MMA’s annual equivalent to Olympic competition is quickly approaching. Open registration for the Unified World Championships of Amateur MMA was initially announced last week.
The event takes place during Brave Combat Federation’s “International Combat Week,” which is set for Nov. 11-18 in Manama, Bahrain, for the second consecutive year. The tournament is hosted by the country’s national federation and is supported by the Bahrain Olympic Committee.
This will be the fifth overall World Championships put on by the UFC-partnered International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). However, 2018 marks the first time the World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) will also be involved.
The two organizations completed their amalgamation last month. The merger ended a perceived rivalry and was done in an effort to create a lone amateur sanctioning body for potential Olympic recognition, hopefully by the the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
IMMAF now has between 90 and 100 member nations. At maximum, just over 51 percent of the world participates in MMA. The IMMAF-WMMAA World Championships of Amateur MMA will be available on the new streaming platform, IMMAF.tv.
A Championship Pass for single events is available for $5.80 each and is valid for three days. An annual subscription with various benefits is also an option for $15.10 and is automatically renewed.
The event will be open to male and female athletes spanning 16 weight divisions. The 2017 installment featured 250 athletes, representing 48 countries. IMMAF acknowledged in its announcement that these figures could possibly double this year thanks to the merger.
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein each issued statements regarding their excitement to IMMAF.org.
“The competition level promises to be extremely high, and some surprises are to be expected across the divisions,” Brown said in part. “On behalf of IMMAF, I would like to thank President Finkelchtein and the WMMAA board for enabling this progressive event, and I look forward to meeting their teams, alongside ours, in Bahrain as part of BRAVE International Combat Week.”
“History is being made through the affiliation of the two world federations, and I am thankful to the members of both IMMAF and WMMAA for supporting President Brown and myself in the decision to combine forces,” Finkelchtein added. “The Unified World Championships is another step forward towards our ultimate goal. It is going to be an MMA tournament like no other before with the greatest number of nations and participants ever.”
The first-ever IMMAF Junior World Championships for competitors between the ages of 18 and 21 will run concurrently. Originally scheduled for September along with IMMAF’s Asian Open in Beijing, the event will slide to November and the Asian Open will be postponed until 2019 as a result of a sanctioning issue.
Those interested in competing should contact their national federation through the IMMAF or WMMAA.