By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
Over the past seven months, operations within the German MMA Federation (GEMMAF) have been extensive under the stewardship of a newly elected board, as of September 2017, now led by President Clemens Werner (pictured below).
The GEMMAF President, Clemens Werner, who is also a certified judge under the International MMA Federation (IMMAF), believes that now is the time to push for national recognition with the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB). The aim is to see Germany come on par with leading European counterparts who have excelled in regulation of the fast growing sport with recognition under their own government or National Olympic Committee.
The status of MMA across Germany is patchy: while mainstream media has welcomed the return of the UFC in recent years and it is now back on German television, the sport is still subject to outdated prejudices and misconceptions which other nations have long since surpassed. Furthermore, GEMMAF believes that inexperienced competitors are turning to professional bouts too soon due to a lack of incentives for amateurs.
“Our aim is to become a member of the DOSB,” the GEMMAF President stated. “We contacted the German Olympic Federation (DOSB) to start a dialog about GEMMAF becoming a member. The first response of the DOSB showed us that GEMMAF must grow even more to meet the DOSB requirements, but we are confident of reaching this goal.”
“However, the DOSB signaled an outdated perspective of MMA as they stated that they are not sure whether MMA is the kind of sport which they want to supervise. I believe that the DOSB must develop an accurate understanding of any potential affiliate, as many other countries have done already. Once this effort has been made they will see that their reasons for hesitation are simply not valid.”
Contrary to outdated prejudices, studies show that professional MMA results in less head trauma than boxing. MMA has a complex rule set, modified for amateurs, to protect developing athletes. Amateur MMA competition under GEMMAF looks to ensure the use of IMMAF rules, shin-guards and larger gloves, plus education of Officials and anti-doping practice.
The nation is in great need of a recognised, strong regulator for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Despite Germany’s prominent standing within the international community and historic sports pedigree, the central European nation is lagging behind nations such as Sweden, Portugal and Italy who, with affiliation to government, have introduced funding and athlete sponsorship, regulation such as event safety standards, educational and certification programs, anti-doping enforcement, safety ladders and pathways for participants, plus active and successful national competition teams.
GEMMAF provided a breakdown of national developments over the past 7 months:
– GEMMAF has doubled the number of its members over the last 6 months.
– GEMMAF has recruited several voluntary employees.
– For the first time, GEMMAF aims to host four regional championships in 2018, accompanied by national rankings which will decide which athletes can take part and be sponsored for the international IMMAF championships.
– Through collaboration with the Austrian MMA Federation and national coaches Gerhard and Michael Ettl, GEMMAF has sourced 100% sponsorship for five German amateur athletes to compete at the 2018 IMMAF European Championships.
IMMAF President and Olympic judo medalist, Kerrith Brown, has previously stated: “GAISF (formerly known as Sport Accord) is duty bound to not shy away from sport development.”
While this statement refers to the Global Association of International Sport Federations, the responsibility passes down to all national bodies to not shy away from the duty of ensuring safety within sport.