IMMAF Governance gets boost with new Youth Development Commission


IMMAF is delighted to introduce the new Youth Development Commission, which will be working closely with other Commissions and Committees to manage the huge demand for amateur MMA youth programmes all over the world.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “Our experience with our first Youth World Championships last year proved the point that MMA has massive appeal for young combat sport athletes. As the legitimate world governing body for amateur MMA, we have a responsibility and mission to make the sport accessible and safe for youngsters, with rules and procedures that are fit for purpose.”

To acknowledge its strategic importance, the Youth Development Commission will have both a chairman, Stanislav Nedkov (BUL) and a vice-chair Danny Corr (Northern Ireland). Stanislav is a former UFC professional fighter and now a sport administrator while Danny Corr is responsible for creating award-winning youth sport and culture initiatives.

The Youth Development Commission will help create programmes to guide young athletes on pathways for lifelong participation, competition preparation and personal development in MMA.

Because young Athlete development frameworks must be holistic and embrace the complex nature of athlete development, this Committee will cover Coaching, Regulatory affairs, Medical, Anti-doping and Ethics.

Members 2019-2021

Chairperson: Stanislav Nedkov (BUL)


Sharif Bapu (IND)
Danny Corr (GBR)
Zanna Kim (KAZ)
Bertrand Amoussou (FRA)
Vito Paolinio (ITA)
Raul Salas Navarro (MEX)

Staff Liaison: Andrew Moshanov (RUS)


Another key IMMAF Commission is the Coaching Commission, and IMMAF is pleased to announce a new membership team led by Richie Cranny of Australia. Richie is a former professional MMA athlete, coach and founder of the highly successful “Wimp 2 Warrior” training scheme to train inexperienced individuals in MMA techniques.

The Coaching Commission provides strategic direction and leadership to ensure that IMMAF coaches have the most up-to-date level of competency and can deliver effective teaching of the skills of mixed martial arts to their membership. The Commission will provide a coach’s perspective and voice to the decision-making processes within IMMAF and advocates for the rights and interests of coaches within the sport of Amateur Mixed Martial Arts globally.

Both Commissions share an IMMAF Staff Liaison in the highly experienced Andrew Moshanov, IMMAF’s Director of Sport Development.

Coaching Commission 2019-2021

Chairperson: Richie Cranny (AUS)


Gennady Kapshai (RUS)
Luis Barneto (POR)
Lutz Heyden (GER)
Bertrand Amoussou (FRA)
Paolo Oliveira (NZL)
Anton Blank (UKR)

Staff Liaison: Andrew Moshanov (GBR)

IMMAF to Offer Free Online Coach Education Courses

Dear IMMAF Coaches, 

Sport has the power to connect and to build communities. While we are temporarily restricted from communication in person, we remain committed to our mission to promote sport and a healthy lifestyle. We therefore wish to inspire learning, creativity and ideas, even while our coaches and students are hunkering down at home.

This in an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves and rediscover the values of education.

Whether you are new or experienced, seeking revalidation or looking for more tips for your coaching, please contact to enrol on IMMAF online courses. 

IMMAF Update on Coronavirus & Championships – 24.3.20

Last week, we were sad to inform you of the postponement of IMMAF’s 2020 Africa Open Championships and 2020 Pan American Championships, until further notice.

We promised to keep you informed about the status of the 2020 Asian Open Championships, planned for June in Kazakhstan, and also our 2020 Youth World Championships (6 – 9 August) and 2020 European Senior & Junior Championships (11 – 16 August) in Rome: 

Due to the fast moving circumstances of the Covid-19 global crisis, the IMMAF CEO and Board will be reviewing the options for these events with IMMAF’s event partners over the next 7 days.

IMMAF will issue updated information on 2 April after the upcoming Board Meeting.

In the meantime, we thank you for your patience and ask that members adhere to the safety advice of their government and government organisations.

Is Aussie Prodigy Colby Thicknesse Ready To Take On The World?

Colby Thicknesse burst onto the international scene at the 2020 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships and at the age of 20 was the youngest of Australia’s four gold medal winners.

The young contender worked his way to the IMMAF platform with consistent action at the national level in 2019. Three bouts within the year extend his record to five victories with just a single blemish by way of a judge’s decision, his resume boasted three rear-naked-choke submissions and a knockout win upon his amateur debut.

Thicknesse would secure the men’s featherweight gold medal with a further three triumphs, competing from 6 – 8 March at the IMMAF Oceania Open in Gold Coast, Australia. Battling on home soil, he announced himself among international counterparts beginning with 2018 Junior World bronze medalist, Ali Yaqoob. Thicknesse secured his debut win on the international platform via third round TKO and was the first opponent to stop Yaqoob who had previously lasted the distance with top contenders such as Reo Yamaguchi and Olzhas Moldagaliyev.

In the Oceania Open semi-finals Thicknesse was faced with the burden of taking on team mate Abzzy Mahdawi, who he bested via unanimous decision. Thicknesse won the men’s featherweight final with a unanimous decision win over Team England’s Dylan Thompson, age 24. Victory over the English veteran will likely serve the Australian team with valuable insight, comparing home grown up and comers with products of the UK’s busy amateur scene.

Upon turning 21 in June, Thicknesse will be headed towards the senior ranks of the 2020 IMMAF World Championships, currently slated to take place in October and hosted by Kazakhstan. At the IMMAF Worlds, he would be set to face the stiffest competition available to any elite level amateur. Top contenders of the 145lb division include a diverse lineup featuring world champion Ahmed Gazimagomedov, with Russia’s tremendous wrestling pedigree, and World silver medalist Elaman Shalkimbeko, a strong and exciting Kazakh striker. 2019’s World bronze medalists were Swedish wrestling specialist Daniyal Shamkhalov who added an impressive new dynamic to Sweden’s national team, plus Ireland’s Alexander O’Sullivan who looks set to flourish with almost 30 MMA bouts under his belt including vast experience and consistent prominence at the IMMAF level.

Australia continues to hold position as a top 10 nation in the IMMAF world team rankings. While moving forward with a keen awareness of global rivals, drawing upon nationwide prospects with development and retention of young talent such as Thicknesse could well serve Australia’s advancement in coming years.

By lead writer: Jorden Curran

Information: Anti-Doping and COVID-19


19 March 2019

The World Anti-doping Agency has advised that four accredited laboratories are temporarily suspending their activities and it is likely that more will follow.

Currently Rome (Italy) Montreal (Canada), Madrid and Barcelona (Spain) have temporarily suspended operations and it is likely that more laboratories will follow this action. 

Breaking – London laboratory will close on Friday.

The outcome is that some samples may be redirected to another accredited laboratory, while some will be stored frozen for analysis at a later date.

The impact is that athletes may not receive their results in a timely fashion. However they should not be complacent in assuming that ‘no news is good news’.  This delay in analysis could mean results are not available for months. It is important that athletes are aware of this situation and monitor closely reporting of results.

Be aware which testing authority is responsible for sample collection and who will report the results.  Monitor and track their receipt.

Although testing agencies have downscaled their sample collection activities, some national programmes are continuing. 

There is no doubt that this could put athletes at risk, not only from the virus itself but also from assumptions that any unwillingness to participate in an anti-doping test is suspicious or even constitutes a refusal.