

    Bertrand Amoussou, IMMAF board member and founder of CFMMA in France, is a strong believer that the IMMAF App will significantly bolster the growing attention given to MMA as a sport for recreational participation.

    “MMA is entering a new era that reverses the pyramid to see it further developed from the base,” Amoussou stated. “Today, we no longer see MMA as something just for professionals, but for personal, physical and mental development, that which affects a high percentage of practitioners. The IMMAF application is the tool that characterizes this paradigm shift. It is an application 100% dedicated to this community which does not have its eye on the belt of world champion, a recreational practitioner who is aware that competitive MMA it is not their vocation, but who seeks their share of recognition for efforts and progress, materialized by a grade. Yes, we can now become an MMA black belt if we give ourselves the will to do so.

    “The application is the ideal tool for coaches, who will have at their fingertips the complete program of technical progress, level by level and technique by technique, for each of their students. This unifying program, common to all members of this new community will weigh very heavily in the world of martial arts and combat sports.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OErZm7W34g&feature=emb_logo
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    Danny Corr Delivers Talk on MMA Pathways Giving a Chance to Youth of Northern Ireland, at Fight For Peace Awards in London https://immaf.org/2019/12/16/danny-corr-delivers-talk-on-mma-pathways-giving-a-chance-to-youth-of-northern-ireland-at-fight-for-peace-awards-in-london/ Mon, 16 Dec 2019 10:22:19 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=31955

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    Danny Corr, founder and chairman of The Ulster Amateur MMA Association visited London upon invitation to the annual Fight for Peace Awards.

    Danny (pictured above coaching his son Jack at the 2017 Amateur MMA World Championships) delivered a talk on the ground-breaking work making waves in Belfast, using the sport of MMA to impact social development within communities and effectively generate cohesion within the youth of Northern Ireland.

    The former Karate competitor and coach of Irish and Northern-Irish national teams, delivered an overview of the ZKJ Dojo’s unique program supported by Laureus Sport For Good Foundation and Fight For Peace.

    Speaking with IMMAF.org, he said: “My club, ZKJ, is among the only organisations across the UK who were awarded support to develop and run an Education and MMA Pathways program, to help young people who have either disengaged from formal learning, or who are struggling due to varying reasons to find their education and move on to further education, employment or training. The project offers the chance of unlimited training at ZKJ, formal education under the guidance of qualified teachers and access to coaching qualifications. This is also combined with vital personal development sessions to help young people build much needed resilience in their lives, probably the most important aspect. This is a culmination of many years volunteering in the community by coaches and ZKJ volunteers, giving young people a chance to train without the usual financial burdens.”

    In 2016 The Ulster Amateur MMA Association concluded its research of pilot program Fight to Unites and discovered inspiring feedback and results on the impact of local youth work through MMA in relation to ongoing issues among young people and formally received high commendation from Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford. Danny’s work has continued to flourish and attract further support ever since

    “When most gyms concentrate on the short term goals we have always looked at longevity and giving people not only an amazing sport but the tools and qualifications to engage in every aspect of life,” Danny explained to IMMAF.org. “To offer recognised qualifications alongside sport specific training is a dream come true. Bringing experts from education and youth work into the gyms breaks down many barriers faced by young people. I have been part of the Fight For Peace Alliance for over 5 years after I was lucky enough to visit the FFP Academy In Mare Favela in Rio. The similarities between their problems and the problems young people in our areas face are all very familiar. This inspired us to develop a similar system in the North alongside the Northern Ireland Youth Forum. It has been hard long work but this year has made a huge difference and will provide a legacy for the future. We can’t just focus of finding the best competitor otherwise we miss all the amazing young people that need our help.”

    On Saturday, December 14, key stakeholders of Northern Ireland’s MMA scene came together, discussing essential communication as the nation moves froward with the development of MMA as a legitimised sport. Danny summarised that in 2020 a big year is expected for MMA Northern Ireland.

    By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran 

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    2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships: Registration Opens https://immaf.org/2019/12/13/2020-immaf-oceania-open-championships-registration-opens/ Fri, 13 Dec 2019 09:29:19 +0000 https://immaf.org/?p=31929

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    *6 – 8 MARCH 2020
    *GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA
    *AUDIENCE ENTRY FREE

         ATHLETE CHECK-IN & TOURNAMENT DRAW: 5 MARCH

    The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is proud to invite amateur MMA athletes from around the world to compete in the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships to be held on the Gold Coast, Australia from 6 – 8 March*, as registration opens today.

    Athletes interested in competing in the three-day, nation vs nation tournament should contact their National Federation for information about how to apply.

    *Athlete Check-In and the Tournament Draw take place on 5 March, with the Tournament commencing on 6 March

    FRIENDS & FAMILY PACKAGES

    Athletes’ friends and family have the opportunity to bring their support and enjoy a holiday on the beautiful Gold Coast through the Friends and Family Package offered by host federation, IMMAFA. For the price of $250 AUD, the package includes:

    * VIP event tickets
    * Accommodation in the official athlete village
    * Breakfast and dinner included

    To register your interest and for further information email klimenko@immaf.org

    GOLD COAST

    The Gold Coast is a stunning tourist destination in Queensland, Australia with its sunny subtropical climate. It is renowned for its surfing beaches, theme parks, nightlife, and rainforest hinterland. The city hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2018.