By Sophie Mueller
Since 2016, when FIGMMA (Federazione Italiana Grappling Mixed Martial Arts) was formally elected as an IMMAF member, the organisation has progressed its governance of MMA in Italy. In fact, today, FIGMMA’S Vice-president Vito Paolillo describes FIGMMA as having “an absolute monopoly” on the sport in Italy.
“FIGMMA is growing a lot thanks to the incredible success of the MMA discipline in Italy and around the world,” comments Paolillo.
The federation holds board elections every four years. The board consists of the Federal President Saverio Longo, Vice-president Vito Paolillo and MMA consultants Fabio Ciolli and Filippo Stabile. The board’s most recent discussion was concerning the affiliation process for club members for 2021, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although MMA was recognised by Italy’s National Olympic Committee from 2009 to 2013, the sport lost its recognition after United World Wrestling (under which MMA was housed) relinquished its guardianship of MMA. FIGMMA is currently operating under the recognition of the Italian Federation of Judo, Wrestling, Karate and Martial Arts.
“Today FIGMMA is working to get National Olympic Committee recognition again for the sport of MMA, even if it will not be easy to obtain it before the IMMAF obtains recognition from the GAISF,” explains Paolillo.
When asked about FIGMMA’S current goal, the Vice-president comments, “We are waiting to be absorbed by the Italian Federation of Judo Wrestling Karate Martial Arts (FIJLKAM).”
Despite the obstacle of gaining back recognition for MMA, FIGMMA’s proudests achievements have been the successful organisation of two IMMAF international events in 2019 – the Senior and Junior European Championships and the Youth World Championships, followed by FIGMMA athletes and officials being selected by the UFC.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIGMMA has 180 affiliated club members in 2020, compared with 192 in 2019. Even though the federation is focused on the development of amateur MMA, it is also responsible for sanctioning and regulating almost all professional MMA events in Italy.
In addition, FIGMMA activities includes organising national officials courses across the country, throughout the year, along with organising three national competitions every year. The last competition was the 9th Italian Cup, which took place in Rome on the 15 December 2019.
FIGMMA has providing weekly news updates and online examinations, using platforms such as Microsoft Teams, to keep officials focused due to the lack of tournaments and events at this time.
WATCH FIGMMA’S 2019 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS HIGHLIGHTS: