MMA Enters the Classroom in Northern Ireland as A-Level Qualification

By lead writer, Jorden Curran Mixed Martial Arts can now be taken as an A-Level coaching qualification for sixth form students at a school in Belfast, after the launch of a full time programme with the sport at its core, worth 3 A-Levels leading to higher education. “Sixth form” refers to an additional 1-3 years of secondary school, in which GCSE graduates typically aged between 16-18 complete A-Level examinations to gain university access.

The development was spearheaded by Danny Corr, Director of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association (UAMMAA), in collaboration with LLS, an organisation dedicated to providing secondary school leavers with qualifications to become future sports industry leaders. The two-year course includes work experience placements and 8 weeks spent in America. Sixth form education is the latest example of MMA’s flourishing integration with the youth and culture of Northern Ireland, which in the past four years has evolved to include government, council and Comic Relief funding provided for MMA youth programmes and paid youth workers with the Northern Ireland Youth Forum. The Ulster Amateur MMA Association concluded research of pilot programme “Fight to Unite” in 2016, discovering incredible feedback and results on the impact of local youth work through MMA in relation to ongoing issues among young people. In June of 2018 the Belfast City Council backed the funding of an MMA Centre of Excellence. Across the globe, MMA continues to find its way into education with a number of international universities introducing MMA in nations such as the UK, Lebanon and Bahrain. From June 16-22, Belfast and the UAMMAA are set to host the IMMAF – WMMAA European Open Championships and Junior European Open Championships.

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