The IMMAF Athletes Commission has taken a proactive start to 2021, outlining new recommendations towards increasing the level of guidance for amateur standouts who transition to professional MMA careers.
This year the IMMAF Athletes Commission was expanded to welcome additional members, to expand the group’s diverse perspectives and experience of athlete related matters. New faces included former UFC world champion and Hall of Famer, Forrest Griffin (USA), plus Jack Corr (Northern Ireland) and Colleen Augustin (Malaysia) joining as representatives of the current generation of IMMAF competitors. The incoming trio join Irman Smajic (chairman, Sweden), Julia Dorny (Germany), Jose Torres (USA) and Vikash Sharma (India), with new commission liaison, Jorden Curran.
Commission members and former IMMAF world champions, Irman Smajic, Julia Dorny, and Jose Torres, have each completed respective transitions from amateur standout to professional talent, but reported an absence of support and guidance from their national federations upon making the jump.
As a result, the Athletes Commission is focused on working with IMMAF departments and member nations around the world to produce a standard level of advice to aid national team graduates in their professional futures.
Amateur to Pro Athlete Guidance – Areas of Focus:
Social media – IMMAF’s media department will work to develop an accessible resource to advise best use of social media in order for athletes to raise their profile.
Promotions – IMMAF and its members must continue to establish relationships and facilitate pathways towards standout promotions best suited for adopting top amateur prospects, also including direct insight from stakeholders on what promoters are looking for in an athlete.
Safeguarding – Athletes reported a high volume of individuals making contact with offers of management, sponsorships and contractual agreements, yet were limited in their ability to separate the good from the bad. IMMAF and national federations should aim to create a governance database of contacts, such as verified managers, promoters or sponsors within regions, as well as other safeguarding methods for encountering business opportunities within the pro sports world.
Wellness passports – Driven by athletes, competitors will be able to present a track record of anti-doping testing and history of injury, such as concussions, thus spreading greater awareness of clean sport and physical safeguarding.
Training advice – Together with the UFC Performance Institute and Shanghai based coach Dean Amasinger, IMMAF can provide a resource for new training approaches for athletes and coaches, reviewing possible methodologies best suited to a professional career, compared to that of elite amateur development.
Relationships with National Federations/Associations – National IMMAF members should maintain relationships, offer guidance, support and continued involvement opportunities for standout representatives who have served in the national team, using tools provided by IMMAF while also creating unique guidance relevant to the national context.