London, July 15, 2019: Two -hundred-and-sixty-nine U18s competitors, aged 12 – 17, have registered to compete in a historic first Youth MMA World Championships, which takes place from 3 – 4 August at the PalaPellicone in Rome under the auspices of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).
The controversial sport of MMA has evolved as a reformation in martial arts over the last twenty-five years, starting out as a test of skill among elite professionals.
Part of IMMAF’s mission has been to develop safe pathways from a grassroots level upwards, to cater for the phenomenal participant demand for education in the skills of sport, including from recreational participants, minors and their parents.
IMMAF has set a precedent among striking combat sports with its Youth MMA rule sets which bar head-strikes for under 18s.
The rules see a modification of the world recognised Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts with respect to the physiological development of competitors across the following three age categories, as advised by IMMAF’s expert medical, coaching and regulatory committees:
IMMAF Youth A 16-17s (U18)
Youth B 14-15s (U16)
IMMAF Youth C 12-13s (U14)
Anti-doping education will be mandatory for participants and all safeguarding policies implemented.
The largest competing teams hail from the U.S. (34), Ireland (28), Ukraine (27), England (26), Russia (25), Kazakhstan (24) and Italy (20).
While MMA recognizes as a sport in the majority of these countries, Ireland and England buck the trend, underlining the popularity of MMA and its need for government supported governance in these regions, as campaigned for by the IMMAF.
Of a total of 25 participating nations, others include: Albania, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Finland, Portugal, Germany, Australia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Wales, South Africa, India, New Zealand and Romania.
IMMAF President and Olympian Kerrith Brown said:
“The inaugural Youth World Championships pitches a stake in the ground for the development of MMA as a sport that is safely accessible to all, and provides the first rung of IMMAF’s international Competition Pathway.
The Championships take place under the guidance of our technical experts and of FIGMMA (the Federazione Italiana Grappling Mixed Martial Arts), well experienced in hosting U18s competitions.
It will set a first benchmark from which IMMAF Youth tournaments will no doubt evolve over time in response to feedback and new data.
I speak on behalf of the board in saying that we are both proud and excited to usher in this seminal moment for the sport of MMA.” —- IMMAF/Photo credit: Nathan