Recently IMMAF.org interviewed the All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) National Commissioner Daniel Isaac, who highlighted the positive developments and strong momentum that continues to build for MMA regulation in India under the stewardship of the AIMMAA and its national backing from India’s government – click HERE for the article.
AIMMAA is one of IMMAF’s most active members, covering a vast amount of territory and successfully maintaining long term goals as active targets. A widespread understanding and positive perception of the sport in India is key to attracting new participants with the right attitude that will enable progression.
Battling an issue that seems common across the globe, Daniel Isaac explained how misconceptions and money incentives have at times caused confusion among newcomers and those who are eager to compete.
“Anyone and everyone who wants to compete in MMA imagines that they will get paid to fight if they join MMA. Students think that even a club level fight would offer money incentives. They don’t seem to understand that to become a professional athlete there needs to be a starting point, and an amateur stage that requires hard work and perseverance forms part of the journey.”
In our earlier article Daniel highlighted the great relationship between AIMMAA and India’s leading professional organisation, Super Fight League, who have been redeveloped under new management. He believes that the popularity of SFL in earlier years set the tone for current misconceptions by offering amateur fighters the chance to turn professional with paid incentives. In addition to this, a variety of MMA promoters across the nation developed their own habits in uneducated matchmaking. To combat this the AIMMAA continues to provide education and spread awareness across India, including through its licensing system for amateur competitors.
“This I believe is the result not only because of the SFL, which paid many ‘amateur’ level athletes during its early days in India, but also because of many other smaller promotions which are offering money incentives to anyone and everyone who competes on their fight card without checking their background credentials and MMA experience.”
The AIMMAA has established an effective web of opportunities, providing a high volume of platforms that cater for amateurs, professionals and officials alike.
“The AIMMAA has began a drive to develop the amateur circuit across the nation by hosting awareness seminars and camps to help educate martial artists about the difference between amateur and professional events and fighters. We have introduced a ‘fighter license’ system for amateur MMA athletes which maintains a track of their bouts throughout the year. We have created job opportunities for the previous generation of pro fighters who are not getting enough of pro fights in India, and we have introduced an event system where every championship features a main event of at least 4 pro bouts while highlighting amateur bouts in their own right as co-main events. In addition, we have increased the frequency and number of amateur MMA championships and events in our yearly calendar starting in 2016. We have also created a system of giving officials at amateur MMA events a regular platform to gain experience before entering the pro circuit of officiating.
In addition to the extended list of competitive opportunity there is an increased viewership of the sport, and the AIMMAA has kickstarted its own progression scheme that sees experienced coaches and instructors become officially certified and registered.
“AIMMAA recently sanctioned MMA seminars across India where an international MMA fighter from Brazil, Paulo Silva, imparted valuable knowledge and attended the SFL Capital Collision event in Delhi. Two landmark seminars/certification programs were held in Mumbai in 2015 under the aegis of the Mixed Martial Arts Association of Maharashtra (MMAAM ) which were attended by a significant number of Martial arts instructors from traditional martial arts backgrounds, who have been certified as MMA officials.
“A historic Sport MMA event was held in Mumbai in 2015 which featured participation of students from leading educational institutions and universities . Submission wrestling events [ championships & tournaments ] are being promoted across India by AIMMAA recognized state associations. These events offer an impartial non bjj biased platform for grapplers of all wrestling backgrounds including sambo , judo , kushti wrestling and amateur wrestling.
“The 2016 BodyPower India Open MMA Championships has been the AIMMAA’s most successful sanctioned event to date featuring athletes from six countries, 99 amateur bouts, over a hundred Sport MMA and submission wrestling bouts and 4 pro MMA bouts over 3 days. Underdoggs Sports Bar has been promoting a series of MMA fight nights to develop a new culture and concept in India. They have sought AIMMAA sanctioning for both their events and successfully conducted two, one held late last year and one held at the end of Jan 2016.
“Our media partnership with ‘Desi Beatdown’ has increased online viewership and interaction with MMA fans across the country.”
Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran