IMMAF – WMMAA President Comments on New MMA Federations with Sights on Olympics
“IMMAF – WMMAA has received some enquiries about a new organisation, GAMMA, and ONE FC’s recent statement of support for the group and its goal of seeing MMA into the Olympics. In light of these questions and IMMAF – WMMAA’s long journey to obtain sport recognition, I feel it is appropriate to respond publicly.
“We are of course aware of the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA), which formed only recently at the end of 2018. We are equally aware of a couple of other start-up groups of disputable credibility that have popped up lately on social media, purporting to represent the sport of MMA and appearing to co-opt our vision and goals.
“Of course, anyone is free to form a group and call itself a governing body. But it is then for those the group claims to represent to be certain that it is legitimate. It is important to validate the group’s fitness to obtain its stated purpose and ensure that it adheres to international standards of good governance.
“Those who have followed or travelled with us on our journey over the past six years will know that it takes many years to build a federation that fulfils all its duties. It takes at least three years of organisational compliance to meet the criteria required by GAISF (the Global Association of International Federations), and this criteria is clearly published for all to see in the statutes on GAISF’s own website. It is well known that an organisation has to first be recognised by GAISF (and indeed the World Anti-doping Agency) before it can be considered for inclusion in the Olympic programme.
“As CEO Densign White has well detailed to our membership, GAISF requirements include a democratically elected board, audited accounts, evidence of General Assemblies, a WADA compliant anti-doping programme, a qualifying number of nationally recognised members and a track record of sport development. Even for IMMAF – WMMAA, which meets these requirements, Olympic inclusion is but a future vision. For an organisation without these elements in place, hope of sport or Olympic recognition is but a pipe dream.
“I am honestly bemused by the appearance of these pop-up groups: During our application process for “Observer Status” recognition, GAISF informed us that the greatest obstacle to MMA being accepted was rivalry from within the sport. This was due to competing claims from two world MMA governing bodies, IMMAF and WMMAA. In 2018, our two organisations dutifully merged, bringing together the best, and we have continued to work hard to unify the sport. Having addressed this rivalry objection, we were surprised by GAISF’s subsequent rejection of our application. We have been in communication with GAISF since and are in the process of reapplying.
“Against this background, the emergence of new, pop-up MMA federations does not serve the interests of the sport nor its bid for recognition. It can only serve to create unnecessary divisions and the perception of rivalry, which those who oppose our sport may try to use to obstruct us. It does not bring MMA any closer to recognition, which is much needed for safeguarding the sport’s participants. And it certainly does not make MMA’s Olympic dream any more tangible.”
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