Pictured above: Certified referee Alexandr Lunga at the 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran The National MMA Federation of Ukraine continues to spread the global standard for MMA officiating, now unified under IMMAF and WMMAA. Following the amalgamation of the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) and World MMA Association (WMMAA), the Ukrainian federation was among the affiliates of WMMAA to meet to the standards for dual recognition. Ukraine’s national regulator is now recognized under the unified world body, and for the first time hosted IMMAF’s certification course for officials last June, conducted by world renown UFC referee and IMMAF technical consultant, Marc Goddard. The opening of certification and progression pathways for developing MMA officials is an essential avenue for breeding a high standard of unified practice among officials, worldwide. National federations globally are given the tools to establish domestic certification of referees and judges with a pathway to the international level on the IMMAF-WMMAA platform that welcomes the highest standard of program graduates, all well educated and experienced products of their own national body under IMMAF-WMMAA. Furthermore, documented certification and tracking of experience levels among referees and judges has enabled the world’s leading professional MMA promoters to work with qualified regional officials when entering new territories, such as the UFC when in Germany last August (pictured below). “It will work well for the world’s leading and biggest MMA organisations,” Marc Goddard explained in a 2016 interview, shortly after the launch of IMMAF’s educational program for officials. “When [promoters] go to new territories they will be able to look at the trained grad A-C officials who have completed the IMMAF course, because we want the best of the best, it’s the same in any sport. Brand new referees in football don’t suddenly referee the World Cup. There’s levels in everything: athletes, coaches, judges and referees. Experience and time served applies to each and every person in this sport. “In its current state the IMMAF (now unified with WMMAA) is centered around amateur competition. I wrote, designed and developed the course for the IMMAF and deliver it on their behalf. It’s a two-day course with several key elements; participation and verbal reasoning, they have written and practical examinations and a judging assessment. There’s a whole multitude of things that candidates are graded on, the important thing is that those who pass aren’t just let loose on the world. It’s all about continued development and having a pathway and progression element.” Pictured: Across national territories regional officials attend certification courses hosted by the Ukrainian Federation Following completion of international certification under IMMAF-WMMAA, the nation’s most experienced officials take on the responsibility of hosting further national certification courses to spread the education that they have attained, continuing the grass roots production of home grown officials. Experienced Ukrainian referees Alexandr Lunga and Konstantin Chaban were a part of the international team of officials last November at the 2018 IMMAF-WMMAA Amateur MMA World Championships. Both individuals have taken on leadership of domestic certification courses across the nation of Ukraine, with a further four dates scheduled ahead of the 2019 Ukrainian National Championships. Visit mma.org.ua for more information.