By James Eakin
The curtain has now fallen on the MMA SuperCup, and it was a resounding success. Fantastic fights, dominant victories and new contenders in the spotlight. The competition brought everything a fan of the sport would want.
The Kingdom of Bahrain took home the spoils, pocketing $100,000 to invest in the development of the sport in their country. Such a large sum of money will be incredibly beneficial to the athletes and people behind the scenes of Bahrain’s amateur MMA scene. President of BMMAF, Mohammad Qambar, expressed his gratitude to Royal Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa for his support of the event.
“We are grateful and blessed to have the support of His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa in developing mixed martial arts in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Our team has performed exceptionally in the tournament and deserves this prize money for their efforts and hard work to put the Kingdom of Bahrain on the top of the map in combat sports.”
IMMAF pound-for-pound number one, Ramazan Gitinov, once again showed that he was levels above the competition, dominating his opponents en route to victory. Qambar emphasised the determination of their athletes in preparing for the SuperCup, crediting their tireless work ethic as an integral part of their success.
“Team Bahrain has trained tirelessly for the MMA SuperCup ever since their return from the IMMAF World Championships in Abu Dhabi. The victory has confirmed that they truly are the number one amateur mixed martial arts team in the world, and they have made the entire country proud with this accomplishment.”
“It is a testament to the dedication of His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa to the development of mixed martial arts in the country. Every sportsman in the country has become a true believer in his vision, which has allowed the country to achieve greatness in the field.”
The athletes from Ireland proved to be the dark horses at the SuperCup, taking home second place and $75,000. Head coach, Andy Ryan, described the importance of the prize money in the development of MMA for Ireland.
“The money comes at a great time when we are building the association. The money will help us develop our sport here in Ireland. For me, the money will be used to fund the daily running of the associations’ office insurance accounts. It will take the pressure off us. But it will come down to the committee as to what we do with it. But for me, we need to be wise don’t blow it in one go”
“We have been looking at a national cage that is used at IMMAF competitions, which would be a great purchase. The prize money needs to be used very wisely and not wasted.”
Fellow coach, Liam-Og Griffin, commented on his desire to use the money towards more national growth and recognition for the sport across the whole country.
“We would like to use this opportunity to prove to Sport Ireland and government ministers that we are responsible and wise with funds in a way that grows the sport nationally. If we can prove that, I believe that adds to our application to be recognised and worthy in the future for the same amount of funding that other sports bodies apply for.”
Coming home in third place was the nation of Kazakhstan, pocketing $50,000. Madina Urazmbetova, who heads the PR team for the federation, praised the SuperCup and the opportunity it presents to young athletes to be rewarded for amateur competition.
“To have won prize money is a good opportunity for developing MMA and motivation for the athletes. The SuperCup is a good experience for the athletes to compete and improve their skills in the international events.”
“Athletes spend all their time training every day and are not able to earn money. Usually, amateur competitions don’t mean any cash prizes. That’s why the SuperCup is a good project for supporting amateur athletes and giving them opportunities for earning money with the sport they love.”
The SuperCup’s success has enabled the federations to invest more in the sport. It is exciting to see how the prize money benefits the development of the sport for each winning country and its athletes.