By James Sweetnam
IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, met with Panhellenic MMA Federation President, Dimitris Dimitrou, on 19 November to discuss sport development in Greece. The meeting, which took place at the Panathenaic Stadium, in Athens, provided the pair with an opportunity to discuss their strategy for the future of amateur MMA.
Following their initial introduction, Dimitrou took President Brown to EFL Academy and introduced him to UFC fighter, Andreas Michailidis. The day finished with the two presidents sharing information on anti-doping and WADA education, women’s commission, increasing female participation, and safety in MMA.
President Brown is currently on a trip to the Mediterranean country to try and grow the sport he loves in this territory. His meeting with Dimitriou was of pivotal importance for achieving this goal.
The Greek President has a long history in a variety of different disciplines. He began kung-fu and karate in 1983 before switching to kickboxing, in which he had significant success. Dimitrou won the 1994 Balkan Kickboxing Championships, in addition to several titles in his own country. He also displayed talent in other realms, having struck silver and bronze at the 2010 grappling world championships in two different weight categories.
However, his work outside of competing in competition has also been of paramount importance to the development of the sport in his country. He was a founding member of the Greek kickboxing federation and has been the president of Greece’s MMA Federation since 2003. The established martial artist has organised many events in his country, and things seem to be going from strength to strength.
In May 2018, IMMAF and WMMAA signed a legally binding affiliation, and since then, MMA in Greece has come on leaps and bounds. They now have 54 IMMAF Level 1 coaches, with further courses taking place in December. There is a strong lobby for the sport of MMA to be recognised under the federation’s leadership.
Dimitriou said: “It was my honour to meet President Kerrith Brown. It is a big thing to learn from his experience. For the people of The Panhellenic MMA Federation, IMMAF’s support is very good for our organisation.”
President Brown said: “The future growth of IMMAF depends on the determined development work and good governance principles shown by our member federations. It is a pleasure to be here in Athens to see with my own eyes the great steps being taken by our Greek member to grow the sport.”
Brown’s trip is vital for the nation that wishes to compete at IMMAF events next year. The former elite-level judoka practitioner will continue to help them reach their aspirations throughout his visit. Later today, on the second day of a four-night trip, he will meet several Greek Olympians. The visit will culminate in the president attending an MMA festival featuring some of the country’s finest talents.
The Vice President of the Greek federation, Marcos Ntaukakis, who organised the festival, has done a lot for the sport’s progression in his country. The highly educated martial arts enthusiast has become the first promoter to stage fights in this part of the world, and his three academies have produced UFC calibre athletes. He has revolutionised MMA in Greece by securing national television deals for his events.
Ntaukakis wants Greece to become a standout nation in the amateur and professional ranks. But alongside Brown and the entirety of IMMAF, his ultimate dream is for MMA to become an Olympic sport.