The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) are proud to reveal the shortlisted nominees for the ‘Changing Lives Through MMA’ Award, set to be presented at the first international Amateur MMA Awards. The inaugural, annual ceremony will take place on November 15 at the ART Rotana Hotel & Resort in Manama, Bahrain, during the 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA Unified World Championships. This prestigious occasion aims at global recognition for the achievements of amateur mixed martial artists, national federations and the men and women working hard to develop MMA as a world recognised sport of excellence. The invitation only, black-tie awards dinner is exclusively for IMMAF delegates, national federation presidents, award nominees and special guests. The evening will be hosted by British MMA journalist and MyNextMatch Communication Officer, Andreas Georgiou, and promises entertainment and special guest appearances. Under IMMAF & WMMAA a significant number of national members are exceeding their social responsibly through community programmes, volunteer work, and other social projects. The Changing Lives Through MMA Award aims to celebrate and recognise the commitment of figures such as coaches, volunteers and national leaders (non-competitors). YOU CAN VOTE NOW VIA: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6ND5LW2 Miomir Vujovic – Luxemburg The heartwarming passion of Miomir Vujovic inspires others to go above and beyond with his inspirational example of combining MMA with social work. 10 years ago he created the Streetsport Project providing free martial arts classes so that young and disadvantaged people can be guaranteed access to the sport of MMA and its core disciplines. Testimonies from participants have described success in overcoming personal issues and bullying as a result, with others progressing to develop competitive MMA careers and achieve on the IMMAF platform. While serving as president of the Luxembourg MMA Federation, he has contributed personal financial investment for athlete participation fees, ensuring that Luxembourg is represented by its dedicated and talented athletes. Stanislav Nedkov – Bulgaria Stanislav Nedkov is a founding father of development and regulation for the sport of MMA in Bulgaria, and a key influencer in the nation’s long term prominence on the international amateur platform. With an ethos for leading by example through hard work and consistency, Nedkov has furthered his commitments to the sport’s grass roots development, dedicated to motivating hundreds of athletes after retirement as a former UFC contender. As president of the Bulgarian MMA Federation, he has taken to introducing MMA at the community level encouraging young athletes to develop strong character and direct their energy in a positive direction. Under Nedkov’s leadership, the BULMMAF has achieved several milestone developments including: achieving recognition from the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Bulgaria, significantly expanding BULMMAF membership across the nation from 10 to 33 member clubs in just 4 years and opening the pathway to lead 600 amateur athletes into regulated competition, domestically and internationally. Danny Corr – Northern Ireland A founding member and director of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association, Danny Corr has blazed a path for unprecedented development of grass roots MMA at the community level. Danny Corr founded the free MMA youth development programme known as Fight To Unite. His unrelenting strive for the sport’s recognition has gained government support and groundbreaking funding to establish a project which works with young people age 12-24 facing the highest levels of deprivation and child poverty in Northern Ireland, exposed to educational underachievement, homelessness, drugs and paramilitary threat and other factors resulting in the UK’s highest suicide rate. This vivid transcendence of sport has won over council and Comic Relief funding to use MMA as a vehicle to provide young people with education, employment and youth support Services. In the last 3 years over 3000 young people have benefited from the programme, gaining qualifications in sports coaching and youth work, plus 100 young people becoming MMA Mentors in their local community. Danny Corr has received high praise and awards from the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland, resulting in the government funded MMA Centre of Excellence in Belfast, plus a paid youth worker and MMA Coach to maintain longevity of the Fight to Unite Programme. Fedor Emelianenko – Russia Considered to be MMA’s all-time greatest heavyweight, countless athletes and fans worldwide received their introduction to MMA via the awe inspiring career of Fedor Emelianenko and his legendary run as champion of Pride. Undoubtedly, he is among the greatest catalysts of MMA’s global explosion. Since 2012 Fedor has served as counselor to the Russian Minister for Sports, contributing to the official development of the sport in addition to his pioneering status among fans. In May of 2012, Fedor assumed leadership of the Russian MMA Union, responsible for the sport’s domestic progression. By September 2012 MMA was recognized as an official sport and today is among the most popular sports in Russia. Under the umbrella of the Russian MMA Union, Fedor’s position helped to galvanize the 81 regional federations, which are currently in operation and sustaining regulated competition platforms, providing more and more opportunity for participation and influencing the establishment of martial arts in higher educational institutions. Cristian Quintero – Colombia A regional director of Colombia’s OCAMM federation under IMMAF, Cristian Quintero has opened the sport of MMA to young victims of social problems such as drug addiction, alcoholism, crime and armed conflict, among others. Under his management, a new direction for MMA has been created with a message of hope and improvement in the face of these adversities, through the practice of MMA together with the foundation “Voces de Aliento” working with all types of the vulnerable population to raise awareness and project discipline, respect and tolerance in all areas of life. Today, OCAMM works with a body of members who have benefited from the impact of MMA on their lives, such as the case of Dayan Alejandro Álape, a young victim of armed conflict, who through MMA has found a route towards a promising future. He will be representing Colombia at the 2018 Amateur MMA World Championships.