London: The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced the mandatory requirement for under-eighteens to be graded under IMMAF as a condition of entry into its Youth Championships.

The criteria will apply for the first time at the 2021 IMMAF Youth World Championships, scheduled for July or August with details to be finalised. The entry requirements will be added to IMMAF Championships Handbooks, and screening processes implemented.  

From July 2021, grading levels required of youth participants across IMMAF Championships will be as follows:

From July 2021
Youth Championships (16 – 17)yellow
Youth Championships (14 – 15)yellow
Youth Championships (12 – 13)yellow

In 2022 and beyond, the grading requirements across IMMAF Championships will be:

In 2022 and beyond
Youth Championships (16 – 17)orange
Youth Championships (14 – 15)yellow
Youth Championships (12 – 13)yellow

The decision was made by the IMMAF Board on 16 December, following a 360° review of the IMMAF Progression Pathway and its relationship to the Competition Pathway – spanning the Coaching, Youth and Regulatory Committees and IMMAF’s Membership. An earlier proposal that grading qualifications should be required of adult athletes has been revoked.

IMMAF promotes the IMMAF Talent Development Pathway – a technical progression scheme – as the tool to establish standards across the sport of MMA.  IMMAF Grades assessments are marked and recorded by IMMAF certified coaches using the IMMAF App, available for free from the App store and Google Play.

IMMAF Director of Development Andrew Moshanov said: “We have carried out a lot of work on the coach education and certification front and are happy that the vast majority of IMMAF member nations now have competent, certified coaches who are authorised to roll out the grading of athletes. We should always remember that the grading of young athletes is an important part of their journey in the sport. It provides recognition of their progress, which is paramount, regardless of whether they decide to enjoy MMA purely as a recreational, non-competitive pastime or they wish to try competing. For the latter group of children and teenagers, the 2021 Youth World Championships may be their first international, competitive experience and it is therefore critical that we comply with the requirements of international sport and youth policies and implement safety standards.” “In the lead up to the Youth Worlds, we will run a series of webinars for the national federations, in which we will explain the gradings process and answer any questions.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “The institution of an entry-level, standard for IMMAF’s youth competitors is a significant milestone in the development of MMA, raising the levels of safety and legitimacy at the grassroots and amateur levels. This will in time enhance the quality of upcoming talent right up through the competitive amateur and professional ranks of the sport.”

IMMAF will be issuing more detailed information and guidance to National Federations. Please contact your National Federation for further information.

Download the pioneering IMMAF application at the App Store or Google Play Store 


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