National federations unite to secure the future of MMA in Belgium

Pictured: Issa Isakov secured a silver medal for Belgium in the Senior Men’s Welterweight division at the 2018 IMMAF European Championships

By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran

This week, the Belgian MMA Federation (BMMAF) has announced itself as the latest IMMAF affiliate to unite with its national counterpart, following the historic announcement of IMMAF and fellow international body WMMAA, reaching an amalgamation agreement.

Following encouragement from IMMAF and WMMAA heads, the motivation to unite has filtered down to national federations, in countries where development of the sport is split between rival bodies affiliated to IMMAF and WMMAA, respectively. The BMMAF and WMMAA member BKBMO, which primarily functions as a kickboxing regulator, are the latest to confirm a unified national effort.

Ready for official launch in September, the partnership will see MMA regulation effectively spread across a greater national reach, and will fulfill further criteria for future government recognition and potential funding.

BMMAF President Ludovic Boulvin described the agreement as ‘a great pleasure’ of which ensures a promising future for Mixed Martial Arts in Belgium.

Belgium has played a valuable role in the European MMA community. As a close neighbor to France where MMA competition is currently banned by government, the nation has been a haven in welcoming dedicated French athletes to compete and develop on Belgian soil.

See BMMAF’s statement below for details regarding the national amalgamation agreement in Belgium:

After more than 10 years of rivalry in the management of MMA in Belgium, the two federations (BMMAF and BKBM²O) finally join forces to guarantee a promising future for Belgian MMA. Respective presidents of the federations (Ludo Boulvin for BMMAF, Patrick Van Acker for VBKBM²O and Gino Buonopane for LKBKM²O) met early in June to agree on the basis of this merger and a meeting to define the structure and the first objectives has already taken place to ensure an effective start in September.

Representative of the only international federation of MMA (IMMAF), BMMAF has been developing MMA in Belgium for more than 10 years. Many MMA events and activities have been organized during these years, but its presence is mainly limited to the region of Wallonia.

Although being mainly a Muay Thai federation, BKBMO also has an MMA section, which, conversely to BMMAF, is mainly developed in Flanders. The union of the two federations was therefore logical and will bring many benefits to both practitioners and federations.

In practice :

•       The BMMAF will remain an independent non-profit organization (representing the IMMAF in Belgium), will integrate the BKBMO and manage their MMA activities (amateur and pro).
•       Representatives of the BKBMO (Flemish and French) will be integrated into the BMMAF board of directors and vice versa, BMMAF representatives will sit on the boards of the BKBMO regional sections.
•       The BKBMO will take over the management of affiliations, this will bring together affiliates and better represent the interests of practitioners.
•       A single license will allow practitioners to take part in MMA activities but also to K1, Muaythai and Kickboxin activities.
•       A standardization of amateur rules MMA (according to the international model of IMMAF) and the creation of class with different levels of experience.

This union will bring many benefits, but will also develop a more structured model. Many announcements will be published soon with more details but you can already take our following activities:

08/09/2018: Fight Against Cancer – Landen (5 Amateur MMA Fights)
09/23/2018: MMA Unified amateur rules seminar – Brussels
27-28/10/2018: MMA amateur cup – Mons Expo (Tournament over 2 days)