Pictured: IMMAF director of development Andrew Moshanov (center) alongside Austrian national team coaches, Michael Ettl (left) & Gerhard Ettl (right) Last week IMMAF-WMMAA reached the milestone of confirming the world’s first 100 certified MMA coaches, recognised under the sport’s global governing body. “Coaches are the backbone of a sport,” IMMAF development director Andrew Moshanov expressed. “Therefore, certifying coaches on a global scale will remain our priority. Within six months of its launch, the program has hit the number of 101 licensed coaches, which is still a modest number on the world scale, however just the beginning. We are aiming for much more.” The Austrian MMA Federation, in collaboration with University of Graz, hosted the latest IMMAF-WMMAA Coach Certification course in early March. Suitably, the course took place within the Champions MMA Gym, a hub for Austrian MMA with a history dating back to the 1990s of hosting early Vale Tudo events and the evolution of MMA that would follow. “IMMAF-WMMAA recognises that, despite the fact that MMA is taking the world of martial arts by storm, it is still a young sport and we have to bridge a lot of gaps, including the field of coaching competency and proficiency, as any organised sport would aim to do. Therefore, our vision is to establish the coaching standards and assure that IMMAF-WMMAA licensed coaches deliver a safe and beneficial practice, worldwide. “As for the course hosted by the Austrian Federation, I am impressed with the professionalism of the national team head coaches, Gerhard and Michael Ettl, who are the driving force for MMA development in Austria. Both have a clear vision for development of mixed martial arts as a sport in the country and offer no compromise on the quality and standards of training of the new generation of coaches.” 16 coaches were in attendance with seminars delivered by University tutors, Dr. Fritz Treiber and Robert Hartinger. Following the educational seminar and discussions, four coaches passed the theoretical examination. “It is telling,” Mr. Moshanov added, “that the four coaches who passed the theoretical part of the exam will be given additional time to elevate their practical coaching approach to the level set by AUTMMAF, to fulfil the demanding national standard. I personally see this as a willingness of AUTMMAF to stay on top of the game in the long term.” A lecturer in bio-molecular science at the University of Graz, Dr. Treiber was officially the 100th individual to receive a coaching license under IMMAF-WMMAA, and is the current president of the Austrian MMA Federation. With a background in Judo from the age of 8, he progressed to Muay Thai and kickboxing in the late 90’s while studying microbiology. Gerhard Ettl introduced “Freefighting” to Austria in 1999, birthing MMA within the nation, with Dr. Treiber as an early student. Within six months, the vision of IMMAF-WMMAA to set unified coaching standards has grown across diverse cultures within MMA. Experienced course graduates hail from Austria, The Philippines, Greece, Cyprus, Panama, Colombia and Mexico, with a plethora of coaches from across further member nations set to join the list.