A record-breaking 479 athletes spanning 42 national teams competed in Abu Dhabi at the recent IMMAF Youth MMA World Championships. Participation in the elite amateur competition for athletes aged 12-17 took place from 17-20 August and smashed previous participation records.
Importantly, the championships spotlighted the continuous growth, not only of top-flight amateur MMA, but across the vast youth development spectrum in all corners of the globe.
Irman Smajic, multi-time IMMAF heavyweight world champion and current chairman of the IMMAF Athletes Commission, gives praise and thanks to all competitors whose presence on the IMMAF platform sets a shining example for the future of MMA.
“It is always fascinating to see MMA youth talent performing on such a stage as the IMMAF Youth World Championships. The IMMAF Athletes Commission is comprised of mainly former IMMAF champions, as well as active senior contenders, and it is fantastic to see so many inspired young athletes beginning their IMMAF journey at an age that many of the adult competitors could only dream of prior to 2019. The diversity and variety of nations finding success, including a few eye-catching surprises, is captivating and shows how the international presence of MMA is only expanding further.
“On behalf of the IMMAF Athletes Commission, I would like to thank and congratulate all athletes of the Youth World Championships who proudly represented their country and delivered honour to the sport of MMA. Their engagement, commitment and passion at a young age are highlighting the positivity of Youth MMA under IMMAF and are shining a light on MMA’s sporting values across all nations.
“Young athletes are setting examples for the future. They are the future of this sport as we progress to even bigger stages and hopefully the Olympic Games. Together I believe we are still at the beginning of something really big.”