Pictured: WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein at IMMAF World Championships Awards Ceremony with IMMAF Board Director Col. Al Khayyat

At the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s 2017 General Assembly in Manama on 17 November, IMMAF’s membership approved the commencement of negotiations with the World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) for a proposed merger.

WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein with IMMAF President Kerrith Brown

WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein with IMMAF President Kerrith Brown

Both organisations have applied to the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) for recognition as the global governing body for the sport of MMA. Since GAISF will only recognize one governing body to represent any sport, the dual application is creating an obstacle to the recognition of MMA.

The resolution proposed to the IMMAF general assembly permits IMMAF’s Board of Directors to negotiate merger terms with WMMAA and for a letter of intent for a future merger to be written. The majority of IMMAF’s membership voted in favour, with just 7 abstentions and no delegates against.

WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein and Executive Director Tatiana Klimenko were in attendance at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships Finals in Manama yesterday where Mr. Finkelchtein presented a medal in the closing awards ceremony.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:
“The approved resolution opens the door to a great opportunity for collaboration. It will be a pleasure to work alongside Mr Finkelstein and his team during the negotiation process, as we work to agree on terms that would bring the best mutual outcome for  both our organisations and our memberships.”

WMMAA President Vadim Finkelchtein said:
“We have officially launched the unification talks. We are two similar organisations with equal goals. GAISF (previously SportAccord) let us know that MMA will be accepted only when represented by one global body. We invited Kerrith Brown of IMMAF to visit our World MMA Championships in Astana where we had preliminary talks. Now I was invited to visit IMMAF’s World MMA Championships in Bahrain. We’ll continue negotiating with our goals set on GAISF and, consequently, IOC.”


About IMMAF:
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is the international democratic body for the sport of MMA, representing MMA’s stakeholders across 65 nations worldwide. Founded from within the MMA community for the MMA community, the purpose of the IMMAF is to protect and further the development, recognition and regulation of the sport of MMA on all levels, enabling international competition through its family of non-profit, democratic national federations.

About WMMAA:
The goal of the World MMA Association is to provide unbiased structure and guardrail the growth of MMA as the official world governing body for Mixed Martial Arts. A non-profit organization founded in 2012, WMMAA is on a mission to develop a standardized and regulated organization, including competition, training, officiating, testing and growth when necessary. More than 50 countries have been granted WMMAA membership.


2017 IMMAF World Championships: Final medal table

The 2017 IMMAF World Championships in Manama, Bahrain, served as the biggest event in the history of amateur MMA with more participants than ever before (over 250) representing 48 competing nations from all continents.

56 total medals (14 gold, 14 silver, 28 bronze)

– 25/48 competing nations made it to the final podium.
– 8 nations achieved at least one gold medal.
– Sweden maintains top position and increased on 2016 gold total.
– Bahrain completed a historic leap to 2nd place after achieving 1 bronze in 2016.
– Kazakhstan achieved highest total of medals.
– France and Italy secure a gold medal for first time since 2015 Worlds.
– Brazil’s two year absence from the World Championships ended with a gold medal success.

Sweden – 1st
4 Gold:

Anna Astvik – Women’s Strawweight
Serdar Altas – Men’s Flyweight
Khaled Laallam – Middleweight
Irman Smajic – Heavyweight
1 Bronze:
Anton Turkalj – Light-Heavyweight

Bahrain – 2nd
2 Gold:

Gamzat Magomedov  – Men’s Bantamweight
Murtaza Talha Ali  – Light-Heavyweight
3 Bronze:
Fatena Bureshaid  – Women’s Lightweight
Hussain Abdulla  – Men’s Flyweight
Abdulmanap Magomedov – Men’s Featherweight

USA – 3rd
2 Gold:

Quitin Thomas – Men’s Lightweight
Benjamin Bennet  – Men’s Welterweight
2 Bronze:
Sean Stebbins – Men’s Flyweight
David Evans – Men’s Featherweight

Bulgaria – 4th
2 Gold:

Delyan Georgiev – Men’s Featherweight
Atanas Krastanov  – Super-Heavyweight

France – 5th
1 Gold:

Manon Fiorot – Women’s Bantamweight
1 Silver:
Sola Axel – Welterweight

New Zealand
1 Gold:

Gase Sanita – Women’s Lightweight
1 Silver:
Hannah Dawson – Women’s Strawweight

Brazil – 6th
1 Gold:

Michele Oliveira – Women’s Flyweight

1 Gold:

Fabiana Giampa – Women’s Featherweight

Kazakhstan – 7th
3 Silver:

Yernaz Mussabek – Men’s Flyweight
Olzhas Moldagaliyev – Men’s Bantamweight
Lev Vins – Heavyweight
2 Bronze:
Ayan Tursyn  – Women’s Strawweight
Dinislam Jetpissov – Men’s Bantamweight

Finland – 8th
2 Silver:

Chamia Chabbi – Women’s Bantamweight
Joel Arolainen  – Men’s Featherweight
2 Bronze:
Anette Osterberg – Women’s Flyweight
Karoline Hulkko – Women’s Bantamweight

Belarus – 9th
2 Silver:

Vitali Andruhovich  – Men’s Lightweight
Pavel Pahomenko – Light-Heavyweight

UK – 10th
1 Silver:

Kaycee Blake – Women’s Lightweight
2 Bronze:
Joanne Doyle – Women’s Bantamweight
Christian Leroy Duncan – Middleweight

Ireland – 11th
1 Silver:

Danni Neilan – Women’s Flyweight
1 Bronze:
Ryan Spillane – Heavyweight

1 Silver:

Marcin Kalata – Super-Heavyweight
1 Bronze:
Pawel Zaikrzewski – Light-Heavyweight

Iceland – 12th
1 Silver:
Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson – Middlweight

Northern Ireland
1 Silver:

Courtney McCrudden – Women’s Featherweight

Australia – 13th
3 Bronze:

Cody Barnwell – Welterweight
Joseph Luciano – Middleweight
Cameron Dempsey – Heavyweight

Albania – 14th
2 Bronze:

Florian Doskja – Men’s Bantamweight
Ermal Hadribeaj – Men’s Lightweight

2 Bronze:

Nicole Schnalzer – Women’s Featherweight
Damian Visenja  – Super-Heavyweight

2 Bronze:

Alexandra Kovacs – Women’s Flyweight
Nora Nagy – Women’s Featherweight

Belgium – 15th
1 Bronze:

Isakov Issa  – Welterweight

1 Bronze:

Julia Dorny – Women’s Lightweight

1 Bronze:

Jose Teixeira – Men’s Lightweight

1 Bronze:

Sara Cova – Women’s Strawweight

1 Bronze:

Tolga Polat – Super-Heavyweight

Review 2016 medal table HERE.

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Fatema Bureshaid Bureshaid and Hend Rezk became Bahrain’s first female MMA competitors at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships that concluded on Saturday 18 November in Manama.

Bahraini supporters turned out in droves, and the near-deafening applause for the debutants created an electric atmosphere in the Khalifa Sports City arena, which played host to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s five-day, nation vs nation, amateur MMA tournament.

Bureshaid also became the first Bahraini female to be awarded an IMMAF medal and the first to wear a hijab in IMMAF competition.

Fatema Bureshaid had travelled directly from the World Police Games in Abu Dhabi, where she had earned 4th place in Brazilian jiu jitsu, to lose to the UK’s Kaycee Blake in the IMMAF semi-finals. She was awarded a bronze medal for Bahrain in the Women’s Lightweight division.

Hend Rezk represented Bahrain in the Women’s Strawweight category to be defeated by Ayan Tursyn of Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals.

Bureshaid told

“I feel very happy and I’m proud of all the people that came to support me because they wanted Bahraini women to join this competition…. I came here to compete because I want to represent women in MMA and I want people to be proud of Bahraini women, that we can enter the competition and compete without feeling any fear.”

Meanwhile, Indian athletes Naipunya Sunil (Strawweight), Saloni Avhad and Nishigandha Rao (Flyweight) also became their nation’s first women to compete in international, amateur MMA.

Nishigandha Rao beat Daria Sloviashchenkova of Russia to progress to the quarter finals, where she faced defeat at the hands of past IMMAF World and European silver medallist, Anette Österberg, who ultimately took the bronze medal.



Pictured: Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad celebrates with Gamzat Magomedov on his winning of a gold medal for Bahrain

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s World Championships is set to return to Bahrain in 2018, as announced at IMMAF’s General Assembly on Friday 17 November.

IMMAF’s annual, nation vs nation, amateur MMA tournament ended yesterday in Manama on a high.

A successful collaboration between IMMAF and the Bahrain Mixed Martial Arts Association, with support from the office of His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad, has laid strong foundations for future years’ events in Bahrain.

The Championships was IMMAF’s biggest to date, with 248 athletes taking part. With the backing of the Bahrain Olympic Committee and the royal endorsement, the event enjoyed a prestigious platform and was broadcast internationally via Bahrain TV.

IMMAF President Kerrith BrownIMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:

“I cannot thank their Highnesses Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa enough for their passionate support of MMA. On behalf of IMMAF I would like to thank the Bahrain MMA Federation, headed by Colonel Khalid Al Khayyat, and the HHSK royal office for their generous hospitality over the 2017 IMMAF World Championships. I would like to thank also all the staff and volunteers who worked so hard to achieve an incredible and aspirational event.

“It really felt like the Olympics, from the airport welcomes and Opening Ceremony to the national participation and coverage, through to the Closing Ceremony and Awards. The level of medical care was unparalleled, and our hosts were generous too in the entertainment they laid on for athletes no longer in competition – from trips to the local camel farm to Wahooo water park.

“We very much look forward to developing our working relationship with Bahrain in preparation for a much anticipated return in the final quarter of 2018.”


IMMAF President draws a line between 4oz MMA gloves and IMMAF 6oz standard

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown is determined to draw a clear line between the aspects of pro and approved amateur MMA gloves in the effort to quell uninformed opinions of the sport’s safety standards.

IMMAF’s first generation of 6-ounce amateur gloves were introduced at the 2015 European Open Championhips in Birmingham, UK.

“One of the things we want to put a lot of time into is the technical design, and that’s something we continuously work on,” the IMMAF President explained. “This is one of our main concerns – we want to draw a clear line between 4-ounce (professional standard) and 6-ounce (IMMAF amateur standard) gloves in terms of reducing the amount of cuts that we see, which in turn results in a more sterile and clean amateur sport.”

The latest and most advanced glove design (pictured above) is now in action at the 2017 IMMAF Worlds Championships.

“A lot of effort has gone into the design of the glove with Green Hill – our main equipment sponsor. We want to make sure the glove is of a specific standard – an approved amateur glove for MMA.”

The combination of glove size and technical detail, in addition to the official Green Hill shinguards, has resulted in limited injuries sustained under the IMMAF standard.

For example, of over 80 bouts (160+ athletes) taking place on Day 2 of the IMMAF Worlds in Bahrain, 128 athletes were attended by medical staff for post-fight checks. 59 were seen to at the on-site medical center and treated for minor injuries – all discharged with a clean bill of health. 9 athletes were sent to the Bahrain Defense Force Hospital for evaluations, mainly for mild head injuries, following strict protocol for athlete safety. All 9 were safely discharged.

“From results of previous IMMAF championships, the gloves have reduced a lot of injuries. We’re working with a 6-ounce glove and that has a serious impact on the outcomes of knockouts and superficial damage, such as cuts. This is one of the main things we want to work towards in establishing an Olympic standard for mixed martial arts.”

Taking place at Khalifa Sports City Arena from 12 to 19 November, as part of Brave International Combat Week, the 2017 IMMAF World Championships is the biggest event in the history of amateur MMA under IMMAF with more participants than ever before (over 250) representing nations from all continents. 2017 marks the first year of the IMMAF Worlds taking place outside of Las Vegas, USA, and will be broadcast live via the Bahrain TV app – click HERE for more information.

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