amateur MMA

MMA Moves Closer to Olympics with IMMAF WADA Status

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The leading amateur MMA organization in the world continues to grow and make moves going into 2022.  For years, the The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has been working hard to get MMA acceptance in the Olympics. A huge milestone was recently achieved as the IMMAF will be a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code signatory status. This process for the IMMAF has taken greater than two years and is much closer to accomplishing their goals.

What is WADA?

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was founded, in 1999, by the International Olympic Committee and continues to function with the IOC, National Olympic Committees, and the International Sports Federations. According to their website WADA, “Key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) – the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries…To lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport.”

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“Achieving WADA Code signatory status has been a genuine team commitment across the whole organisation.” IMMAF Anti-Doping Consultant, Michele Verroken, of Sporting Integrity said, “This demonstrates just how serious IMMAF is about clean and safe MMA for amateur athletes and how doping has no place in our sport. I am truly grateful to be working with an international federation that prioritises athlete welfare and the integrity of competition.”

Who is the IMMAF?

The IMMAF is looking to enrich the next generation of athletes in MMA and its primary goal is to get MMA recognized in the Olympics. According to the IMMAF, “The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) provides the platform for MMA’s next generation of athletes and rising stars. Founded in 2012, IMMAF’s purpose is to further the development, recognition and regulation of the sport of MMA (mixed martial arts), enabling amateur competition through the organisation of national MMA federations around the world. With a seven-year track record of organising international amateur Championships and ten years developing the sport globally, IMMAF’s membership today includes 120 National Federations worldwide, of which 49 are recognised by their National Olympic Committee or National Sports Authority. IMMAF has advanced programmes for the education and certification of MMA coaches, referees and other technical officials, and for Youth Development. Supported by the UFC®, IMMAF is the only legitimate international governing body for MMA, working to gain sport recognition and see MMA into the Olympic Games.”

IMMAF and WADA Signatory Status

“The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is proud to announce that it has been awarded WADA Code signatory status by the World Anti-Doping Agency,” The IMMAF accounced in a press release, “Becoming the first organisation to do so under the revised Policy for Acceptance of New Signatories that came into effect at the beginning of 2021. IMMAF’s application was reviewed under the revised policy, which was approved by WADA’s Executive Committee in September 2020 and came into force at the same time as the revised Code on 1 January 2021.”

“WADA is pleased to welcome the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation into the Clean Sport community.” Said WADA President Witold Bańka,  “In signing the Code, it joins the more than 600 sports organizations that have already pledged their support to the harmonized global anti-doping movement. We would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts that have been made by IMMAF to bring this to fruition. In order to gain approval under the terms of the revised policy, the federation needed to go through a stringent process. This included the assessment by independent experts of its level of good governance, a review of its application by WADA’s newly created Signatory Expert Group – which is independent from WADA Management – and the completion of an extensive Code Compliance Questionnaire to demonstrate the quality of their anti-doping program. This is a positive step for IMMAF and its athletes, who will now enjoy the protection afforded by the Code.”

“As the first international sports governing body to complete WADA’s new application process,” continues IMMAF President Kerrith Brown, “We have set a new benchmark not just for MMA, but for sport. Today, IMMAF can be proud that its gold standard in clean MMA has been formally recognised, guaranteeing transparency, fairness and safety to our athletes and empowering us to implement further improvements in governance. This sees IMMAF become the only international federation for MMA with WADA signatory status, following six years adherence to WADA compliant anti-doping regulation. Today’s result is not only a significant achievement for IMMAF but also for our national federations which have contributed to this journey, and it will surely strengthen their bids for national sport recognition.”

“It’s been a long journey these past years to achieve the standard required for signatory status.” Proudly, IMMAF CEO Densign White declared, “This recognition sets a benchmark for our sport and also marks a historical step change in WADA’s recognition process, with IMMAF being the first international federation to be accepted under the new WADA Code as revised in January. The new code sets new higher standards in protecting athletes and creating the level playing field we all want. This will also be fantastic news for all our national federations as it validates their credibility as members of an international federation that has sport integrity at its heart.”

Featured Image Courtesy of the IMMAF.

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