MMA’s momentum in Australia: National Championship results

Australia’s MMA boom has continued to build steady momentum since the UFC’s long awaited return to the country last year, when the UFC 193 super show at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne saw headliner Holly Holm secure the bantamweight title from Ronda Rousey. Most recently, the UFC made its way to Brisbane on March 20 with UFC Fight Night headlined by New Zealand’s Mark Hunt who knocked out former heavyweight champion Frank Mir. While well received success was being captured for professional MMA and the UFC,  IMMAF has been working on developing a sustainable structure for amateur and recreational MMA in the region, opening a pathway for the sport to bloom at all levels. Regulated by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Australia (IMMAFA), The Australian National Championships of Amateur MMA took place across the same weekend as UFC Brisbane in conjunction with the Arnold Classic Multi-Sports Festival in Melbourne on March 18-20. Thirty of the nation’s top amateur mixed martial artists competed in what was first ever National MMA Championships in Australia.

Arnold
From left to right: IMMAFA Director William Fagan, IMMAFA President Joe Minehan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, IMMAFA Vive-President Cameron Quinn
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, who was in attendance,  stated: “My time in Australia was really good. It’s always great to head out and see first-hand how the National Federations are developing. Australia has now put a stake in the ground with the federation’s first National Amateur Championship. This is really exciting.” The Australian MMA federation and its President Joe Minehan have their work cut out. The UFC may have well and truly cracked the local market, exposing the sport to the masses aand boosting the nation’s economy. However, it is the IMMAFA’s responsibility to  harness these benefits and guide them as they trickle down to the grass roots; as it is from here that the future generations of MMA in Australia will grow. The IMMAF President continued: “The IMMAFA have been inundated with people wanting to get on board, from judges to competitors. The world of MMA in Australia is buzzing off the back of UFC Brisbane in terms of numbers and economic impact. The event broke records and the sport of MMA in Australia is going from strength to strength. The Australian Federation will work with the pressure of maintaining the structural support and grass roots development to safeguard the athletes and those coming through the recreational process. The IMMAF Progression scheme with its courses for officials, cutman and other MMA professions will all be key to this.” Medalist results from the first Australian National Championships of Amateur MMA are listed below, with national champions now eligible to represent Australia at this year’s IMMAF championship events. 2016 Australian National Amateur Championship medalists: Women’s Flyweight Gold: Brenda Tran, Victoria Silver: Jaimie Townsend, South Australia Women’s Lightweight Gold: Yvonne Chow, Victoria Silver: Lou Richards, Victoria (Equal Silver) Silver: Claudia Gulino, South Australia (Equal Silver) Note: 2 silver medals due to draw results and withdrawals through injury Men’s Flyweight Gold:  Sonny Vo, Victoria Men’s Featherweight Gold: Alistair Pace, Victoria Men’s Lightweight Gold: Eben Cox, Queensland Silver: Thomas David, Victoria Bronze: Harrison Chance, South Australia Bronze: Tony Mlikota, Victoria Men’s Welterweight Gold: Andrew Stanway, Queensland Silver: George Moustakas, Victoria Men’s Middleweight Gold: Liu Faleono, Queensland Silver: Roger Ingerson, South Australia Bronze: Mat Myers, Victoria Bronze: Lavi Fono, South Australia Men’s Light-heavyweight Gold: Jonathan Righetti, South Australia For more information on the IMMAFA you can visit www.immafa.org.au Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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