How IMMAF created a visual definition for amateur and Olympic MMA

By lead writer, Jorden Curran If you have ever wondered what amateur mixed martial arts could look like at the Olympic Games, or more specifically, the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, look no further than the 2016 IMMAF World Championships as the event which first showcased the official IMMAF competition gear. As all athletes were equipped with the primary red and blue gloves, shorts, shinguards and rashguard, the sport instantly inherited a visual representation that could be recognized anywhere on Earth as MMA at the amateur level. In addition, the use of mouthguards and groinguards are essential for all competitors. A simple Google search of amateur boxing, kickboxing or wrestling will show you a consistent visual image that is synonymous with amateur competition. Through experience as Olympic veterans, IMMAF president Kerrith Brown and Chief Executive Densign White decided that amateur mixed martial arts lacked this same consistency and that the window was left open for confusion among the worldwide audience. Alongside renowned equipment developer, Green Hill, IMMAF developed enhanced safety specifications for competition apparel of which makes the sport instantly recognizable, in tune with the visual sensation of World and Olympic level combat sport. Male MMA athletes do not typically wear rashguards but the decision was made that both men and women would do so in IMMAF competitions with respect to gender equality and maintaining the visual brand. “We wanted to define amateur MMA and what it could be at the Olympic level,” Alistair Pettitt explained, Director of International Events. “With Green Hill we have a partner that has great experience in the values of amateur combat sport and the development of equipment. On the surface we have succeeded in establishing the visual definition of amateur MMA, but our commitment to cutting edge safety and athlete satisfaction is continuously evolving for constant improvement through user research and reviews. We have so far developed 2 variations for improved shin guards and this year’s World Championships in Bahrain will see the latest 7oz glove design.”

The latest design variation for protective equipment and apparel first featured at the 2017 European Open Championships
The latest design variation for protective equipment and apparel first featured at the 2017 European Open Championships
In addition to its distinct contrast to the professional level, the augmented protective gear with shinguards and substantial gloves brings a level of safety well suited for decreasing injuries and thus complimenting the IMMAF tournament format that sees athletes compete healthily and safely on back-to-back days throughout the international championships. Under the governance of IMMAF member federations, national level contests are now beginning to adopt the red and blue colour scheme worldwide following the example set by international IMMAF championships.

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