Following the success of the first ever IMMAF Youth World Championships in mixed martial arts in Rome this weekend, one of the world governing body’s member federations has announced an exciting new initiative to combine MMA and education.
Children in Northern Ireland are to be taught mixed martial arts in a bid to tackle gaps in education, mental health and social inclusion by providing access to world class facilities and coaching and by providing qualifications in Maths and English by local teachers.
Danny Corr, Founder and chairman of The Ulster Amateur MMA Association, said: “I am extremely proud and excited to have been given the go ahead at the highest level to show the country that our sport of MMA has everything. We can show how we can develop youths through our sport and to develop other positive aspects of their lives.
“Not everyone can be a top competitor, but everyone can gain a positive life changing experience through a focused programme. “We will provide young people with the tools, resilience and support structures they need to become life champions and create positive futures for themselves.”
The project, which is being funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, will begin at the start of the next school term in September and run for the next 2 years.
The project will employ schoolteachers to help 16-19 year olds achieve maths and English qualifications and the skills of MMA. It coincides with two new MMA centres opening in Northern Ireland, one of them funded by Belfast City Council at Corpus a Christi Youth Centre in Ballymurphy which shows the importance placed on the sport in that region.
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “The announcement of this fantastic initiative by Danny Corr’s association members of Ulster Amateur MMA Association, just days after a fantastic first ever edition of our World Youth Championships, shows that Youth Development is now a crucial part of our sport’s ongoing development. I am delighted that Officials in Northern Ireland have seen that through MMA, we can help realise the potential of young people in communities affected by crime, violence and social exclusion.”
Main image: Youth participants of the Ulster Amateur MMA Club at Danny Corr’s ZKJ Dojo earlier this year, a project fully funded by Comic Relief.