By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
In this month’s Newsletter, CEO Densign White (pictured above) updates the membership on IMMAF’s status in its journey to attain SportAccord recognition. Recognition would mark the final checkpoint on IMMAF’s path before amateur MMA can apply to become an Olympic sport.
White explains: “In April, SportAccord voted to accept ‘Observation Status’ as a stage in the process of applicants becoming a full member. Later on in June we attended a SportAccord membership workshop in Switzerland which provided opportunity for discussion towards fulfilling any outstanding conditions. Once all governance criteria has been met your application can then be presented to the SportAccord Congress who will vote on approving full membership. Based on SportAccord’s message to applicants from various sports federations, we anticipate to be in line for a Congress vote at the 2019 gathering.
“In our opinion, 2019 is not soon enough. I feel we have made enormous strides in many areas, including in our governance structures and processes, international Championships and in our educational courses and pathways. I believe we deserve this vote to take place at next year’s 2018 Congress in Bangkok. If IMMAF can become a WADA signatory before next year’s SportAccord Congress – this in itself is overdue – then there’s the possibility that a 2018 vote could happen. 2019 is currently more likely, due to rivalry issues, including with WMMAA, that we must work to overcome, but our relationships with Sport Accord and WADA are strengthening and the message of what we’re all about is being heard.
“We must continue to champion ourselves collectively under the IMMAF umbrella in order to achieve what MMA deserves.”
IMMAF.org followed up to discuss how the IMMAF leadership has made use of recent months to further strengthen its position in the fight for SportAccord and WADA recognition. Through the experience of Sport Accord’s workshop in Switzerland, it became more apparent that IMMAF’s credibility should very soon be beyond question.
“I feel we have demonstrated that we are worthy of recognition,” Mr. White added. “One area we are keeping a close eye on is the requirement to have 40 members recognised by their National Olympic Committee or highest sports authority. We’re in reach of this as IMMAF closes in on 70 members (66 confirmed) with a high percentage currently recognised. One of IMMAF’s requirements of new members is recognition from their national government or Olympic Committee. We’ve carried out health checks on the membership and have also increased their number.”
A preliminary count this year already lists 40 IMMAF members as having government or IOC recognition with further national level applications in progress. IMMAF’s newest member, the Belarusian Federation of Pankration and Martial Arts, is the largest non-profit, democratic and public national federation engaged in the development of martial arts within the country, in addition to having recognition and support at state level.
In addition, the CEO believes that IMMAF’s educational and certification pathways are what makes IMMAF stand out worldwide in its efforts to cater for all levels of participants.
“We’ve worked on developing educational pathways for coaches and recreational participants in MMA, as well as cutman, referee and judges’ courses which are in high demand globally. We are currently developing Junior MMA rule sets, policies and pathways for 12 – 18 year olds, with plans for our first Junior MMA Championships hopefully in 2018. The whole educational package is going to be a main selling point for IMMAF that stands us above other organisations. This will be our main and unrivalled selling point to SportAccord when it comes to them making a decision.”
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