Main image: Bulgaria’s Delyan Georgiev celebrates winning IMMAF gold at the 2018 World Championships
The Bulgarian MMA Federation (BULMMAF) has been licensed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Bulgaria since 29.12.2014 and has been an IMMAF member since 2015. Its president is UFC veteran, Stanislav Nedkov.
BULMMAF currently has 27 member clubs with over 800 athletes across all age categories
(-14, -16, -18, 18+ years) and its national teams have won a total of 322 medals to-date at World, European and Balkan championships
Since its formation, the BULMMAF has organised competitions for amateur and professional athletes. The federation broke ground as one of the first in the world to create competition rules for children of 12 years and upwards giving them access to compete in one of the most popular sports in the world. Its amateur tournaments provide for four age groups (12 -13-year olds, 14-15-year olds, 16 -17-year olds and 18+), with its current rule sets compliant with IMMAF’s. In line with this, national level competitors wear the official blue and red equipment (rashguard, shorts, gloves, shinpads) as worn in IMMAF’s international championships.
A main goal of the federation is to develop and to improve the conditions and processes around training and competition in the country. So far progress has been achieved through the creation and implementation of safety rules, as well as coaches’, referees’ and judges’ education.
Since 2015, “MMA” has been included in the educational programme of the National Sports Academy (Vasil Levski). The 4-year MMA coaching course results in a university degree in education for its participants.
On 26 November of this year, BULMMAF held the final tournament of its 2020 national championships, for all four age categories, in the town of Dryanovo. The event was held without an audience due to COVID-19 restrictions. During the official opening ceremony, President Nedkov awarded IMMAF certificates to the first BULMMAF coaches to pass the IMMAF licensing course – Svetoslav Zhelev, Denyo Pavlov, Maria Koleva, Kaloyan Kolev, Nikolay Kolev and Georgi Nedkov.
IMMAF Director of Development, Andrew Moshanov, commended the Bulgarian Federation for demonstrating “remarkable consistency in the growth of the sport of MMA.”
He elaborated: “This has been made possible by the attention they have given to coach education and continuous professional development. I am impressed with the whole sports eco-system in Bulgaria, which includes bi-annual coach revalidation events and upskilling sessions during the National Championships. Now, with the federation adopting the international system of coaches’ certification, their national coach education system is fully aligned with IMMAF’s.”