The historic first Youth MMA World Championships takes place this week under the auspices of IMMAF – WMMAA from 3-4 August in Rome, Italy.
The international gathering, set to welcome 263 developing contenders, is the first of its kind with unprecedented global participation for a youth MMA event. The unique platform provides new avenues for MMA development among youth athletes and the 60+ active national teams spanning five continents, who already frequent the senior and junior championships circuit.
New avenues have also opened for families with the sport of MMA at their core. Professional MMA standouts, such as the UFC’s Mike Grundy and Bellator’s Sinead Kavanagh will each be accompanying their own children as they compete on the first international platform for developing talent among youngsters from the ages of 12 to 17.
IMMAF co-founder Tom Madsen (main picture), who since its inception has represented Germany on the IMMAF board of directors, will witness his sons Merlin (pictured below) and Mio (main image, right) enter as pioneers of the ground-breaking new pathway, bringing their experience as MMA and kickboxing practitioners.
“It goes without saying that, as a co-founder and board member of IMMAF, I have great passion and trust in the vision I see for the progression of young athletes in this unique, breath-taking sport. IMMAF is creating a leading and very safe pathway to progress and grow in what is widely considered as the world’s fastest growing sport,” Madsen stated.
Alongside his wife, Lena (main image, left), Madsen has witnessed the birth of IMMAF and all its developments, from the world and continental championships to sport development via education and certification for officials, progression pathways for recreational athletes, safety standards that raise the bar among combat sports, and the forever growing worldwide membership of nations.
“IMMAF as an organisation provides a safe environment for elite amateurs with a highly qualified medical staff and well-educated, certified referees and judges, some of whom with higher experience are regularly officiating in the UFC.
“Being an experienced athlete myself, I have never seen an equal level of dedication to safety and progression as a I do in IMMAF championships.”
This family of martial arts specialists now has the surreal experience of being part of a new generation of progress that further extends MMA’s evolution.
“Now my own kids are able to benefit from what is exclusively the biggest, most competitive platform that is now available to them – the IMMAF Youth World Championships,” Madsen said.
He added, “through national try-outs, the scouting and training with external and national team coaches, the youngsters are not only receiving excellent training, experience and competition , but they now enter on to a pathway that will ensure development and progression and enjoyment on a safe basis.”
The German MMA Federation (GEMMAF), headed by President Clemens Werner, has been among the most progressive and developing IMMAF – WMMAA members of the past two years. At the competitive level, implementation of a regional to national championships network saw GEMMAF’s Team Germany produce World and European champions and medalists in 2018, hitting the nation’s greatest run of form to date at the senior and junior level. Germany’s youth can now join in the nation’s efforts.
The IMMAF co-founder concluded, “The MMA world is truly stepping up and preparing for keeping Olympia 2028 real!”
By IMMAF.org lead writer, photographer: Jorden Curran