Question: Does IMMAF plan to “rule” the world of MMA and regulate both amateur and professional MMA everywhere?
No, first and foremost the IMMAF will organize national federations around the world. We will be the international “hub” that all these federations can come together in and discuss everything from safety to grassroots’ recreational MMA and more. The board has appointed a technical committee that has started investigating best practice around the world and later on that committee will suggest a framework for amateur MMA rules that the IMMAF will recommend. Then it will be up to each national federation, whether a member of the IMMAF or not, if they want to adopt that rule set. It will be optional.

In a later stage we will organize international competitions and there one can of course only compete under one set of rules, and these will be the IMMAF rules. So again any country or organization can always use their own rule set but when competing with others in the future world championships of MMA they will be competing under IMMAF rules. How they plan training, national competitions and so forth is up to them. One can compare this to ice hockey and the NHL: in the world championships and the Olympics one set of rules are used by all competing teams. But then the NHL has their league and they have a different size of rink and different rules on tackling. The International ice hockey federation hasn’t forbidden the NHL to do what they want in the US and Canada, their only concern is that all national teams compete under international rules in the world championships. So in this regard as in most others the IMMAF strives to ensure that MMA functions just like any other world sport.

The technical committee will also later on investigate and formulate recommendations for rules in recreational MMA and policies for the progression of practitioners from one level to the next. Again, these will not be mandatory regulations; this will be done for the purpose of supporting the member countries in their work on ensuring health and safety.

When it comes to professional MMA, the IMMAF won’t regulate that. We support the Unified rules and recommend that all national federations adopt them for professional competitions in their country. The creation of IMMAF has already lead to a surge of national federations forming all over the world, and hopefully these national federations will gain formal recognition from their governments and the right to sanction professional events in countries where there is no formal governance of professional events today. That way health and safety can be ensured in countries where there is no regulation at all, which is the case in most parts of the world, a situation that has been detrimental to the sport. For this purpose the IMMAF will continuously educate on MMA and support its members in their attempts to seek formal recognition in their respective countries. For more information on national federations, go to the heading Members.

Question: How many applications for membership have IMMAF received?
There has been a great response from all over the world. Applications from over 50 organizations in over 35 countries were received within two weeks of the IMMAF’s formation announcement. As of October 1st 2012 we have gotten applications from a total of 64 countries out of which 15 have been approved as members, and there are currently 95 pending applications from 49 countries. In addition, there have been numerous offers from people wanting to volunteer as well as those who just want to voice their support.

Question: If there is more than one organization in a country that wants to be the national federation, do you pick one of them?
We are a democratic organization bound by our statutes and according to them membership is available to any MMA organization which groups together the majority of the MMA organizations and clubs throughout a nation as well as holds regular national competitions. If in any country there is more than one such federation, the IMMAF will accept among its members the one officially recognized by the National Olympic Committee or the governmental sport authority of the country in question. If no such recognition exists it comes down to size. Membership is granted when the official membership obligations as outlined in the IMMAF statutes are satisfied. Hence – if you are democratic, non-profit, registered, has statutes and can prove that you group together the majority of MMA organizations/practitioners in a country then membership is rightfully yours. It is not up to us to pick a representative and we do not make subjective choices.

In situations with more than one applicant we seek to use diplomacy as much as possible to reach unity within each country. Having a national federation starting out with representatives from all dominant organizations/clubs and having them agreeing on key issues will make MMA much stronger as a sport. Division amongst ourselves only hurts us. In cases where we have had two applications and/or some devoted individuals wanting to help out, we try to get as much information as possible from everyone and then move on to see if the parties a) know each other, b) can work together and c) have articulated plans for moving forward. And we will offer our services when it comes to mediation, helping out with suggestions for board structure and statutes etc., whatever they need.

Question: One of the requirements for a national federation to qualify as a member of the IMMAF is to have mixed martial arts in the name. Does this mean that the organization can’t deal with other sports or disciplines such as for instance shooto?
If you represent your country in the IMMAF you need to have an organization devoted to MMA. If you organize a sub division for other sports that is fine but the name needs to clarify that the core purpose of your organization is mixed martial arts in your country, not other sports. Hence we can’t allow something along the lines of “The Norwegian MMA and Shooto federation”. But, if there is no federation for shooto in Norway and the Norwegian MMA federation wanted to have a sub-division devoted to that, the IMMAF won’t disapprove. This of course goes for all countries and all related disciplines and sports.

Where is the IMMAF located?
As stated in the IMMAF statutes the headquarters shall be located in the country of the President unless otherwise decided by the Board of Directors. The current seat of the IMMAF is in Gothenburg, Sweden. Parts of the IMMAF team are located in Stockholm.

When and where will you publish the minutes from the Board of Directors’ meetings?
All minutes will be posted on the IMMAF web page to ensure complete openness and adherence to the democratic principles on which the IMMAF values are built. The minutes are recorded in English by the Administration and submitted for approval by the Board of Directors within 1 (one) month of the meeting after which the members have another 1 (one) month to protest if he/she has any objection to the depiction of the meeting. When approved, a maximum of 2 (two) months after the meeting, the minutes will be posted on the web page under the heading News.

If you have any further questions, please contact :

Erika Mattsson
Director of Communications