IMMAF CEO End of Year Statement & Outline For 2017

As 2016 comes to an end, CEO Densign White addresses the IMMAF family and MMA community as a whole. Reflecting on the successes of 2016, he outlines the direction and aims of IMMAF for 2017. In addition, the IMMAF CEO reveals for the first time the disappointment of a rejected application to WADA, despite having presented compliance with the WADA code, citing purely political reasons spearheaded by leaders of other sports. Read Densign White’s full end of year statement below. Dear Members,

2016 has been quite an extraordinary year for IMMAF. We were able to stage the 3rd edition of the world Championships in Las Vegas and raise the bar in terms of safety, organisation and presentation. The UFC’s Las Vegas Fan Expo was an amazing location and running the championship from start to finish in the same hall was an added advantage. In these championships, for the first time, our athletes were wearing Red corner and Blue corner rash guards. The visual impact was quite remarkable and in terms of visual impact for TV, I think it has been a hit. From a visual perspective I feel we can make more improvements, for example, by putting names of the athletes on the back of the rash guard and their country code also. Once we have worked out how logistically we can make that happen, this will be the next step. I want to improve the standard of hygiene in the cage. It concerns me greatly how many people are in the cage between rounds and at the end of fights wearing outdoor shoes. For me the canvas should be treated with the same respect as a tatami and I am exploring a solution for this also. In August the South Africa federation hosted the Africa continental open. Although in scale it was a smaller event than we expected, we have put another stake in the ground and this will, I hope, in the future be the catalyst for development and growth of MMA in Africa. November’s European Open in Prague concluded our competition programme for 2016 and was another success story with more than 220 participants. 2017 will see the 1st edition of an Asian continental open in Singapore and the World Championships will move to November. Away from the championships we are working hard for IMMAF recognition with the umbrella organisations SportAccord and AIMS. We submitted an application for the former in August and also in June we submitted our WADA application. Unfortunately the WADA application was not successful because the umbrella organisations advised WADA not to grant us signatory status. This decision of course is not based on our compliance with the WADA code because we are compliant. This decision is politically driven by other sports that want to protect their position within the Olympic family and see the growth of MMA as a threat to their own survival. As you might expect from your CEO and your President we will fight tooth and nail to win our place for MMA at the top table and work on a new strategy has already begun. Although much has been achieved in the last two years we still have much more to do in 2017 and beyond. In the next phase of IMMAF development we need to do more on the education of the MMA community. That is why in January we will launch our progression scheme. This scheme will be available to all member federations. The benefit of the scheme will be to provide an assessment or classification tool to measure skill levels and to give the appropriate recognition or certification for recreational practitioners, fighters, coaches, referees and judges. The progression scheme will also provide a safety ladder and provide income for Federations and their Gyms. Every federation and its individual members registered in My Next Match will be able to access the progression scheme resources including certificates, syllabus forms, technical videos, posters and much more. We plan to launch an insurance scheme for all of our members which will include fighting in the cage coverage, which we believe is an industry first. This policy will be exclusive to IMMAF and our members that are compliant with our safety standards and progression scheme qualifications. This is just a taster of the organisations direction of travel for the forthcoming year. We could not achieve any of our objectives without your continued support and I would like to thank each and every one of you that have worked so hard to help us achieve our common collective goals. To the IMMAF board, IMMAF headquarters staff, volunteers, special advisers, sponsors, coaches and athletes, officials and medical support teams I am extremely grateful to you all for your contribution. Finally, I want to wish you all a merry Christmas, good health and every success in the new year. Lets make it happen. Densign White Chief Executive Officer International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF)

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