Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced the renewal of its partnership with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) through which it will continue to support the safe practices and promotion of amateur mixed martial arts.
UFC and IMMAF have in the past collaborated and shared information and expertise in areas of sport development that are of mutual interest, including anti-doping and event sanctioning.
Since its launch in 2012, IMMAF has partnered with 70 national federations. It has hosted four nation vs. nation, amateur MMA World Championships, with three taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, as part of UFC International Fight Week™. IMMAF has also expanded its continental series of tournaments to cover Asia, Oceania, Europe and Africa. In 2018, IMMAF will host its 5th annual IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA in Bahrain.
The news follows the announcement of the merger of IMMAF with the World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) last month for the global unification of the sport of MMA and boost its ambition to become part of the Olympic Movement. The alliance was forged to facilitate MMA sports recognition with one joint application to be made to the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF – formerly SportAccord) as its criteria mandates only one governance application can be made per sport.
UFC Senior Exec. Vice President and COO Ike Lawrence Epstein said, “We are thrilled to renew our partnership and provide continued global support of IMMAF that has done a remarkable job of promoting the sport of amateur mixed martial arts from a grassroots level and serving as a conduit for higher safety and regulatory standards. UFC is proud to further its alignment with IMMAF as they consistently produce top-tier amateur events around the world.”
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said, “On behalf of IMMAF, I would like to thank both UFC and owners, Endeavor, for their continued support and commitment to the development of the sport of mixed martial arts at all levels. UFC is renowned as the pioneer of modern-day MMA, and we are honoured by this partnership which pays great tribute to IMMAF’s successes to date.”
IMMAF is working to obtain international recognition for the sport of MMA from the GAISF, the global umbrella body for all established sports, as part of its pledge to see its ‘Olympic’ style, amateur MMA tournaments into the Games. Currently, half of IMMAF’s member federations are recognized by their National Olympic Committees.