Pictured: Youths practising MMA in Northern Ireland
– FIRST CADET & PRE-JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 2019
– 3 – 4 AUGUST, ROME
Unified world MMA governing body, IMMAF – WMMAA is proud to announce the completion and forthcoming publication of its of Pre-Junior and Cadet MMA Rules for 12 – 17 year olds. The announcement comes ahead of the 2019 IMMAF – WMMAA Cadet World Championships set for 3-4 August in Rome, hosted by the Italian Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts Federation (FIGMMA).
Headed by IMMAF Director of Development, Andrew Moshanov, the completion of tailored rulesets for youth and cadet athletes has been over a year in the making. The project has drawn on expert consultancy from Marc Goddard, IMMAF’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, and across IMMAF- WMMAA’s global membership. Key contributors have been representatives from national federations under whom successful, safe and regulated youth competition or training programmes have already been implemented, including USA, India, Mexico, Italy and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Moshanov stated:
“The rules for cadets have been under discussion for more than a year. We received notable help from FIGMMA’s Vito Paolillo (Italy) and Danny Corr of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association (Northern Ireland), as well as the IMMAF-WMMAA Medical Committee who advised on safety considerations.”
The IMMAF-WMMAA Medical Committee is a panel of doctors with a specialism or experience in medical care within MMA. The committee is responsible for providing guidance on medical safety within the sport and for developing medical protocol for IMMAF-WMMAA competitions. Members are Dr. Randa Bashron (USA), Dr. David Wang (USA) and Prof. Dan Healy (Ireland).
For the youth competitions, athletes will be divided by age brackets, 12-13 (Pre-Cadet), 14-15 (Cadet) and 16-17 (Pre-Junior), permitting for appropriate adaptation of the Unified Amateur MMA Rules with respect to neurological and musculo-skeletal developmental. Significantly head-shots will not be permitted in any under-18s competition, while permissions around the application of submission techniques shall increase up through the age brackets. Matches will be scored according to the 10-point system that is so fundamental to the spirit of the sport. However, modifications will apply, such as ‘proactivity’ being rewarded instead of ‘aggression’.
Mr. Moshanov continued:
“The involvement of children of a young age and their membership in clubs and associations is vital for the sustainability and development of any sport. On an average, nearly 80 % of sports members worldwide are children under 14 years old. When one looks closely at MMA, youth development has been under-developed in favour of that of competitive athletes and this matter needs to be urgently addressed.”
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown added:
“It is a fact that young people now have a presence in MMA gyms across the world and it is the duty of the world governing body to provide governance in order to safe-guard and to offer the best education possible. Youth competition not only forms a foundational role in the development of sports talent, but also provides a platform for nurturing skill through the application of technical learning. It is equally where a sport can deliver the widest social, community and health benefits, and therefore value.”
WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein said:
“As an international federation we have always understood the importance of developing MMA among youth but we also knew that this requires additional research on the safety and medical side, as well as on the rules. WMMAA held its first international event for youth (16-17 years old) back in 2017 and now we are proud that IMMAF-WMMAA is ready to start working with younger competitors starting from 12 years old. They are the future of our sport.”