By James Sweetnam
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown has thanked everyone who made the 2021 Amateur World Championships possible.
After two long years of waiting, the tournament was back in action in the fabulous Abu Dhabi. The competition was originally scheduled to take place in Kazakhstan. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the major event had to be postponed. But thankfully, The UAE stood in and gave the best talent from around the globe a platform to showcase their skills.
From 24-29 January, the world’s elite battled it out for the right to call themselves world champions. This year’s competition was one of the greatest of all time, with multiple fighters proving themselves to be potential stars of the future.
Brown was delighted with every single aspect of this year’s World Championships.
He said: “Dear members, on behalf of the IMMAF – International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Board of Directors and CEO, I would like to thank you all for your support and participation in the 2021 IMMAF World Championships.”
“Despite monumental hurdles, which included the change of venue and country on eight weeks’ notice and COVID restrictions, we were able to put together one of the biggest events in our organisation’s great history.”
“This could not have been possible without the help of key stakeholders and partners. The event was hosted by the UAE Mixed Martial Arts Association, and they did a fantastic job with their first IMMAF Championships. I would like to thank them, especially His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces; His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council; His Excellency Abdulmunem Al Hashmi, President of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation; His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council; His Excellency Mohamed Dalmouj Al Dhaheri, Chairman of the UAE MMA Committee; and the Department of Culture and Tourism for their invaluable support, without which the Championships would not be possible. I congratulate UAEMMAF’s Mohammed Al Hosani for his sensational support on the ground and look forward to our return to Abu Dhabi for the Youth World Championships later this year. The Championships were also supported by Abu Dhabi SC and in partnership with Palms Sports UAE Authority. A special thank you must go out to Fouad Darwish for his extensive efforts and assistance.”
“Also, a mention must go out to our partners at the UFC, for their continued support in the IMMAF grassroots vision for MMA. Also, to Green Hill Sports and My Next Match for their long-standing contributions.”
“To the IMMAF staff, this event would not have been possible without your hard work, dedication and endeavour. In sharing my vision for this Federation and its events, we created something which I believe we can all be truly proud of. The same can be said of the volunteers, who out of their sheer love and passion for the sport of MMA, were – as always – a vital part of the day-to-day running of the Championships, as well as those who assisted with the Cuts Team & Coaching Seminars and the IMMAF Awards.”
“Last but certainly not least, I would also like to thank the National Federations, athletes, coaches and officials. The standard on display from all three parties was the highest I have ever seen at an IMMAF competition. Professionalism, pride and focus were evident in every bout, in every Fighting Area, across all six days. When the eyes of the world were fixed on you, all truly delivered. I am proud to call you members of the IMMAF family.”
“The 2021 IMMAF World Championships will forever be remembered as a landmark event that showed the power and promise of amateur MMA. But we will not stop there. In the pursuit of excellence, I look forward to the 2022 calendar and the further development of the sport we love.”
The return to competition was certainly long overdue but was a historic one for the sport. It won’t be long until IMMAF returns to Abu Dhabi as the Federation continues preparations for the Youth World Championships later this year.