Director of IMMAF’s national federation in Spain, Antonio García Morales, recalls:
“If we look back several decades, it was at the end of the ‘90s when MMA arrived in Spain under the name of Vale Tudo and Valencia was one of the first Spanish provinces, if not the first, to begin its development.”
It was in 2012 when the Spanish Federation of Olympic Wrestling and DDAA (FELODA) under then president, Mr. Angel López Rojo and then technical director, President Mr. Francisco Javier Iglesias Serna, decided to incorporate MMA into its statutes. The sport was initially listed under ‘Combat Grappling’ since FILA (international wrestling) had it incorporated under this name at the time (under specific rules), and then later in 2015 as MMA (mixed martial arts) under IMMAF.
“In 2015, MMA achieved official sport recognition in Spain. Backed by the government under the CSD (Higher Sports Council), FELODA was granted authority over the national development of MMA and its structures as an Olympic federation.”
Today, Spain has the highest number of athletes (410) and coaches (47) of any nation to be using the state-of-the-art, IMMAF mobile App for training and grading in the IMMAF Technical Progression Scheme for MMA.
IMMAF Director of Development, Andrew Moshanov, reports:
“All provincial head coaches, across Andalucía, Baleares, Canarias, Cantabria, Asturias, Madrid, Castilla, Galicia, País Vasco and Catalonia are fully trained and certified by IMMAF and are ready to further roll-out the grading system in the regions.”
“We are delighted to be working together with a special department of the Spanish National Sports Council called the National Coaches School, directed by Mr. Javier Prieto and responsible for managing the program and requirements for training coaches. We are currently working towards the full alignment of national and international coaching programs.”
Alongside the technical progression scheme, which is accessible to all participants of MMA, the Spanish federation has also evolved a competitive pathway.
Antonio García Morales elaborates:
“MMA competitions in Spain are structured to provide selections for national championships, the winners of which go on to represent the country in IMMAF’s international tournaments. As members of the national team, the selected athletes’ expenses are paid by FELODA and they can formally register as high-performance athletes with all the benefits that this entails.”