Mixed martial arts (MMA) is often referred to as the world’s fastest growing sport with an estimated 449 million followers worldwide.
Although the sport’s roots can be traced back as far as the Ancient Olympic Games, MMA was conceived in its contemporary form in the early nineteen-nineties, crystallising today’s professional competition rules and regulations by 2001. Born in the year of the world’s first website, modern MMA exploded in our digital era with clubs, gyms and promotions mushrooming worldwide at an unprecedented pace.
In 2012, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and the World MMA Association (WMMAA) were founded independently from within the MMA community, to bring governance to the sport and to build structures from the grassroots up: The IMMAF was founded in Stockholm, Sweden on February 29th by August Wallén, former athlete and previous President of the Swedish MMA Federation, while the WMMAA was established by M1 founder, Vadim Finkelchtein.
With the common goal of achieving sport recognition from the Olympic movement, WMMAA merged with IMMAF in 2018 to create a super-federation, under the banner of IMMAF.
The purpose of IMMAF is to further the development, recognition and regulation of the sport of MMA, enabling international amateur competition through the organisation of national MMA federations around the world.
IMMAF is focused on developing MMA as an international sport, from the recreational level to the elite, driving the development of common sets of rules, safety regulations, structure, progression pathways and mutual exchange. MMA is no different from other sports: For its positive growth, there is a need to support the grass roots movement of recreational athletics, alongside the creation of opportunities for a world class, amateur sports movement.
IMMAF is focused on gaining worldwide recognition for the sport of MMA. Official recognition is needed on every level – regional, national and global – to enable safeguarding, minimise risk and to increase opportunities and benefits for the sport’s participants. Through our support we hope to see an increasing number of national federations achieve government and National Olympic Committee recognition, as well as support from their other significant sports organisations. Informal recognition is also important and the IMMAF works continually to improve the image of amateur and recreational MMA in the eyes of the general public, sports fans, journalists, politicians and businesses alike.
IMMAF provides a structured community for its member national federations. It provides rules, regulations and governance, structured progression pathways, educational systems and licensing, which are developed democratically through IMMAF elected board, expert committees and member platforms (e.g. General Assemblies, Technical Seminars and other forums).
In countries in which there are no existing national MMA federations, IMMAF supports those who are able and dedicated to form such a federation.
IMMAF organises elite amateur nations tournaments all over the world, through its flagship World and Continental Championships for Seniors, Juniors and Youths from the ages of 12- years upwards.
IMMAF Championships bring together National Teams from member federations all over the world, creating a hub and platform for ongoing sport development.
Our vision is for Mixed Martial Arts to be recognised as a sport and ultimately become an Olympic sport.
Becoming an Olympic sport is the ultimate achievement and highest formal recognition possible for any sport. Recognition is even more critical for the safeguarding of MMA’s participants worldwide. The challenges for MMA are great, but so are the opportunities, and the sport should have no lesser ambition..
We take our purpose and vision seriously and pledge to safeguard the trust invested in us by our national federations, as well as that of all other stakeholders of the sport. We endeavour to earn this trust through our actions and by clearly communicating what the IMMAF brand stands for. Our promise is to at all times deliver upon being Open, Dependable and Progressive.