IMMAF Junior Championships: key details for athletes and federations

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

At the start of the new year it was set for IMMAF to take the bold step into establishing a regulated progression and competition platform for age groups from Under-14s to Under-21s.

While the IMMAF Coaches Committee continues working to develop tailored rules for Pre-Junior and Cadet divisions, the first steps were taken this year with the announcement of the 2018 European Open Championships and World Championships for Under-21s. Below are some of the key details and benefits for athletes and IMMAF member nations to consider.


Under-21s competition (for ages 18-20) will be the first wave of new opportunity for young, developing athletes. These competitions will take place under the usual IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules – identical to that of Senior IMMAF Championships.

Who can compete?

All amateur athletes age 18-20 are eligible to compete, regardless of having competed in Senior IMMAF championships. Athletes may choose to alternate between Senior and Youth/Junior competition for separate championships. For championships that take place during the same week as a senior event, athletes may only participate in one tournament.

If a younger athlete chooses to enter as a Senior at the 2018 European Championships in June, he/she can still enter the Junior World Championships in September.

European Championships vs. Junior European Open  – Who can compete

This year, the European Championships for Senior competitors will be for European nations ONLY. However, the Junior European event for Under-21s will be open to ALL world nations.

Example: Australia will be unable to enter the Senior European Championships, but Australian U21 athletes will be able to compete at the Junior European Open Championships.

The 2018 IMMAF European Championships and Junior European Open take place from 17-23 June in Bucharest, Romania.


IMMAF is set to develop brand new and separate rankings for Junior competitors and all future age divisions. Results from the 2018 European and World Junior Championships will not effect the current rankings.

Progression and Benefits of Junior Championships

Junior IMMAF championships provide a magnificent opportunity to developing young athletes; those who seek further experience at a young age or who are simply in the earlier stages of their competitive journey in amateur MMA. Less experienced or less physically developed young athletes are now provided their own arena within a pool of fair and safe, yet highly competitive talent.

National teams are permitted to enter a maximum of 2 athletes per weight division. The presence of additional Junior competitions enables national federations to now develop at an even greater rate.

For example, when a federation registers 2 Senior athletes to the Lightweight division of the 2018 Asian Open, they can extend their presence by entering two up-and-coming Lightweights to the Junior World Championships, for a total of 4 Lightweight competitors in action. The 2018 IMMAF Asian Open and Junior World Championships take place side-by-side from 3-8 September in Shanghai, China.

For more frequently asked questions and answers, you can download the F&Q PDF HERE.

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Olympic and IMMAF supplier Greenhill Sports sign as partners for Brave 10

Photo by Jorden Curran

Greenhill sports, based in the United Kingdom, have officially signed with Brave Combat Federation as the official merchandise partners for Brave 10: The Kingdom Rises, to be held in Amman, Jordan. The combat sports equipment manufacturer will be supporting the tenth edition of the professional Bahraini mixed martial arts organisation with fight gear and support for the event. Greenhill is one among the oldest combat sports brands established in 1964 and is a premier supplier of elite sporting equipment.

Greenhill was the official supplier to the Olympic Games in London, Beijing and Athens alongside being the master suppliers to the International Judo Federation and have received product approval by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the World Karate Federation and the World Taekwondo Federation. The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has also partnered with Greenhill as the official equipment partners for the annual World Championships of Amateur MMA and other continental events. Brave Combat Federation will be working with the UK based sports equipment manufacturers for the first time.

“Ensuring highest levels of standards and quality alongside ensuring safety of our athletes is among the key objectives and vision embraced by the Brave Combat Federation. Working alongside a manufacturer whose name is synonymous with safety standards and is recognised by some of the biggest bodies in sports is a new milestone for Brave Combat Federation. Such meaningful partnerships are the reason why Brave Combat Federation is the fastest growing mixed martial arts promotion in the world and have achieved steady and sustainable growth in such a short time of our operations,” said Mohammed Shahid, President of Brave Combat Federation.

Brave 10: The Kingdom Rises takes place on March 2 with the card set to feature former IMMAF World Champions Abdul Hussein (Finland) and Frans Mlambo (Ireland).

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The International MMA Federation and Romanian Kempo MMA Federation have announced two nation vs nation, amateur MMA tournaments for Bucharest at the Grand Rin Hotel, from 17 to 23 June 2018. Each competition will have its own draw and the two tournaments will run concurrently:


The IMMAF Youth European Open Championships is the IMMAF’s first ever junior competition for 18,19 & 20 year olds only. The tournament is an ‘Open’ event, welcoming international competitors from outside of Europe.

All IMMAF junior competitions will take place under the usual IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules.
Their purpose is to provide better opportunity for younger rising stars to shine against competitors of a similarly limited range of experience. In line with IMMAF’s ethos, they create a safer competition environment for younger adults who have not yet reached their physical peak. Additionally, the Junior competitions create increased opportunities for national teams to win medals.


The IMMAF Senior European Championships is open to all European competitors of age 18 and above, who have been selected by their National Federation. To clarify, to participate in the senior event, competitors must be citizens of a European nation, making the tournament IMMAF’s first closed continental event.

National Federations are permitted to submit up to two competitors per weight category into each tournament, totalling a maximum of four per weight category across the two events, subject to the protocol outlined in the Tournament Handbook. Weight categories span Strawweight to Lightweight for women, and Flyweight to Super Heavyweight for men. The largest national teams could theoretically present up to fifty-six athletes across two competitions.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“IMMAF is focused on developing its talent pathway and the addition of the junior event increases safe competitive opportunities for younger competitors. In most Olympic sports it is rare for athletes to medal in their early adulthood due to their stage of physical development and experience, and with MMA being a combat sport safe ‘match-making’ is paramount. I am excited about the new opportunity for younger talent to medal against competitors of more comparable experience. The 2018 senior event also breaks new ground as it will be IMMAF’s first purely continental tournament.”

For information about the Romanian Kempo MMA Federation go to:
Follow @RMMAFed on Twitter



The International MMA Federation is set to return to South Africa for the third iteration of its Africa Open amateur MMA Championships.

Hosted by MMA South Africa (MMASA) and sponsored by Scuffle Media, the 2018 IMMAF Africa Open Championships will take place at the Brakpan Sports Centre in Johannesburg from 24 to 26 May as the nation vs. nation tournament plays out over three days.

IMMAF’s footprint in Africa extends to Seychelles, Mauritius, Egypt, Ghana, Cameroon and of course, South Africa. Previous events have attracted national teams from as far as Sweden, India and Bahrain. Free entry for athletes is expected to boost participation for the third Africa Open, as is the opportunity to gain points in the IMMAF World Amateur MMA Rankings as the IMMAF platform has become increasingly competitive. Plans to stream the Championships will be a further attraction to competitors, with details to be announced shortly.

Athlete registration for the 2018 IMMAF Africa Open Championships opens today (21 February 2018) and to take part amateur competitors should contact their national federation.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“The Africa Open enables athletes from Africa to experience international competition through bringing it to their doorstep. The IMMAF competition platform forms an important part of an MMA athlete’s development pathway and inability to travel far afield should not be a bar to access. With plans to stream the event, MMASA is this time also providing an international showcase for upcoming Africa talent. For international participants, not only does the Africa Open create another opportunity to compete and to medal, but also the chance to experience South Africa hospitality and some of the incredible tourist attractions that the country has to offer. The Africa Open offers those from other continents a once in a lifetime experience.”


Golden Mouthguard winner David Rivera back in action for Panama at IMMAF Oceania Open

Pictured: SAFEJAWZ co-founder George Dyer presents David Rivera with the Golden Mouthguard Award.

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

Panama’s David Rivera is set to enter his second international championship tournament under the IMMAF banner, the 23-year-old now being confirmed for the Men’s Bantamweight division of the 2018 IMMAF Oceania Open Championships next month in Melbourne, Australia.

Representing Panama’s National Association of Mixed Martial Arts (ANMMA), Rivera made his debut on the IMMAF platform last year at the 2017 World Championships in Bahrain. While the nation’s sole representative eventually succumbed to defeat at the hands of Frenchman Florian Moreau, Rivera went on to receive an all new and prestigious honor, awarded for stand-out commitment to the sport and embodiment of the good sporting values of amateur MMA.

During the World Championships Finals, he was announced as the first ever recipient of the  SAFEJAWZ Golden Mouthguard Award, in association with IMMAF’s exclusive mouthguard provider. Rivera was selected from a final group of 10 athletes, each originally nominated by their national federation.

David Rivera is a life-long martial artist which kept him on the straight and narrow whilst growing up in the high crime area of San Miguelito in Panama. For several years David has been offering not-for-profit MMA classes in his local area whilst achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Law. David perfectly represents the views of the Panamanian Association of MMA in that the sport must provide more than a sports function. It must also offer a social function that has a positive impact on society. The values that David holds dear of hard work, culture, education and social hope are the exact values that must surround MMA as a future Olympic Sport.

In Australia, Rivera will be back in action for his second shot at what would be a historic triumph for the nation of Panama. IMMAF’s inaugural Oceania Open Championships takes place from 16-18 March at the Arnold Sports Festival in Melbourne.

For more tournament details on the IMMAF Oceania Open visit

IMMAF_XXXXX Oceania Web Banner (1500px x 590px)


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