IMMAF has pioneered an MMA Talent Development Pathway for the training of both recreational and competitive participants from the age of 12 upwards, which is reflected in tiered competition rulesets.


IMMAF’s Talent Development Pathway (or “progression scheme”) introduces an essential framework for the sport of MMA, in line with the required certification pathways of all regulated sports.

To progress through the different levels of the Talent Pathway, a participant is expected to show competency in core MMA skills, such as a jab, roundhouse kick or double leg take-down for use in an MMA match. Participants must reach a level to be able to compete firstly at Amateur level and then later at Professional level. Although special exceptions can be made, there are stipulated minimum time periods for which a student must remain at a level before he/ she can progress. IMMAF is implementing a standardised colour system to denote participants’ levels, easily recognisable within mainstream martial arts.



IMMAF Amateur MMA Championships:

IMMAF Amateur MMA Championships are the pinnacle of IMMAF’s competition pathway, and are aimed at elite, amateur competitors of 18 years and above. Held under IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules, the Amateur MMA Championships are the tournaments that IMMAF aspires to see represented in the Olympics.

The rules are close to those of the professional Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, with some safety modifications in respect to athlete development and the tournament format, which sees participants compete up to five days in a row. Modifications include 3 x 3-minute rounds, the use of shinguards and Amateur MMA gloves and the disallowing of techniques such as elbow and knee strikes, and twisters.


IMMAF Junior MMA Championships

The competitions are for 18, 19 and 20 year olds (U21s) only and also take place under the standard IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules.

The Junior events are designed to provide better opportunity for younger rising stars to shine against competitors of a similar range of experience. In line with IMMAF’s ethos, they also create a safer competition environment for younger adults who have not yet reached their physical peak.


IMMAF Pre-Junior MMA Championships

From 2019, 16 and 17-year olds (U18s) will be able to compete under IMMAF Pre-Junior rules. These are close to IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules but disallow strikes to the head and require early stoppages on chokehold submissions.


IMMAF Cadet MMA Championships

IMMAF is currently developing rules and regulations for Cadet and Pre- Cadet events for 12 and 13-year olds (U14s) and 14 and 15-year olds (U16s) respectively.

Both age groups will compete under IMMAF Cadet rules on mats, arbitrated by a referee. Rules disallow headshots and require early stoppages on all submissions.



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