The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has launched a “Peace through MMA” Commission as part of its commitment to harnessing sport to mitigate violence and engender peace, with a focus on developing programmes to socially benefit young people.
President Kerrith Brown said:
“MMA is a universal language recognised by youth worldwide, with the power to break boundaries and to unite. As I have experienced in my own journey, martial arts require personal transformation, the development of self-knowledge, self-discipline, honour and respect. The process of training to fight within a sport is an effective pathway to learning the skills of negotiation and to attaining peace. It is our responsibility as leaders in the sport to channel the great power of martial arts towards social good.”
The committee is chaired by Danny Corr of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association. Corr is acclaimed for his Fight to Unite youth project in Northern Ireland, in a region that has seen in the past many social and economic problems as a result of conflict. The government recognised project has proven the success of a focused and sustainable programme that combines the many benefits of MMA with education, personal development and youth work. The programme tackles issues affecting young people and helps to build resilience and a positive future for young people and their communities.
Corr is joined on the Commission by Denis Rowan, best known as an expert in International Conflict Resolution with extensive work in the Northern Ireland Peace and Political Process. Denis has a vast experience in organising youth projects for social and educational furtherance and for the advancement of peace.
Corr and Rowan are currently working with the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association in the Republic to organise a cross-border youth peace project aligned with a nationally recognised educational programme.
The Peace through MMA Commission is building on this work to develop a blueprint, consultancy and training support for the implementation of similar, tailored programmes for IMMAF’s other National Federations around the world.
“I am honoured to be Chairing this exciting Commission. Our sport and the passion with which IMMAF has developed worldwide has seen untold success; but we have so much more to offer communities and countries worldwide. A tailored structured approach to developing projects can bring massive benefits to our young people and especially in times like these, can help the long term sustainability of organisations and clubs.”
Demonstrating just how important youth development and the cause for peace are to IMMAF, the commission also includes President Kerrith Brown and CEO Densign White, who has a long track record of working with social projects in sport, particularly through his role as Chairman of British Charity, Sporting Equals.
Administrators to the commission are IMMAF Brand & Communications Director, Izzy Carnwath, and Member Development Consultant, Jorden Curran, whose role at IMMAF includes supporting National Federations with their projects related to community intervention, social health and wellbeing.