MMA Official Vito Paolillo discusses his journey with IMMAF

Pictured above: IMMAF Regulatory Affairs Consultant Marc Goddard briefs teams and officials at the 2015 World Amateur Championships in Las Vegas. Vito Paolillo is among 21 experienced MMA officials who registered for a referee or judging position at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA. Alongside his international counterparts, Paolillo is an ongoing graduate of the IMMAF Certification Course for Officials, in conjunction with the broader Progression Pathways scheme. IMMAF’s certification for Amateur MMA officials in particular is led by world renowned UFC referee Marc Goddard who continues to host courses across the globe with a view to implementing unified standards and understanding for MMA officiating worldwide. IMMAF’s certification courses welcome experienced officials who posses a background of officiating and have completed the required entry level courses through a National IMMAF Member. Paolillo joined the IMMAF Progression Pathway with the Italian Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts Federation (FIGMMA). He detailed his previous years of experience when speaking to IMMAF.org: “I started as a judge and referee for MMA with FIGMMA in 2010. I was already a referee for grappling since 2008, the year that FILA (the Olympic Wrestling Federation now named UWW) first introduced the sport of Amateur MMA. MMA was regulated in this Federation until 2013. “Inside FILA I was an International Referee for Amateur MMA during the years 2012 and 2013. “In Grappling I am an International Referee and Instructor since 2012 under United World Wrestling, having worked in all their events, from World Championship to the SportAccord World Combat Games.” Having gained credible experience with both FILA and FIGMMA, Paolillo continued on the pathway towards officiating at international IMMAF Championship events, such as the World Championships and European Open where the best qualified officials from Amateur MMA are selected. “I went to the 2014 World Championships as a Team Official and coach and decided to apply as a judge for the 2015 World Championship. Being able to work in this event was a incredible opportunity for growth. “I had the opportunity to follow the referee courses with Marc Goddard that IMMAF held before the 2015 World Championship and European Open Championship. It was an incredible opportunity to learn from probably the best referee in the business and better understand all the details of the Unified Rules of Amateur MMA that IMMAF implemented during those years. “I was selected for both the Worlds and European Open in 2015, and I learned a lot from the best in the business, and it was an honor being selected again in 2016.” Paolillo quickly recognised the benefits of progression through IMMAF certification, which not only educates and assesses, but also registers its participants globally, enabling records to be put in place to monitor further development. “IMMAF is providing an excellent pathway for referees and judges that start with national level courses held by the National Federation, and then gives opportunity to improve through IMMAF official courses to get the International Certification. “This way IMMAF can create an International Registry of referees that can be used both by National Federations or IMMAF itself for Amateur competition, as well as by the international promotions that organize events sanctioned by the national governing body. “This can be really benefit all the parties involved as well as promote the cooperation between National Federations.” The 2016 IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA take place from Tuesday, July 5 – Sunday, July 10, culminating at the Las Vegas Convention Center, in conjunction with the 5th Annual UFC International Fight Week and Fan Expo. “The 2016 World Championships will break all the records, with many new countries joining the competition, like Russia and Spain, and a record of registered competitors. I expect to see many exciting fights and it will be a pleasure to work again with Marc and all the other officials.”

You can follow FIGMMA on Twitter @FIGMMA and for more information visit figmma.it.
  Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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