USA’s Darian Weeks enters the Oceania Open middleweight bracket

Pictured: IMMAF Amateur World Championships veteran Darian Weeks – photo by Jorden Curran

By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran

Middleweight contender Darian Weeks (12-3) is set to represent the USA at IMMAF’s inaugural Oceania Open Championships, taking place from 16-18 March at the Arnold Sports Festival in Melbourne.

In early February, Weeks qualified for the USA’s national amateur team upon advancing to the finals of the 2018 UMMAF National Championships. Laree Hutchinson claimed the Middleweight title via a TKO (injury) and qualified as UMMAF’s primary representative while Weeks remains in line to compete as an alternate.

The 24-year-old returns to the national squad after representing his country for the first time at last year’s IMMAF World Championships in Bahrain; his first experience of the premier international amateur platform after winning the 2017 UMMAF national title.

His debut at the World Championships left a strong impression. Weeks advanced to the quarter-finals of the Middleweight division, opening with a TKO stoppage over Kazakhstan’s Meirambek Demeubayev. Progressing to the final 16, he would grind down Finland’s formidable Jussi Pirttikangas to earn a Unanimous Decision win on the scorecards.

In Melbourne, alongside UMMAF team coach Robert Hulett, Weeks could secure himself a compelling rematch on Australian soil should he once again face Aussie native Joseph Luciano, who is also in the running for the Oceania title at 185lbs, and in his own back yard. The top Australian representative is ranked number 5 in the world at Middleweight (Weeks #13) and claimed a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships, setting back the American with a Unanimous Decision triumph in the final 8.

For more information on the USA national team click HERE
For more information on Australia’s Oceania Open contenders click HERE
For more tournament details of the IMMAF Oceania Open visit MyNextMatch.com

The post USA’s Darian Weeks enters the Oceania Open middleweight bracket appeared first on IMMAF.

United States amateurs qualify for UMMAF national team 2018

Pictured: Chase Boutwell picks up his first international victory at last year’s IMMAF World Championships – photo by Jorden Curran

Written by Dane McGuire, IMMAF U.S. Correspondent

Following a three-day national championship tournament held between February 1-3 in Boonville, MO, USA, the country now has its representatives put forward for IMMAF’s 2018 events circuit, including November’s 2018 IMMAF World Championships of Amatuer MMA.

2018 U.S. National Team as of February 11, per UMMAF:

Men’s 

125lbs: Romeo Orosco
Alternate: Trevor Barnes

135lbs: Sam Paneitz
Alternate: Michael Williams

145lbs: Chase Boutwell

155lbs: Roy Sarabia
Alternate: Kyle Cason

170lbs: Laree Hutchison
Alternate: Darian Weeks

185lbs: Angelo Rivera Jr

205lbs: Joshua Cumbee
Alternate: Toma Walton

265lbs: Darion Abbey
Alternate: Joshua Bush

Women’s 

115lbs: Hannah Scoggins

125lbs: Laneisha Vinson

135lbs: Kia Lola
Alternate: Fotini Kandris

145lbs: Taryn Conklin

155lbs: Dorothy Godwin

Names that stand out include defending national champion Chase Boutwell (Georgia) and 2016 Nationals competitor Taryn Conklin (Wisconsin), both qualify as primary competitors. Fellow previous national champions Darian Weeks (Missouri,) Toma Walton (Missouri,) and Fotini Kandris will serve as alternates. All five athletes return to the national squad as veterans of the IMMAF World Championships.

Hannah Scoggins (South Carolina) was unable to compete for a spot on the national team last year, but did represent the U.S at the 2017 IMMAF Asian Open in Singapore, winning the Women’s Flyweight gold medal. Her presence coincided with husband Justin Scoggins’ bout at UFC Fight Night: Holm vs. Correira, which also went down in Singapore.

IMMAF 2018 events schedule:

2018 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships
16 – 18 March, Melbourne – Australia

2018 IMMAF European Championships
PLUS IMMAF Junior European Open Championships (age 18 -21)
17 – 23 June, Bucharest – Romania

2018 IMMAF Africa Open Championships
24 – 26 May, Johannesburg – South Africa

2018 IMMAF Asian Open Championships
PLUS IMMAF Junior MMA World Championships (age 18 -21)
3 – 8 September, Beijing – China

2018 IMMAF World Championships
November, Manama – Bahrai

In addition, UMMAF announced their first national youth champions since partnering with the United States Fight League (USFL,) which serves as the UMMAF development arm.

Inaugural USFL/UMMAF Youth National Champions (age 8-17) per USFL:

Male

ROOKIES (8-9 years, 65lbs): Brock Taylor
NOVICE (10-11 years, 95lbs): Benjamin Taylor and Brandon Pollock
SCHOOLBOY (12-13 years, 80/85lbs): Xeric Karoutsos
CADET (14-15 years, 185 lbs): Noah White

*ROOKIE and NOVICE are mixed-gender divisions.

Female

SCHOOLGIRL (12-13 years, 135lbs): Zoey Hahn
CADET GIRLS (14-15 years, 120lbs): Shaniyah Carlson

The IMMAF World Championships will return to last year’s host country of Bahrain where the U.S. finished in third place, taking home two bronze and two gold medals last year. America is currently sixth in IMMAF’s team rankings with 3,994 points.

For more information visit UMMAF.org.

The post United States amateurs qualify for UMMAF national team 2018 appeared first on IMMAF.

Australia confirms athletes for IMMAF Oceania Open team

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (IMMAFA) has confirmed the first five athletes set to represent the nation on home soil when Australia hosts the 2018 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships, from 16-18 March at the Arnold Sports Festival in Melbourne. Athlete registration closes on Friday, February 16.

Of the five athletes so far revealed for the Aussie national team, 33-year-old Amber Thompson steps up as the first newcomer to be named. Undefeated at the domestic level, Thompson makes her international debut and enters the Women’s Bantamweight division having gone 3-0 in 2017, including a TKO triumph at the Australian Federation’s national event which has also been an annual fixture of the Arnold Sports Festival.

Alish Smith - photo by Jorden Curran

Alish Smith – photo by Jorden Curran

She will be joined by 21-year-old striking specialist, Alish Smith, Australia’s youngest representative and a veteran of the 2017 Asian Open and World Championships, returning to the Women’s Flyweight division. Look for the young competitor’s brisk kickboxing to be complimented by her evolving ground game.

Welterweight Cody Barnwell, 28, faced an early exit from last year’s Asian Open, but returned for the 2017 World Championships to secure one of three bronze medals captured by the Australian Team. The seasoned kickboxing specialist accumulated over 10 rounds of valuable experience in Bahrain, collecting three decision victories against opposition from South Africa, Italy and Russia to make it as far as the semi-finals.

Sam Lawson defeats Salipa Halangahu via submission (arm-bar) at the 2017 World Championships - phot by Jorden Curran

Sam Lawson defeats Salipa Halangahu via submission (arm-bar) at the 2017 World Championships – phot by Jorden Curran

Sam Lawson, also 28, is set to rejoin the Middleweight ranks after stepping up to Light-Heavyweight for the 2017 World Championships. There, he reached the quarter-finals, snatching respective submission and TKO stoppages in the two prior rounds before being stopped by eventual gold medal winner, Murtaza Talha Ali. As a Middleweight competitor, Lawson picked up bronze at the 2017 Asian Open in Singapore.

Joseph Luciano at the 2017 Asian Open - photo by YKTANG Photography

Joseph Luciano at the 2017 Asian Open – photo by YKTANG Photography

Also entering the Middleweight bracket is 25-year-old Joseph Luciano, the team’s most experienced veteran of the international IMMAF platform. Luciano first impressed as a Welterweight at the 2016 World Championships where he bested prominent Austrian and French standouts, Florian Aberger and Henri Dimitri. Since then, he has competed as a Middleweight and achieved the silver medal as a finalist of the 2017 Asian Open. Most recently, he was awarded bronze at the 2017 World Championships after a trio of victories over Northern Ireland’s Paddy Henderson, top Malaysian champion Theebaan Govindasamy and the USA’s Darian Weeks.

In IMMAF championships alone, Luciano has collected an impressive 7-3 record, only ever losing out to eventual champions or silver medalists. In Melbourne, he will make the push to secure his first IMMAF gold medal and is likely to be a top seed as the world’s #5 ranked middleweight contender.

For more tournament details and team information from the Oceania Open, visit MyNextMatch.com.

IMMAF_XXXXX Oceania Web Banner (1500px x 590px)

The post Australia confirms athletes for IMMAF Oceania Open team appeared first on IMMAF.

Florida promotion XFN aligns with UMMAF

The USA MMA Federation (UMMAF) has announced that South Florida based promotion, Xtreme Fighting Nation (XFN) has opted to align with the North American IMMAF affiliate. Press release below:

Xtreme Fighting Nation, LLC (XFN) features the top up and coming talent from not just the south-east region but also from around the world. Fighters have flown in to compete for the South Florida based promotion from countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Venezuela, Canada, and the list keeps growing.  In 2017, XFN was invited by Unconquered Promotions, a combat sports company owned by a Seminole tribe member, to bring their MMA promotion to the Seminole casinos, and on Nov 2, 2017 made history as the first MMA promotion to be showcased at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

XFN is committed to providing a professional platform for fighters to develop their skills and showcase their talents while delivering quality entertainment to its fans. Through hard work, and a passion for the sport, the XFN team continues to improve the overall experience for the fighters and the fans and is dedicated to increasing their efforts from one show to the next.

“This is a perfect pairing for UMMAF as XFN is well known for not only its first-class reputation in promoting safe, high-quality events but also its international reach already that has brought in veteran IMMAF athletes from around the world to give them a platform for competition here in the US. In addition to their vision for world-class amateur MMA, XFN has developed an integral and exciting promotion that allows for athlete progression onto their professional platform.” – Justin Brown (UMMAF)

XFN President and CEO Daniel Kay adds- “I am very excited to be working with UMMAF to bring a nationally recognized sanctioning body to our promotion. It only adds to the professionalism that we deliver at each event and our two organizations are the perfect compliment to each other. I am a big supporter of their efforts with IMMAF to bring amateur MMA to the Olympics where these athletes can be recognized on the highest level.”

UMMAF is a registered 501(c)3 not for profit organization sponsoring a host of programs dedicated to amateur martial arts. The organization was formulated exclusively for the establishment and development of general practices within amateur Mixed Martial Arts in the USA as the official governing body for MMA in the USA representing the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). The UMMAF is the only organization established, audited and approved by the IMMAF, to develop MMA athletes in the United States for recognition on the World stage in critically important National and International events which will qualify the sport for inclusion in the Sport Accord, which is the next step to Olympic recognition.

X19

The post Florida promotion XFN aligns with UMMAF appeared first on IMMAF.

How Diversity Dominated SIGA’s General Assembly; an Opportunity for Change in Sport

Report by IMMAF Brand, Commercial & Communications Director Isobel Carnwath

Something is blowing in the wind right now; and that appetite for cultural change was no less apparent than at the recent Sport Integrity Global Alliance Forum and General Assembly in Rome (29 – 30 January). The iconic buildings of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) played host to both events, and most significantly to SIGA’s first Council elections.

Launched in 2016, against the backdrop of well publicised corruption in sport and a crisis in public confidence, SIGA has in its formative phase rallied an impressive roster of names with its battle cry to end corruption in the sector. SIGA’s members and supporters include the likes of Mastercard, Deloitte, the European Professional Football Leagues, Dow Jones, PwC, the World Bank and the Commonwealth Games Federation among others. SIGA has even secured the blessing of His Holiness Pope Francis, as a papal message was delivered to delegates via Monsignor Melchor Sánchez de Toca y Alameda, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

(Ironically) at the foot of CONI’s fascist, Mussolini murals of the 1930s (main picture), SIGA’s members seemed more readily stirred than even its founders had anticipated in their collective push for better diversity through the echelons of the emerging movement. In the wake of #MeToo which seems to have sparked a flame for naming an elephant in the room, SIGA members ran the torch all the way home.

Densign SofiaSIGA has from the outset been broad in its inclusion of non-Olympic and unrecognised sports, a mark of its commitment to challenging to the ‘Old Boys’ network. Indeed, the newly elected Council includes two representatives of unrecognised governing bodies, International Mixed Martial Arts Federation CEO Densign White (pictured) and E-Sports Integrity Commissioner, Ian Smith. White also stands as current Chairman of Sporting Equals, which works to promote representation of disadvantaged Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities in UK sport.

SIGA has too demonstrated its desire to give a platform to younger voices. In the latter part of 2017, SIGA added Youth Protection to its pillars of Good Governance, Financial Integrity and Betting Integrity. Young representatives invited to speak at the Integrity Forum included Special Olympic Athlete Gilmour Borg and SIGA’s Millennials Matter representative, Jade Beason.

However, SIGA’s members demanded deeper inclusivity in the appointment of its inaugural, elected Council and in the prioritisation of the organisation’s activities for 2018.

SIGA Council Member, Brian Lewis (CANOC)

SIGA Council Member, Brian Lewis (CANOC)

Ad Interim (and now elected) Council Member Brian Lewis of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees was instrumental in highlighting the need for a more diverse representation of both gender and ethnicity in SIGA. He cast the organisation’s ultimate chances of success as interwoven with its capacity for broader cultural engagement. He also asserted that SIGA cannot afford to become an elite club that excludes the poor. In doing so, he set the tone.

Going into the General Assembly, thirteen men had applied for Council roles. The absence of women as nominees generated vocal calls from members for gender diversity, led affirmingly by male proposers. In response, Chairman Franco Frattini recommended and co-opted, on-the-spot, four female members to the council – Angela Melo (UNESCO), Salam Al Shawa (Qatar Airways), Cindy McCain (McCain Institute) and Shellie Pfohl (US Center for SafeSport), which in turn increased the Council’s ethnic mix. It was further agreed that Youth representatives should be recruited to the Council and to each of the SIGA panels. Frattini fairly pointed out to the membership its collective responsibility for nominating applicants for SIGA roles.

Salam Al Shawa, SIGA Council Member

SIGA Council Member,Salam Al Shawa (Qatar Airways)

Other proposed initiatives include a SIGA roadshow in 2018 to take the integrity issue out to a pancontinental audience, and Chairman Frattini also committed to a review of SIGA’s membership and revenue structures.

Diversity is of course a broad canvas, and delivering equal representation across gender, ethnicity, culture, age and economic status can be challenging. Meanwhile, the most immediate challenge to SIGA’s mission is the same as of almost any start-up –  consolidation of funding to build an administrative team armed to square with the colossal task ahead. But if the team, led by new CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, can effectively harness this impetus it could initiate a far deeper change in sports culture:

The idealisation of amateur sport originated in European class systems, its administration has roots in elite British boarding schools and these values and structures were proliferated through the Empire. A movement born now has unprecedented potential to challenge deeply entrenched values in the sporting establishment and to maybe even pioneer its reconstruction.

For information about the Sport Integrity Global Alliance go to siga-sport.net
Follow @SIGAlliance on Twitter

sigagmt361-800x460

FIGMMA's Saverio Longo & Vito Paollilo with IMMAF's Isobel Carnwath & Gosha Malik at the SIGA GA

Representing MMA at the SIGA GA: FIGMMA’s Saverio Longo & Vito Paollilo with IMMAF’s Isobel Carnwath & Gosha Malik

The post How Diversity Dominated SIGA’s General Assembly; an Opportunity for Change in Sport appeared first on IMMAF.