The 2022 IMMAF Asian Championships are fast approaching after the success of the European Championships. Hosted by the Tajikistan Mixed Martial Arts Federation, the Championships highlight IMMAF’s commitment to building the sport in Asia.
The last time IMMAF held a continental championships in Asia was back in 2019. The competition was open to countries outside of Asia, in contrast to the upcoming tournament. Only eight nations from the continent were involved in 2019. A figure that has grown to thirteen, and the number of entries has doubled.
Ahead of the Championships, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown discussed the focus on the region and IMMAF’s commitment to ensuring the sport is in safe hands.
“We have held three World Championships in Bahrain since 2017 and one in UAE, and have secured a three-year deal in Abu Dhabi for our Youth World Championships, the first of which we held there this year. In terms of the pathway, and developing the base of the sport, Asia is a region in which we are focussed on developing the sport at every level.
“After seven years of my Presidency at IMMAF, we feel that we have done a lot and contributed to the development of the sport globally. And what we want to make sure is that in Asia, stakeholders understand the contribution that IMMAF has made to make sure that the sport is in safe hands. When you look at the development of the pathway, when you look at coach development, when you look at the referees and judges…all the work that we’ve done to ensure that the development of the sport is coming from the base and not from the top, its unprecedented”
Since the last set of Asian Championships, IMMAF has been ensuring the sport is still growing at every level. Brown highlighted some of the work that has been done to support this and wants to maintain this in the coming years.
“The key thing is athlete safety. The medical support that we implement for the athletes to ensure that concussions are minimized, through the post-medicals and pre-medicals, set a gold standard in MMA and everything that goes into protecting the athlete, including coach development, is fundamental to what we do.”
“It’s key that we maintain that level of development. We’re fairly close to six years in terms of our sport development drive, and we now achieved WADA signatory status. So we’ve done a lot of work both globally and in Asia, and we want to build on that to maintain the sport’s development over the years to come. So, we feel MMA is in great hands with IMMAF at the moment.”