IMMAF – WMMAA Releases Under 18s MMA Rules

The unified global governing body for MMA (mixed martial arts), IMMAF – WMMAA is proud to announce the publication of its Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules for Youth Competition. The Under 18s rule sets were approved today by the Board ahead of the inaugural 2019 Youth MMA World Championships, scheduled for August 3 to 4 in Rome.

The established IMMAF – WMMAA Amateur MMA Rules have been modified with respect to the physiological development of the following three age categories, as advised by IMMAF – WMMAA’s expert medical, coaching and regulatory committees. The most notable restriction for all youth divisions is that strikes to the head are not permitted.

• IMMAF Youth A 16-17s (U18)
• IMMAF Youth B 14-15s (U16)
• IMMAF Youth C 12-13s (U14)

IMMAF – WMMAA CEO Densign White said:

“This is a hugely important developmental step for IMMAF – WMMAA. With the sport originating on a professional platform, IMMAF was initially reticent to promote youth development. But due to demand from the MMA community and its members, and the fact that members have been running youth events without guidance from an international authority, it has become a growing responsibility for us to provide governance for under 18s participation in the sport.

“Following lengthy research, discussions and review at committee, member and board level, it’s good to have finally achieved a consensus. The decision not to permit head-shots for minors received unanimous approval from the board today due to overwhelming evidence of physiological and psychological risk provided by our medical committee.

“There were of course concerns raised over whether this restriction would enable youth to receive sufficient preparation for transition to senior level. However, it was countered that performance at senior level is not necessarily determined by sport specific training from a young age, as many skills are transferable across sport and no evidence was presented of any disadvantage.

“Importantly, youth development will boost the growth of our sport and federations, and I passionately believe this is where our main focus should be, on building MMA’s base and the grass roots.”

View the full Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules for Youth Competition here

Competitor registration will  open for the 2019 Cadet MMA World Championships in April.

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Amateur Martial Arts Shine At BODYPOWER Mumbai With MMA India

Pictured: MMA expo director Sharif Bapu (center, left) with 1000 competing martial artists at BODYPOWER Mumbai 2019

Amateur MMA in India continues to produce encouraging competitor turnout across grass roots events, within the nation’s flourishing martial arts scene.

In January, India’s biggest sports expo, BODYPOWER, kicked off the 2019 circuit of marquee amateur championships. 230 amateur mixed martial artists were among the 1000 participants spanning MMA, BJJ and karate contests, in addition to open-mat MMA for athletes below the age of 18, plus members of India’s national team to IMMAF and WMMAA championships and guest competitors from Germany, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal and UAE.

The MMA competition was sanctioned by national regulatory body, MMA India, headed by president Suresh Gopi and national director Ajit Sigamani. At the latest MMA India board meeting certified IMMAF officials, with experience at IMMAF-WMMAA international championships, were appointed to leading roles including Prasad Gaitonde as MMA India vice-president and Sharif Bapu as general secretary.

Competitors were applauded and champions crowned across 9 senior level men’s divisions from strawweight to heavyweight, and 3 women’s divisions: strawweight, flyweight and featherweight. MMA India’s national championships are expected to take place later in the year.

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36 Gyms Represented at Afghanistan MMA Federation Seminar Day

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

On February 7 the Afghanistan MMA Federation hosted its 5th educational seminar for national coaches and officials.

Hosted in the center of Afghanistan, MMA officials and representatives of 36 gyms participated in the national federation’s latest seminar day, covering rules and regulations of MMA and principles of coaching and judging, presented by active professional athlete Baz Mohammad Mubariz, a pioneer of MMA in Afghanistan and president of the Afghan Federation. In 2015, FIGHTLAND and Vice Sports covered MMA’s development and the work of Mubariz on the streets of Kabul.

The federation, which enjoys some government support, reported a successful event fulfilling the continuous goal of implementing a national standard and unified understanding for the capacities of coaches and judges, at events and in gyms nationwide.

In June of 2018, Afghan-born UFC star Siyar Bahadurzada revealed passionate aspirations for nourishing youth development in Afghanistan. The nation’s top MMA standout joined the UFC in 2012 and holds an overall pro record of 24-7-1.

The Afghan Federation achieved recognition under IMMAF following the 2018 amalgamation of IMMAF and WMMAA, the world’s leading global regulatory bodies. It’s understood that Afghanistan hopes to dispatch a national amateur team for the first time later this year, potentially at the 2019 IMMAF – WMMAA Asian Open Championships in Thailand.

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IMMAF-WMMAA Championship Athletes Receive Honors at Annual Czech Martial Arts Evening

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By lead writer, Jorden Curran

Standout amateur mixed martial artists of the Czech Republic were recently awarded honors following their representation of the Czech national team at IMMAF and WMMAA international championship events in 2018.

The annual “Night of Masters” ceremony is hosted by the Czech Union of Martial Arts, a government umbrella body for the nation’s recognized combat sports. Mr. Michal Hamrsmid, president of the Czech Association of MMA, alongside the president of the Czech Union of Martial Arts, presented awards to the MMA standouts and praised them for excellent representation of the Czech Republic and Czech Association of MMA at the international level.

The Czech Union of Martial Arts is a National Olympic Committee member which, in addition to MMA, covers 22 sport associations, including Olympic disciplines such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, plus full contact sambo.

Athletes who received honors included Manh Cuong Nguyen – welterweight bronze medalist of the 2018 WMMAA European Championships in Spain, Tim Ha – senior men’s featherweight quarter-finalist of the 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA Unified World Champions in Bahrain, and Lucie Vacová – 2018 Unified World Championships bronze medalist in the senior women’s bantamweight division.

At the historic first IMMAF – WMMAA Unified World Championships, Vacová made her international amateur MMA debut after achieving success at the national level. The 30-year-old athlete entered the senior women’s bantamweight bracket with vast international experience as a decorated amateur muay thai champion.

Following a split-decision win over promising Lebanese competitor Lama Nassar, Vacová advanced to the quarter-finals where she bested Sweden’s reigning IMMAF European Open champion, Frida Vastamäki, setting up a stunning first round TKO with effective striking to book her place in the World Championships semi-final.

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Marc Goddard Joins IMMAF – WMMAA Administration as Director Of Regulatory Affairs.

The unified global governing body for MMA (mixed martial arts), IMMAF – WMMAA, is proud to announce that renowned referee Marc Goddard will be joining its administrative team as Director of Regulatory Affairs.

Marc Goddard has served in a voluntary capacity on IMMAF’s Regulatory Affairs Committee since 2012 and already acts as lead on officials’ education and licensing, and as Head Official across IMMAF – WMMAA Championship events.

The administrative appointment extends the Brit’s role in the rapidly expanding area of sport policy-making and regulation, as IMMAF – WMMAA prepares for its first under 18s MMA Championships in Rome this August. The world governing body also faces growing demand from government organisations and commercial promoters for support with the sanctioning and commissioning of professional, as well as amateur MMA events.

Marc Goddard is well respected across the international MMA scene, having been involved in the sport since its inception. A former MMA and submission grappling competitor and coach, Marc moved into the officiating side of the sport to fast become the referee of choice for the UK’s leading promotions. He went on to become the first British referee appointed by the UFC and the first to be licensed in the United States, including under the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Marc has since officiated in more than forty countries and is a familiar face to MMA fans through his arbitration of some of the biggest matches in the sport, including UFC world championship contests.

Marc has been a long-time ambassador for competitor safety in MMA, establishing the original MMA Referees and Judges Course in the United Kingdom and being a founder of the Safe MMA medical project in 2012, of which he is now a trustee.

Marc Goddard commented:

“I’m very excited to be working more deeply with the IMMAF – WMMAA. Amateur mixed martial arts, and the safe, correct and applied growth of this sport is something that has always been close to my heart. Having been in an advisory role to the IMMAF from the beginning, to be able to work more closely with the organisation and assist its growth, direction and acceptance worldwide for the future generations of this amazing sport both inspires and excites me. Let’s go!”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“On behalf of IMMAF – WMMAA I would like to give a big welcome to Marc to the administration team. IMMAF – WMMAA can only benefit from the wealth of Marc’s knowledge and experience, and the well-earned credibility that he brings. There is much onus on IMMAF – WMMAA now to increase its support to the regulation of MMA worldwide, and to implement safety structures beyond the scope of the amateur sport. Marc will be instrumental to our work and progress in this area.”

WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein said:

“Marc’s professionalism, experience and reputation speak for themselves in the world of MMA. Knowing the sport from the inside, he has been successfully educating and expanding the pool of the amateur officials for years now and having him join the IMMAF-WMMAA administration team is undoubtedly a valuable addition.”

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