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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
A new non-profit international governing body was launched today in Sweden, as the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) announced their foundation to the world.
The organization, headed by President August Wallen, strives to "provide a stable, professional and democratic community for all national federations and offer support to countries committed to forming new federations where none currently exist."
The organization will look to work with governing bodies around the world to establish uniform (though fluid) regulations, as well as develop the amateur ranks and, ultimately, establish MMA as an Olympic sport.
"This is a very proud day for us," said Wallen in a press release. "The IMMAF is committed to be at the forefront of developing MMA as an international sport, from the grassroots level to the elite level, supporting the development of regulations and best practices on health, safety, youth involvement and more."
"Our vision is for MMA to be recognized as a sport through the full membership of IMMAF in SportAccord and for it to ultimately become an Olympic sport," he continued. "I know many of us dedicated to MMA dream of the day that the sport has worldwide recognition and this is a first step towards making that happen."
The UFC, in Sweden this week for UFC on Fuel TV 2, has already expressed their support for the IMMAF, issuing a press release of their own praising the new organization.
"In order to maintain the successful growth of our sport, it is important to invest in resources that will develop and cultivate it at an amateur level," UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. "Having an umbrella organization that will oversee and help build the sport on a global level will not only provide advanced and ever-improving safety standards but will also create a unified global model to help introduce the sport to new markets. It is our hope that it will also take us one step closer to witnessing the inclusion of the sport of MMA on the Olympic programme.”
"The creation of this organization is long overdue," added Marc Ratner, the UFC's Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs. "MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world and we support the Federation's focus on providing a globally unified set of rules and safety measures to help keep all fighters safe. While there are many obstacles ahead in the formation of this international organization, we are confident of the outcomes and advancements this group will make for the future of our sport."
Penick's Analysis: This is a very positive development, and if the UFC donates to the organization early on to assist in their development it will absolutely be a smart investment. Having an international body working to unify the sport as one at the amateur level is a good thing, and as it grows it can expand its reach to the professional ranks, and eventually may even be able to act as an international drug testing organization along with that.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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