German MMA Federation builds UFC relationship, reports positive meeting with national Olympic Committee

By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran

2018 is continuing as the most progressive year to date for the German MMA Federation (GEMMAF).

GEMMAF President Clemens Werner declared this year as ‘a new beginning’ for the national body as Germany rose to gold medal prominence in multiple divisions at the 2018 IMMAF European Championships and inaugural European Youth Championships in June, owing a degree of its success at the youth event to a new amateur competition circuit, established by GEMMAF for domestic talent.

In addition, GEMMAF began its line of communication with the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), as discussions opened on the potential for official recognition.

Last week, the momentum rolled on  as the UFC, the world’s leading professional MMA organisation, returned to Hamburg for its July 22 event; UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Smith. Six of GEMMAF’s national officials were active at the event.

Continuing to make strides, the success of 2018 thus far was symbolised at UFC Hamburg, by event officials wearing the GEMMAF logo in the Octagon for the first time. The display of acknowledgement from the UFC will greatly strengthen GEMMAF’s national standing.

During the Fight Week prior to July 22, the GEMMAF Board met with UFC Senior Vice-President of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner, and David Lewis, UFC Vice-President of International Event Operations & Regulatory Affairs.

“The Board had a meeting with Marc Ratner and David Lewis from the UFC to get to know each other better and to show them our work,” Werner explained. “They really like our idea of supporting the amateurs and we will be working together more closely in the future.”

IMMAF CEO Densign White joined the GEMMAF team for an anticipated meeting with the DOSB, of which exceeded expectations.

The GEMMAF President spoke to IMMAF.org in April, expressing why now is the time to develop a much needed relationship with the stewards of German sport, but that it does not come without hurdles. Recap the interview HERE.

At the DOSB Headquarters: Werner (far left) alongside GEMMAF board member Lutz Heyden, IMMAF CEO Densign White and GEMMAF board member Vitalij Boev
At the DOSB Headquarters: Werner (far left) alongside GEMMAF board member Lutz Heyden, IMMAF CEO Densign White and GEMMAF board member Vitalij Boev

Werner added: “We had a very successful meeting with our National Olympic Committee on Thursday. The meeting was surprisingly positive, on the basis of the agenda and the document that they had sent to us before the meeting, we were unsure whether they were willing to have an open discussion about MMA based on facts.” Werner expressed in April his concern that the DOSB would not look beyond the misconceptions of MMA. However, the fruitful meeting proved to be open minded and engaging with grounds for high optimism moving forward.

“We discussed for about four hours; that says it all,” Werner said. “They were really open minded and interested to see how the sport really is. We started with a presentation in which we showed our work and we were able to clear up the big prejudices that exist in Germany against MMA. Together, we showed that the GEMMAF is legitimate.

“After the presentation we mainly talked about the steps that the GEMMAF has to take to become a DOSB member. We definitely have to grow strongly, that is our main focus now.

“I would say it was great week for the GEMMAF.”

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