MMA is a global sport that  – more often than not – consists of athletes making the leap from gym sparring to professional-level competition with no intermediary experience.  In many countries around Asia, MMA is quickly becoming a popular practice and spectator sport fueled by numerous promotions, yet amateur level competition is noticeably absent.
The reason for this is clear.  Unlike most professional sports such as tennis and soccer which start at the tertiary and local level and progresses towards professional international competition, MMA events usually bypass the amateur aspect as they are organized by separate for-profit promotions.  In Asia, outside of Japan and the Philippines,  this is the norm.

The rapidly growing number of MMA practitioners in Asia demands the development of an amateur platform to provide experience and raise the level of the sport.  However, starting such local organizations is a daunting prospect.  A newly-formed federation may become the catalyst for such endeavors. 

Local groups wishing to start grassroots competition at the amateur level may now gain support and resources through a new international organization.  Swedish MMA fighter and SMMAF Chairman August Wallen has taken the initial steps neccessary to organize and standardize international amateur MMA by heading the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.

International MMA Federation Created in Sweden; UFC Issues Vote of Confidence

Below is text from the article outlining what this federation seeks to achieve.  It will be an exciting year ahead for the development of amateur MMA, and thus professional MMA, in Asia and around the world.

“It’s going to take a long time,” Wallen told “This is a project where the final goal of Olympic status is far in the distance. That could take 100 years, if you know what I mean. We are putting a lot of time into this, because it is a process that will take years and years.”

According to Wallen, the first step for the IMMAF is to facilitate the formation of a unified national federation for as many countries as possible. This presents several challenges, however, as some countries, like France, are devoid of such a body. Likewise, other nations, like Brazil, currently sport a handful of federations that operate independently.

The IMMAF then hopes to unite those national federations so that international amateur competitions may be held. Once this is accomplished, the IMMAF may then seek recognition from SportAccord, an international body that is currently comprised of 87 international sports federations, including the Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA), the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).


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