Picture: UKMMAF leaders alongside British amateur athletes at the National Team Tryouts in Leicester, England.
The UK Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UKMMAF) has revealed the names of athletes selected to represent the country at upcoming IMMAF championship events, in addition to a new kit deal with Heavy Duty Fight Gear Ltd .
As we appraoch the 2016 IMMAF World Championships later this year, the UKMMAF completed its selection process of tryout training sessions, open to amateur mixed martial artsists from across the nation, overseen by UKMMAF heads including Acting Chair Mark Day, Secretary Nigel Burgess, plus UFC veteran and Team UK head coach John Maguire.
The UKMMAF made the announcement via social media:
Firstly, a huge thanks to everybody who tried out for the UK team last weekend – it was a great turn out and there were some incredibly skilled athletes in attendance.
We’re pleased to be able to announce the new additions to the team who will be in a position to represent the UK in future IMMAF events around the world.
New additions to the UK team:
Naomi Harvey (Strawweight)
Michelle Jones (Bantamweight)
Josh Neale (Flyweight)
Warren Mason (Flyweight)
Danny Stirk (Bantamweight)
Raffaele Voza (Bantamweight)
Connor Hitchens (Featherweight)
Shoaib Yousaf (Featherweight)
Joe Harding (Lightweight)
Beau Gavin (Lightweight)
Hardeep Rai (Welterweight)
Mojtaba Aslani (Welterweight)
James Harrison (Middleweight)
Tom Crosby (Middleweight)
Ash Roden (Heavyweight)
Wayne Samways (Heavyweight)
Notable absences include a number of 2015 IMMAF medal winners such as European Open flyweight gold medallist Jake Bond, and World Championship silver medallist James Duckett – one of the most experienced Team UK veterans – who transition to professional competition this year. In addition, the successful Welsh duo of Josh Ellis (World Championships lightweight champion) and Jack Shore (European Open lightweight champion) have also stepped away from the national team with Shore having completed a successful pro debut of his own.
In contrast, standout veterans who we could see returning to lead the UK team in to IMMAF competition include European Open bronze medal winners Hardeep Rai (170lbs) and Connor Hitchens (145lbs), plus European Open silver medallist Warren Mason who memorably competed in an all-British flyweight final at the European Open against teammate Jake Bond.
In a UKMMAF press release welterweight athlete, Hardeep Rai, commented:
“It’s crazy that I am representing my country in the sport that I love; the fact that it’s potentially going to be on the world stage just means that much more. I never thought – when I started this journey – I would ever get this far, to be chosen to be apart of Team UK is a huge honour and is a credit to the years of hard work and dedication I have put into the sport.”
UKMMAF’s Team Leader, Nigel Burgess said:
“We’re all incredibly pleased with the new additions to the team following the recent trials. We used a scoring system, which meant that different coaches evaluated different elements of the sport independently. This has resulted in us being able to select the strongest athletes across the board. I’m very excited to work with the team going forward into international IMMAF competitions – I predict we’ll be coming home with a lot of medals!”
In addition, the UKMMAF announced a brand new kit partnership with Heavy Duty Fight Gear Ltd who will provide team kit going forward. Heavy Duty director, Carl Messen, commented:
“This is massive news for Heavy Duty! We’ve been really impressed with UKMMAF and what they’re doing for MMA in the UK, and with IMMAF globally. We’re extremely proud and excited to be involved as this sport moves forward.”