Jamaica joins Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas as the third Caribbean nation to be represented under the auspices of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, as the IMMAF today welcomes the MMA Jamaica Sports Federation.
Based in Kingston and Montego Bay, the MMA Jamaica Sports Federation (MMAJSF) was formed in 2015 to promote and develop MMA in Jamaica and to work for governmental and National Olympic Committee sport recognition. Its key areas of focus are the safeguarding of participants and youth social development.
MMAJSF President, Cleon Bardowell (pictured), is perhaps Jamaica’s most experienced mixed martial artist having trained and competed in MMA Events throughout the Caribbean for over a decade, as well as coaching and mentoring younger MMA competitors in Jamaica at Lion Pride MMA.
Vice-president, Daniel Chacko-Wilmot, is an Attorney-at-Law with a background in one of Jamaica’s more traditional sports, cricket. He played extensive club cricket, captained his high school and university teams and is current president of Lucas Cricket Club. Over the past four years, Daniel has become very active in the administration and promotion of Sambo and MMA in Jamaica. He is a co founder of Lion Pride MMA.
MMA is young in Jamaica and there are no rules and regulations governing the infant sport: There are an estimated 16 professional and amateur MMA competitors on the island, of which 14 have aligned themselves with the MMA Jamaica Sports Federation.
Early successes of the MMAJSF have included its successful alignment with other established sports, through the development of coaching opportunities with boxing clubs and the creation of further developmental opportunities through its relationship with cricket. The federation proposes to use regulations established by the Jamaican Boxing Commission for the sanctioning of events, alongside the international guidelines and standards set by the IMMAF. The MMAJSF has also generated opportunities for Jamaican MMA athletes to travel to compete in Aruba, Curacao, Barbados, Bahamas, Colombia, Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States of America and Russia.
Vice-president, Daniel Chacko-Wilmot said:
“They always say to get recognised in Jamaica, you have to actually get recognition from an international federation before you get local recognition. It’s a very important step, because, not only will it help us to get more support nationally from within the sports ministry, but it also opens us up to a lot of experience and knowledge we can gain from the various representatives of the IMMAF. It’s going to open up more doors for our athletes and more opportunities as well.
IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, said:
“Jamaica has proud sporting tradition and can boast some of the world’s most famous and accomplished athletic names. We look forward to the seeing the talent that Jamaica has to offer on the IMMAF tournament platform, and we embrace the growth and development of MMA in Jamaica”
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