amateur MMA

USFL and IMMAF Announce Partnership for USA Amateur MMA

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The United States Fight League (USFL) and the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) have come to an agreement. The USFL will be hosting amateur MMA tournaments nation wide in association with the IMMAF. The first of which will be a tournament on May 14 at Dan Henderson’s gym in Temecula, California. This competition will decide who will represent the United States at the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships.

In a press release the IMMAF said the following:

“USFL Affiliates to IMMAF to develop Junior and Senior Amateur MMA in USA

Appoints selection committee led by Forrest Griffin for U.S. National teams

The United States Fight League (USFL), led by Jon Frank, has been affiliated by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) as the official amateur MMA federation for the United States, initially with Observation Status.

IMMAF recognizes USFL as a non-profit national MMA organisation, that organises regular amateur competitions and works for the development of the sport nationwide. USFL has agreed to comply with IMMAF Statutes and other IMMAF regulations, the WADA Code and accept the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) jurisdiction.

As President of the USFL, Frank has long played a key role in fostering and supporting youth MMA competitions in the United States. Now, the USFL will look to fill an adult roster to represent the U.S. in IMMAF’s international championships. The USA team has performed highly at IMMAF Youth World Championships, dominating the medals table in 2019, and in 2021 achieving 6 gold medals, 3 silver and 8 bronze.

“The USFL’s primary focus for the past 20 years has been to establish Youth MMA as a safe, well regulated, and accepted sport to help build better kids in the United States. Due to the success of our national Youth program, IMMAF thought it would be logical to expand our athlete developmental progression from Youth Pankration to adult MMA,” said Jon Frank.

The organization has established a selection committee to recruit the best adult amateur fighters in the nation. UFC Hall-of-Famer and Vice President of Athlete Development Forrest Griffin will oversee the committee throughout this process. Forrest is also a member of the IMMAF Athletes’ Commission.

“Forest has the perfect attribute of background, experience, and demeanor to help build a successful MMA National Team,” Frank said. “His genuine interest is to make sure our country is well represented in International MMA competition and to build good fighters into great fighters.”

Under Griffin are three additional members of the selection committee tasked with regional recruitment. Two of these regional coordinators have already been selected: David Denkin, lead supervisor inspector overseeing CAMO State Championship program, and Eric Garcia, president of Fury Fighting Championship Inc. and Submission Hunter Pro.

“This is just the start,” said Frank, “and we would like to issue an open invitation to any passionate and committed supporter of MMA who wants to help us build the amateur sport across the USA. Please get in touch.”

The selected adult athletes will have the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2022 IMMAF World Championships. The prestigious amateur tournament has produced many top professional MMA prospects including Amanda Ribas, Muhammad Mokaev, and Brendan Allen.

To round out the youth team, the USFL will hold a national youth MMA championship tournament on May 14 at Dan Henderson’s Athletic Training Centre in Temecula, California. Open to athletes aged 8-17, the competition will determine who will represent the United States at the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships. The two finalists in each weight class will have the first refusal on joining the United States amateur national team for the tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Kerrith Brown, IMMAF President, said: “We are delighted to welcome USFL as the new member of IMMAF in the USA. We have worked closely with Jon Frank and USFL in the past and they understand that the role of an IMMAF Member is to develop the sport from the grassroots up and to ensure that amateur athletes have the right “safety first” environment in which to train and compete.  Jon understands that the role of USFL is to develop the amateur sport, and build competitive teams for IMMAF events, and USFL will not get involved in sanctioning pro events, or try and compete with professional promoters and organise pro events. USFL is strictly about the amateur sport. We wish Jon, and Forrest, every success as they build a new entity and will be supporting them every step of the way.”

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is the only legitimate international governing body for amateur MMA, with the vision of seeing MMA into the Olympic Games. IMMAF has member federations in 120 countries worldwide with approximately 50% of these recognized by their National Olympic Committee.”

More IMMAF news from MMA Sucka:

Cris Cyborg Helps Launch Women’s MMA in Zambia

MMA Moves Closer to Olympics with IMMAF WADA Status

Russia and Belarus Suspended by IMMAF

Let’s Talk MMA Safety: Interview with the IMMAF

Zimbabwe is the Latest African Nation to Join the IMMAF

Featured image courtesy of the IMMAF

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Timothy Wheaton is a combat sports writer who covers MMA, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He has been an avid follower of these sports since 2005. Tim is a host alongside Frazer Krohn on the MMA Sucka Podcast.

With MMA Sucka, Tim has contributed interviews, articles, and podcasts. He has also represented MMA Sucka in person at live Bellator and GLORY Kickboxing events.

Tim also works with a host of other media sites such as Calf Kick Sports, Sportskeeda MMA, Low Kick MMA, Vecht Sport Info, Fighters First, and Beyond Kickboxing. Tim is is the authority on kickboxing and MMA journalist who has covered K-1, PRIDE FC, UFC, GLORY Kickboxing, Bellator, ONE Championship, and plenty more.

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