By Ross Patterson
On March 19, The English Mixed Martial Arts Association (EMMAA) got to shadow-sanction UFC London. The event at the O2 Arena will be remembered as one of the greatest in British MMA history and EMMAA were delighted to be a part of it, seizing the opportunity to learn best practices from the UFC.
British athletes put on a stellar performance. Tom Aspinall finished Alexander Volkov in the first round of the main event with a straight arm-bar. Arnold Allen won via TKO over Dan Hooker, Paddy Pimblett won via first-round submission, Molly McCann knocked her opponent out via spinning elbow and Scotland’s Paul Craig secured another win via triangle-choke.
It was also a fantastic night for IMMAF alumni. Muhammad Mokaev, the two-time IMMAF World Champion won via submission in the first round of his UFC debut. 2015 IMMAF European Champion Jack Shore extended his undefeated record, winning via decision.
EMMAA’s head of Performance, Paul Reed, was at the event and described his experience.
“Behind the scenes, they [the UFC] couldn’t have taken better care of the fighters. They took me around the whole place. It was access all areas.”
Paul was able to watch and learn everywhere, from the changing rooms to the judging. He added, “The important thing was how supportive the UFC were of our [EMMAA’s] journey.”
Marc Goddard, IMMAF Head of Regulatory Affairs and EMMAA President, was refereeing and was taken back by the event.
“Wow! In all the years of the events the UFC has put on in London, England, last night really did steal the show. Top to bottom, it delivered. I am also incredibly proud of the work that we are carrying out with the EMMAA having full visibility in our shadow sanctioning capacity, for which I would like to offer my extended thanks to the UFC, Dave Lewis & Marc Ratner.”
”We at EMMAA are working incredibly hard behind the scenes entirely voluntarily to make the sport of Mixed Martial Arts a recognised entity in its own right. Upcoming meetings with Sport England & our continued developmental & educational drive across all facets of the sport continue to move us forward in the right direction.”
Also refereeing was Dan Movahedi. He commented:
“Fantastic night at UFC London, the team were amazing and the crowd were LOUD! Shadow sanctioned by the English Mixed Martial Arts Association. A great move forward for English MMA.”
EMMAA are doing excellent work developing the sport of MMA in England. Shadow-sanctioning the UFC was a huge learning opportunity and another step forward.