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IMMAF – International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is a non-profit organization specializing in the management of MMA activities at the amateur level worldwide. Founded in 2012, IMMAF has now gathered 63 federations and groups representing countries in 5 continents around the world.
In fact, MMA audiences are mostly aware of this sport through tournaments like UFC, Bellator, PFL (North America), ONE Championsip, Road FC (Asia), Cage Warriors, M-1 Global ( Europe, Russia), PRIDE, RIZIN (Japan).
However, all of these tournaments operate as private companies and brands with the primary goal of generating profits for investors. The Sports Committees are only tasked with overseeing the operation and not participating in the management, training and organization of the tournament.
On the contrary, IMMAF emphasizes on non-profit activities, aiming to develop and link MMA movement under the consensus of state management agencies. This is considered the most obvious difference between IMMAF and global organizations such as UFC or ONE Championship.
Amateur and competition rules
True to its criteria, IMMAF focuses on extensive training before deepening, supporting organizations in countries where MMA does not yet officially exist. In addition, IMMAF emphasizes amateurish rather than professional elements such as UFC or ONE Championship.
In this regard, IMMAF is also acting as AIBA in Boxing. The separation of management goals helps IMMAF find fighters and develop a wider, more accessible movement, with less demanding requirements than professional tournaments.
The amateur element that IMMAF wants to show is the most obvious way to organize the matches. At the IMMAF, boxers will compete with thicker gloves, requiring the use of competition uniforms including pipe protectors, standard competition suits. In addition, IMMAF uses a simplified competition law compared to the uniform MMA Code being used by professional MMA organizations.
Towards the Olympics
The reason IMMAF is focusing on being amateurish is because its goal is to be recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This has been affirmed in the vision at all the congresses and posted on the IMMAF homepage.
Establishing a federation with a sufficient number of members, a structured operational structure to change the mind about MMA with management and the world, IMMAF considers this the highest goal of the organization in the near future. After 2 years of establishment, since 2014, IMMAF has also organized world tournaments in the form of qualifying and awarding medals similar to the Olympic system.
Similar to the organization of fighters, the competition rules of MMA tournaments do not have a common point in the world.
Currently, the most popular law, the Unified MMA Rules, was first enacted in the United States in 2000. However, this code is only overseen by the Association of Boxing Comisssion. This is a non-profit organization specializing in boxing-related and fighting sports in North America. Therefore, the Unified MMA Rules basically have only legal effect on this territory.
ONE Championship, M-1 Global and some non-North American tournaments do not actually apply the Unified MMA Rules, but all have their own adjustments. Not only the techniques in competition, even the standard of competition, weight also have certain differences.
IMMAF: The largest amateur organization
In addition to the private leagues such as the UFC or the ONE Championship currently developed in the professional direction, IMMAF is known as the non-profit organization that manages MMA at the largest amateur level at the moment.
Regarding the organization of boxers, IMMAF provides clear rules about how a boxer is recognized as an amateur present in its system. In addition, a separate set of rules makes the IMMAF matches judged to be light enough for amateur fighters to meet.
Currently, IMMAF is maintaining a medal competition system with a knockout competition and martial arts supervision standards and doping prevention. This is seen as an attempt by IMMAF to soon be recognized by the IOC and soon become a sport at the Summer Olympics.
It can be seen that MMA in the world develops in a different direction with many competing sports in the world because of its complexity. Based on the characteristics of the market, the potential of fighters, each tournament chooses different ways of operation.
In addition to professional organizations, the amateur form of international federation such as IMMAF is also worth consulting.