Youth MMA World Championships: Rules Breakdown Per Age Category

Two- hundred-and-sixty-nine U18s competitors, aged 12 – 17,  have registered to compete in the historic first Youth MMA World Championships, which takes place from 3 – 4 August at the PalaPellicone in Rome under the auspices of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).

Competing national teams hail from the U.S.A, Ireland, Ukraine, England, Russia, Kazakhstan, Italy, Albania, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Finland, Portugal, Germany, Australia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Wales, South Africa, India, New Zealand and Romania.

Unified world MMA governing body, IMMAF – WMMAA, published its Youth MMA rule sets in February, following a unanimous board decision to disallow head strikes for under 18s. Tailored rules for the respective divisions are detailed below. You can download the full Competition Rules document HERE.

IMMAF has set a precedent among striking combat sports with its Youth MMA rule sets which bar head-strikes for under 18s. The rules see a modification of the world recognised Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts with respect to the physiological development of competitors across the following three age categories, as advised by IMMAF’s expert medical, coaching and regulatory committees.

There shall be an “over and above” policy instructed to officials when it comes to dealing with the safety of the youth participants in the following age categories:

IMMAF Youth A 16-17s (U18)
IMMAF Youth B 14-15s (U16)
IMMAF Youth C 12-13s (U14).

ROUNDS

Each contest under IMMAF Youth regulation shall feature the following round times:

IMMAF Youth A 16-17s (U18): 3 x 2 minute rounds duration with a 1 minute rest period.

IMMAF Youth B 14-15s (U16): 1 single round of 4 minutes duration.

IMMAF Youth C 12-13s (U14): 1 single round of 3 minutes duration.

The premise here is in granting the participants the necessary additional and incremental competition times [increasing with age] during matches, rising from 3 to 4 to 6 minutes respectively. No contest should be allowed over a two round format as the likelihood for a drawn result significantly increases.

JUDGING & SCORING SYSTEM

All contests will be evaluated and scored by the referee and a 2nd official/table judge should the need to confer arise. The Unified Criteria currently utilized at IMMAF Senior & Junior tournaments shall be applied and used in determining the winner of a contest based upon its effective use and application.

TECHNICAL SUBMISSIONS

Referee’s shall be instructed to allow the techniques to be freely and openly used and applied but not necessarily finished. In other words a young competitor who has been caught in a legal submission hold shall not be permitted the same leniency and time that an advanced senior would have to utilize an escape. At such an early age the emphasis will be exaggerated from a safety first perspective in not allowing or risking unnecessary injury to our young athletes. As a result “Technical Submission’s” shall be a more frequent occurrence to both decide and end a match.

FORBIDDEN TECHNIQUES

In addition to all listed fouls under the Unifed Rules, techniques that remain forbidden throughout all levels and age groups of Amateur Mixed Martial Arts include elbow and forearm strikes of any kind to the head or body, Heel Hook, Twister, neck crank, can opener, sit through crucifix and/or any submission deemed as applying pressure to the neck or spine, in addition to Knees to the head of an opponent.

There shall be no striking to the head or face for any and all levels of Youth A, B and C competition.

Youth C 12-13 years old – Forbidden Techniques
1. No striking with the knees in any fashion
2. No grounded striking of any fashion
3. No bicep or calf crush
4. No wristlocks
5. No leg submissions of any description
6. No omoplata submission
7. No suplex, elevated/shoulder throws or slams
8. No guillotine chokes of any description
9. No linear kicks to the knee
10. No up-kick from a grounded position
11. No foot stomps

Any throw must by of a hip or hip toss variation and have both head and arm control. The premise on which the youngest group of amateurs shall compete shall be based heavily upon applying and adapting the techniques of mixed martial arts in an enhanced safety environment.

The technical restrictions detailed above shall both allow and facilitate young competitors to garner the necessary time and experience in a competitive format without the risk of unnecessary injury or trauma suffered.

Youth B 14-15 years old – Forbidden Techniques
1. No striking with the knees in any fashion
2. No grounded striking of any fashion
3. No bicep or calf crush
4. No wristlocks
5. No knee-bar [legal leg attacks are straight Achilles lock and figure four ankle lock with straight leg only]
6. No omoplata submission
7. No suplex, elevated/shoulder throws or slams
8. No standing guillotine chokes
9. No linear kicks to the knee
10. No up-kick from a grounded position
11. No foot stomps

Figure four ankle locks are to be applied to a straight leg only, no bending of the knee whilst applying the submission allowed.

Guillotine chokes must be of “arm-in” type and finished from a grounded position.

Youth A 16-17 years old – Forbidden Techniques
1. No striking with the knees in any fashion
2. No kicking to the body of a downed opponent – Closed fist striking to the body only
3. No bicep or calf crush
4. No wristlocks
5. No suplex, elevated/shoulder throws or slams
6. No standing guillotine chokes
7. No linear kicks to the knee
8. No up-kick from a grounded position
9. No foot stomps

Figure four ankle locks are to be applied to a straight leg only, no bending of the knee whilst applying the submission allowed. Guillotine chokes must be finished from a grounded position.

For details on foul procedure and procedure for injuries sustained via fouls, download full Competition Rules HERE.

WEIGHT CATEGORIES

Weigh-ins for amateur contestants shall be on the day of competition, and each subsequent day of competition that the athletes progress. All athletes must weigh in on the official competition scale in shorts and t-shirt/rash guard, most preferably the official IMMAF apparel. Youth contestants are not permitted to strip above or below the waist to underwear or bare torso. To facilitate this all contestants at all official weigh ins shall be granted an additional 1lb [454gr] allowance over and above their designated weight category as detailed below.

Youth category C 12 – 13 years old
Male & Female [under]

-31kg/ 68.3 lbs
-34kg/ 75 lbs
-37kg/ 81.6 lbs
-40kg/ 88.2 lbs
-44kg / 97 lbs
-48kg/ 105.8 lbs
-52kg/ 114.6 lbs
-57kg/ 125.7 lbs
+57kg/ 125.7

Youth category B 14 – 15 years old
Male & Female [under]

-40 kg/ 88.2 lbs
-44 kg/ 97 lbs
-48 kg/ 105.8 lbs
-52 kg/ 114.6 lbs
-57 kg/ 125.7 lbs
-62 kg/ 136.7 lbs
-67 kg/ 147.7 lbs
-72kg/ 158.7 lbs
+72 kg/ 158.7 lbs

Youth category A 16-17 years old [as per current unified IMMAF rules]
Male [under]

Strawweight: -52.2 kg /115 lbs
Flyweight: -56.7 kg /125 lbs
Bantamweight: -61.2 kg /135 lbs
Featherweight: -65.8 kg /145 lbs
Lightweight: -70.3 kg /155 lbs
Welterweight: -77.1 kg /170 lbs
Middleweight: -83.9 kg /185 lbs
Light Heavyweight: -93.0 kg /205 lbs
Heavyweight: -120.2 kg /265 lbs
Female [under]
Atomweight: – 47.7kg /105 lbs
Strawweight: -52.2 kg /115 lbs
Flyweight: -56.7 kg /125 lbs
Bantamweight: -61.2 kg /135 lbs
Featherweight: -65.8 kg /145 lbs
Lightweight: -70.3 kg /155 lbs
Welterweight: 77.1 kg /170 lbs

For further information download full Competition Rules HERE.

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