Lee Hammond qualifies to represent Ireland in IMMAF 2018, watch the replay here

Pictured above: Hammond (left) battles Ferdun Osmanov in the 2016 IMMAF European Open Finals

By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran

22-year-old Lee Hammond recently qualified for Ireland’s national amateur MMA team, set to compete at international IMMAF championships throughout 2018.

The Dubliner and SBG Ireland product took on MMA Cork’s Jack Monahan in a 2018 lightweight qualifying bout. After a pressing start from Monahan who sought to pin Hammond against the fence, Hammond dragged his opposition into deep waters on the ground and found his way to sinking in a rear-naked-choke submission in the second round. Replay at bottom of the page.

Hammond, a regular training partner of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, will now once again represent his country on the international IMMAF platform. Having been forced to withdraw from the 2017 IMMAF World Championships due to injury, he was replaced by Ciaran Clarke who showcased an impressive run of form in Bahrain, eliminating number-one seed Tobias Harila (Sweden) and narrowly missed out on a guaranteed medal after a split-decision loss in the quarter-finals to eventual silver medalist Vitali Andruhovich (Belarus).

Hammond returns to the Irish MMA Association (IMMAA) squad having last featured at the 2016 European Open Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, where he earned the silver medal in the Men’s lightweight division. He also earned bronze the previous year, at the 2015 European Open in Birmingham, UK.

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IMMAF’s prolific 2018 continued to unfold this past week

By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran

IMMAF’s most prolific and eventful year to date continues to unfold at a sensational pace.

Over the past week, IMMAF has been engaged in a variety of activity with major developments taking place that will impact upcoming announcements and progression for years to come.

March 4-5
The week began following the mention via IMMAF on Twitter (@IMMAFed) that President Kerrith Brown and Chief Executive Densign White had met in London with UFC COO Lawrence Epstein. The two organisations discussed key details such as worldwide regulation and anti-doping as the World’s leading MMA promotion continues to support Amateur MMA and the reach of its international governing body.

On March 5 the IMMAF team welcomed to London former European and World gold medalist Leah McCourt, plus former European silver medalist Mario Moreno Hortinha, for a day of filming for promotional video content. The duo shared their inspirational and extraordinary stories for an upcoming film that takes a look at why MMA deserves to be a recognised sport with the amateur format earning its place in the Olympic Games.  

Northern Ireland’s Leah McCourt showcased herself in a terrific amateur tenure on the IMMAF platform. The Judo blackbelt and BJJ champion won gold medals at the 2015 IMMAF European Open and 2016 World Championships. Moreno Hortinha entered the 2017 European Open for Portugal as an unseeded, unranked outsider. His determination and emotion thrilled all in attendance as he secured one victory after another to make it all the way to the Bantamweight championship final.

March 7
There’s no rest for the IMMAF heads as CEO Densign White makes his way to Paris, France, while President Kerrith Brown heads to Manama, Bahrain.

As a member of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), IMMAF was present in Paris for the SIGA event honoring gender equality and good governance in sport. France’s 2017 IMMAF world champion Manon Fiorot gave a speech on equal gender rights, in addition to the IMMAF CEO who also serves on the SIGA Council.

Meanwhile, the IMMAF President was in Bahrain for the official announcement of the nation serving as hosts for the 2018 and 2019 IMMAF World Championships. Mr Brown and Col. Al Khayyat, President of the Bahrain MMA Federation, signed hosting agreements at the first press conference of this year’s event.

March 8

IMMAF steps up its pursuit for WADA signatory status in order to ensure safety within the sport for generations to come. Also, seeds are planted for an all new legacy in the region of Oceania. Director of International Events, Alistair Pettitt, traveled to Australia where he joins organisers from the International MMA Federation of Australia (IMMAFA) to oversee the 2018 Oceania Open Championships.

On March 8 IMMAF publicity announced the filing of a civil lawsuit against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

IMMAF is disputing the rejection of its application to become a WADA signatory on the grounds of infringement to its personality rights according to Swiss law. Although IMMAF meets all WADA criteria, the agency which was founded to independently protect and support participant safety in sport, rejected IMMAF’s application. The sole reason given was rebuttal by other recognised International Sports Federations, mainly combat sports federations.

WADA’s rejection has wide reaching impact on the development of the sport of MMA.

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Old School vs. New School: what’s at stake as Jack Shore faces UFC vet Vaughan Lee

Photo credit: Cage Warriors

By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran

Former IMMAF European champion Jack Shore (pictured) takes on the biggest challenge of his professional career to date when he faces UFC veteran Vaughan Lee at Cage Warriors 92: Super Saturday on March 24 at the O2 Indigo in London.

The highlight encounter serves as a compelling eliminator to decide the number-one contender to the Cage Warriors bantamweight title, currently held by Nathanial Wood who aims to defend the crown in the event’s headline collision against Italian Luca Iovine.

For Shore, the contest marks his first career milestone since turning professional in 2016 and quickly finding himself on the Cage Warriors roster, building a name for himself, remaining undefeated and “on fire” with an undefeated 7-0 record. The 23-year-old Welshman has been prolific in his exploits, snatching all seven triumphs via stoppage, boasting 5 submissions, but not without a pair of stylish TKO’s adding to his highlight reel and reputation as a devastating and increasingly well rounded competitor.

In 2012, he made his amateur debut in Wales for an undefeated amateur tenure that came to and end in late 2015 upon winning the 2015 IMMAF European Open Championships in Birmingham.

Shore claimed the gold medal in the Men’s Lightweight bracket as he secured four victories in three days, including a first round submission of Bulgaria’s Ferdun Osmanov, another young challenger who would go on to earn silver at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships in addition to winning back-to-back European Open titles in 2016 and 2017.

Shore represents the best of an up-and-coming generation, and so, what better litmus test than that of Vaughan Lee (pictured below) – the former UFC contender fondly remembered for his own well rounded and energetic showcases of clinical striking and submission prowess.

Vaughan LeeAt age 35 Lee has been to the heights of the sport. By the time that Shore had taken part in his first amateur bout, Lee was already a UFC contender with a career highlight submission victory over the highly touted “Kid” Yamamoto. Securing an arm-bar submission in the opening round of their 2012 meeting, Lee was the first and only man to categorically finish the Japanese star beyond a TKO in 2002, of which was forced due to a cut sustained in the opening seconds.

Lee embodies all that is associated with old school martial arts. He is a philosophical warrior with career longevity, originating from Kung Fu and the Jeet Kune Do (JKD) system inspired by Bruce Lee. As an avid proponent of the spirituality entwined with martial arts, his motivation through spirit has only grown wiser in the later stages of his career.

Lee finds himself with the opportunity for redemption and a potential rematch with Nathaniel Wood. In his first bout since 2015, the seasoned veteran suffered a TKO loss at the hands of the reigning CWFC champion. Against Shore, he continues on a quest for resurgence, aiming to best the front runners of a new generation as both Shore and Wood pursue the trail of the pioneering old guard.

Cage Warriors 92 airs live from 9pm on UFC Fight Pass on March 24.

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• NOVEMBER 2018 & 2019, MANAMA


Yesterday, the 2018 and 2019 IMMAF World Championships were officially confirmed for Manama, Bahrain, as contracts were signed between the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) and the Bahrain MMA Federation (BMMAF).

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and BMMAF President and Bahrain Olympic Committee Director, President Col. Al Khayyat, inked the agreement at a press conference organised at the Art Rotana Hotel, in Amwaj Islands (Bahrain) by the BMMAF, and directed by journalist Mohammed Darwish.

It can now be revealed that the 2018 IMMAF World Championships will take place at the Khalifa Sport City Arena in Isa Town, during the week commencing 11 November. The nation vs nation Amateur MMA tournament will play out over five days again as part of Brave International Combat Week, with support from the royal HHSK Media Office.

Last year’s World Championships broke participation records with close to 250 athletes representing 48 competing nations, and the 2018 event has potential to double participation due to the anticipated expansion of IMMAF over the next six months.

The 2019 IMMAF World Championships is also scheduled for Manama during the same month the following year, with dates yet to be confirmed. Additionally, IMMAF’s next General Assembly will take place in Bahrain during competition week.

The driving force for the Bahraini MMA, His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, said:

“We are proud that Bahrain will be hosting the fifth and sixth editions of the world mixed martial arts championship for amateurs. We are devoting efforts to making Bahrain a major destination in the region for the hosting of different international events and championships. Our hosting (of the IMMAF Championships) for the three consecutive years serves as international recognition of the abilities Bahrain has to make any event held on its soil successful. The hosting (of the IMMAF World Championships) puts Bahrain among the most advanced countries in the world in the development of the sport of MMA…. We appreciate the trust of IMMAF in choosing Bahrain to host the event this year and next.”

The Sheikh also paid tribute to the patronage of his brother, His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (Chairman of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports, President of the Bahrain Olympic Committee and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Charity Organisation), which has enabled the development of his vision for the sport of MMA and the hosting of IMMAF World Championships.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“We are pleased to return to the Kingdom of Bahrain and to grant it the rights to host and organise the fifth and sixth IMMAF World Championships. Our trust in Bahrain follows the success and distinction that Bahrain achieved in hosting in the fourth edition of the Championships in 2017”.

National Olympic Committee Director and BMMAF President, Col. Al Khayyat added : “We are ready for the challenge and the opportunity that Bahrain has been given to distinguish itself again in delivering the fifth and sixth editions (of the IMMAF World Championships).”

Athletes interested in competing in IMMAF tournaments should contact their national, IMMAF affiliated federation.

To keep up to speed with news updates, follow on Twitter:

2018 press conference


IMMAF President signs off on 2018/19 World Championships in Bahrain

Contracts signed: BMMAF president Col. Al Khayyat (left) alongside IMMAF president Kerrith Brown (right)

Contracts signed: BMMAF president Col. Al Khayyat (left) alongside IMMAF president Kerrith Brown (right)

This week IMMAF President Kerrith Brown signed off on the Kingdom of Bahrain serving as hosts of the 2018 and 2019 IMMAF World Championships on Amateur MMA – continuing on from the success of 2017.

The announcement was officially made on March 7 at a press conference in Manama, hosted by the Bahrain Mixed Martial Arts Federation (BMMAF).

The location of the next two IMMAF World Championships was made official as the IMMAF President and Col. Al Khayyat, President of the Bahrain MMA Federation, signed the hosting agreements for 2018 and 2019.

The fifth IMMAF World Championships sees the World’s premier amateur MMA event return to the city of Manama later this year. Bahrain first hosted the championships in 2017 after the previous three years were hosted by the USA in Las Vegas.

The nation vs. nation, World Amateur Championships take place during late November and will lead into early December, dates to be confirmed.

The 2017 IMMAF World Championships broke participation records with close to 250 athletes representing 48 competing nations across 14 competitive weight divisions.

Athletes wishing to participate should contact their national federation for information about local tryouts and event updates.

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