London: The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) held its quarterly Board meeting virtually on Wednesday where the focus was on the long awaited return to competition for athletes to IMMAF competitions.
Return to Competition in 2021 & 2022
In a presentation by International Events Director Alistair Pettit, the IMMAF Board were given an overview of entry numbers and a summary of the issues faced by all in respect to COVID-19.
Alistair also took the Board through a provisional schedule for 2022 events, gave updates on the proposed scope and activities of the IMMAF Host bidding committee to secure sustainable revenue streams from future host city bids.
For 2021, IMMAF is returning to action with a bang with the Youth World Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, the European Senior and Junior championships in Kazan, Russia, and a new grand prix style event in Czech Republic (Senior and Junior World Cup – Prague) with the climax of the season coming at the Junior and seniors World Championships in Kazakhstan at the end of November.
With the fluid, ever changing public health landscape caused by the pandemic, the usual event planning processes have been challenging for all involved, but IMMAF’s member federations are ready to start sending teams to events. Over 370 athletes have registered to participate in the Youth World Championships, exceeding numbers that attended the inaugural edition held in Rome back in 2019.
The 2022 events calendar is very dynamic. IMMAF aims to have all the Juniors and Seniors Continentals completed before the end of June. This then allows time to host the World Championships and Team World Championships within the same calendar year, with enough space between the last continental event and the World Championships. This equates to roughly, an event every month in 2022 which offering an incredible volume of competition opportunities for IMMAF athletes.
Officials’ Online Education & Electronic Scoring System
In other news, the Director of Regulatory Affairs Marc Goddard gave an update to the Board on the ongoing progress of IMMAF’s online education and certification programme which has been keenly appreciated by members. Marc also took the Board through the timeline for the introduction of a new state of the art electronic scoring system, developed in co-operation with UFC, which will be introduced at IMMAF competitions for the first time in 2021.
MMA Achieves Recognition in Lebanon & Estonia
In Membership news, the credibility of IMMAF as the legitimate world governing body for MMA has been strengthened with the news that IMMAF’s national federation affiliates in Estonia and in the Lebanon have now secured recognition from the Estonian Olympic Committee and the Lebanese Ministry of Sport.
New Youth Safety Rule
In IMMAF Commission news, the IMMAF Coaching Commission, Youth Development Commission and Medical Commission made a recommendation, accepted by the Board, to have a minimum recovery time of 15 minutes between fights at IMMAF Youth competitions.
Most other combat sports have similar policies, which are part of their sports codes. Judo and Sambo apply the rule of a minimum 10 minutes between the matches. Wrestling applies 20 minutes. Sports involving headshots have a longer minimum recovery time between matches, but IMMAF dissallows head strikes for youth competitors. With IMMAF putting the safety and welfare of participants as a priority, the Board agreed to commit to 15 minutes and for it to be implemented at the upcoming 2021 Youth World Championships in Sofia.
Transgender Policy Steering Group
Finally, the IMMAF Board agreed to set up a new IMMAF Transgender Policy Steering Group which plans to hold its first meeting in July. This will consist of a core team of members with other knowledge experts joining when required. Chaired by IMMAF Vice President George Sallfeldt, the transgender steering group also includes transgender athlete Martin Dahl of Norway and Tracy Sundlun of the USA, who represent the influential Women’s Sports Policy Working Group.
The next IMMAF Board Meeting will take place in September, during the IMMAF Senior and Junior World Cup in Prague.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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