By James Sweetnam
The U.S. National MMA Championships take place on May 14 and will be hosted in Dan Henderson’s Athletic Training Centre in Temecula, California.
The prestigious tournament will provide a platform for the greatest mixed martial artists in the country to showcase their skills. Over 150 athletes from approximately 20 states will battle it out in the UFC legend’s gym to earn the accolade of ‘the best amateur fighter in America’.
The competition is open to ages 8-17, but is particularly important to those aged 12 and above, as places in the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships are on the line. The two finalists in each weight class will have the first refusal on representing Team USA in the Abu Dhabi tournament, which is tentatively set for the first week in August. And as per California state rules, headgear will be required for every bout.
Having dominated the professional ranks since the sport’s inception, the USA are now ready to make their mark on the world of amateur MMA. Their set-up is growing at a rapid rate and they’ve placed inside the top three in both IMMAF events they’ve entered.
But they still have a long way to go before they reach their maximum potential. The President of the United States Fight League, Jon Frank, has explained the importance of publicising the event so that coaches from around the country can begin to realise the fundamental importance of youth development.
He said: “We hold an open and transparent qualifier so getting the word out is key in the United States. We have licensed youth fighters from more than half the states, yet the majority of youth MMA coaches are still not aware of youth development and progression opportunities in MMA. It’s now clear that the experience and bonds formed at the National and World Championships are irreplaceable.”
U.S. fight fans have a rare opportunity to witness the unveiling of some future MMA superstars. The eagerly anticipated competition that will span multiple different weight classes is open to spectators for the price of $20. But if you can’t make it to the venue, you can still tune in to watch the action, as it’s all being filmed by the A and E Network. The Athletes who wish to fight in the competition can register for $100 until April 14, when the price will rise to $150, with a final deadline set for May 7. However, this date could potentially move earlier in some divisions, depending on the number of entries. Therefore, it’s of pivotal importance that the martial artists who want to compete for their shot to represent the U.S. register as soon as possible.
The emergence of talents like Jack Shore, Muhammad Mokaev and Shavkat Rakhmonov is an obvious testament to the significance of an amateur career. And the USA is looking to reap the rewards of that system. As they continue to develop at their current rate, the world will soon see them add to their achievements.
Frank added: “The skill level of these kids continues to grow at an execrated pace with each major competition. These kids are the final pioneers in solidifying MMA as a respected sport by those outside the industry. With that said, we still need those within the industry to recognise that youth are the roots of their final product and these roots only get stronger with their support.”
Registration Link – click here