In June the GEMMAF was officially elected to represent Germany in the IMMAF as an observation member. Since then the board has worked hard to get operations up and running, building among other things a webpage that recently went live (www.gemmaf.de). In an interview with President Tom Madsen he outlines the work ahead.
“We are very excited to be part of the IMMAF and to start this journey of promoting and developing MMA in Germany. Currently we are finishing the GEMMAF education plans for referees, instructors, national team coaches and the graduation panel – all key areas in order to start the work of ensuring high-level, consistent education throughout the country.”
The board has been bringing in more people into the organization to be able to keep up the pace with all the things that need to get done. Volunteers are welcome to sign up and join the effort. The main values that the GEMMAF has set up are Democracy, Fair Play, Anti-doping and Team Work. They are committed to focusing on getting a set of fair rules for competition in place as soon as possible.
“We have started preparing for try-outs for the German national team in amateur MMA,” says Madsen, “and we are very excited to see how that turns out. We just started planning and will communicate later on regarding rules, location, dates and so forth. Our goal is to have the best official national team possible for Germany and I’m sure that we will succeed. There is a lot of talent and dedication in our MMA community”
In a country as large as Germany getting a national federation in place isn’t easy, hence the IMMAF early on issued Mr. Madsen, an IMMAF board member, with the task of getting the German MMA community together and making sure that all parties were included.
“Through the years of working for this sport I have been fortunate enough to know a lot of decent and interesting people.” says Madsen. “It was clear to me from the start that the first people working on this endeavour needed to be empathic and have a background within MMA and/or a sound instinct for fairness. These people also needed to have the will as well as the ability to create an organization ready to construct the current and future frame for this great sport in Germany.”
Starting out, Mr. Madsen consulted among others Mr. Willy Steinky in listing the key players that needed to be contacted. Mr. Steinky is the owner of Groundandpound Magazine, one of Europe’s biggest magazines for MMA, and is a man with a strong background in MMA and tremendous knowledge across all clubs and organizations. Another person that became key to the project in its early days was Mr. Andreas Stockmann, a German promoter who among other things led the German M-1 team. Mr. Stockman was also the President of the former German Free-Fight Association.
“As often within MMA in any given country, there are a few people who do a lot for the sport and that others turn to, and these people we made sure to include early on. Once we started listing names and reaching out further and further into the MMA community things started happening quite fast. An important factor that made way for success was that the German Free-Fight Association agreed to merge with the new GEMMAF to make room for a pure MMA federation” says Madsen.
The current GEMMAF board consists of seven members: Lutz Heyden, Mirko Kannenwischer, Tom Madsen, Human Nikmaslak, Andreas Schmidt, Willy Steinky and Andreas Stockmann. Together they bring experience from various fields within MMA – competing, refereeing, coaching, teaching and promoting, as well as other areas such as marketing, media and logistics.
Mr. Madsen concludes the interview by stressing that the GEMMAF has a long list of tasks to perform.
“Aside from the work of building the federation from the inside for the benefit of the unique sportsmen who train MMA, we also have to work on the public side. No doubt, this sport is up and coming and no doubt many people like it. But we have a lot of potential to expand the fan base and include the people who still don’t know enough about MMA due to limited media coverage. I am sure that when we succeed to educate more people on this great sport and tell them what it is really about – they will also follow it much more closely.”