Holding the IMMAF World Championships outside of the United States for the first time is a significant moment for the strength of IMMAF’s global brand, believe its heads Kerrith Brown and Densign White.
The fourth IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA is scheduled to take place during November in Manama, Bahrain.
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and CEO Densign White attended the 2017 IMMAF World Championships press conference on Monday at Bahrain’s Sofitel Hotel, hosted by the media office of HH Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The newly announced patron of IMMAF has been at the forefront of the sport’s grass roots and youth development among Arabic nations.
“Bahrain are supporting the fastest growing sport in the world,” the IMMAF president stated, “and we are making history today. We are both growing with the sport. It will be great to see IMMAF athletes show their skills in Bahrain and show the world how great MMA is, from an amateur perspective.”
Accompanied by IMMAF board member Wissam Abi Nader (Lebanon), the IMMAF heads established the benefits in taking the sport’s flagship amateur championships to Asia where the commitment of Bahrain’s government and Olympic Committee to the sport of MMA has highlighted the nation as a region of great potential. Throughout 2017 IMMAF plans to establish even greater strength for its global brand with further events including the second Afria Open Championships in South Africa, in addition to the first Asia Open Championships in Singapore. The 2017 European Open Championships will take place in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 28 March to 2 April.
The IMMAF president continued, “It’s getting back to the development of the sport. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world and a lot of work has gone in to developing the grass roots. It is in collaboration with IMMAF’s 73 national federations, working as a family, that we are able to develop and promote the sport of MMA globally. The Bahrain MMA Federation is a part of this family in the development of the sport.”
He added, “MMA can provide a channel for youth development; and IMMAF offers a pathway through which participants can follow their aspirations to become a world champion, an Olympic champion and then go professional.”
Following the 2017 World Championships, the IMMAF legacy will be defined by the growth of regulation and participation in the region. IMMAF CEO Densign White highlighted the significance of education and participation as foundations for success. The IMMAF Progression Scheme caters for all participants of the sport, including recreational players, and ensures correct education, certification and growth for athletes, coaches and officials alike.
Bahrain’s media were the first to be informed of the completion of the Progression Scheme, set to officially launch later this month.
The IMMAF CEO explained, “We have to show the international umbrella organisations such as the International Olympic Committee and Sport Accord, that MMA is a safe sport that can be practiced by young and old. The majority of people practising MMA will never compete. They train in MMA for recreational purposes. We have developed now a progression scheme which gyms and coaches can use to encourage people to move through different levels; once they become more skilled they move on through level 1, level 2 etc.
“For the past 2 years IMMAF has been working very hard on the educational aspect. We have delivered referee courses around the world, in Australia, Africa, Europe and the USA. We plan to roll out more educational courses. The Progression Scheme includes coaching qualifications as well, which is really important. At the moment there’s no formal system of assessment or recognition of a coach’s ability. The content is ready and it’s going to be launched this month. It’s going to be free to every one of our members.”
By IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran