By Caoilte de Barra
The Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA) held their 2022 National Championships on May 8. The competition was held in Corpus Christi MMA Youth Centre, Belfast and was their second-ever set of Youth National Championships. Every bout that took place on the day were all SafeMMA cleared.
The event ran for over six hours and was live-streamed on the IMMAA YouTube channel. Weight divisions in youth categories A, B and C were contested throughout the day. Seventeen gyms had athletes competing throughout the day, with Team Ryano topping the rankings with seven medals; three gold, two silver and two bronze. You can find a full breakdown of medalists and results from the event here.
Event host Danny Corr explained how the historic set of championships was a major moment for Irish MMA.
“The event on Sunday was the first All Ireland Championships held in the North. It was also the first time such an event has been held in the 26 foot cage funded by the Council. The event took place in Corpus Christi MMA youth centre in the heart of west Belfast, Ballymurphy. It began at 10 am sharp and finished at 5 pm with almost 60 bouts taking place, probably the biggest event of its kind.
“These young men and women are the elite in the country. The standard was exceptional from every club and is a big statement on the future of Irish MMA.”
The tournament, alongside the Youth MMA training sessions, will help determine the national team to represent Ireland at the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships. The team is under the tutelage of Danni McCormack, Alan McCormack and Kieran Davern.
The team is yet to be finalised. However, IMMAF World Silver Medalist Danni McCormack explains that they will announce the team later this month. The team will then train together regularly ahead of the World Championships.
“We use the nationals for team selection for those divisions that were full of athletes, and there are some athletes that didn’t get any fights at the weekend because they’re the only person in their division. So on the 22nd of May in SBG HQ, we’re officially announcing the team. The gold and silver, and two bronze medalists will all be in the running to get selected.
“In some cases, some of the medalists might not want to take one of the two spots, so that will mean the next medalist down will get the spot. That’s why the bronze medalists are still in with a chance. All the kids that didn’t get to compete at the weekend; we get to look at them on the 22nd and make sure they are up to standard, and if they are up to standard, they can take the spot to go to the World Championships as well.
“Once the team is selected, we’re then going to be running regular squad sessions, two a month, between now and July. We’ll train as a team twice a month between now and then.”
Ireland has always had a big presence at IMMAF Youth tournaments. They took home seven medals at the 2021 Youth World Championships in Sofia. The federation has an exceptional record for youth development, and at the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships, they will look to build on their previous success.
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