Many mixed martial artists around the world dream of eventually fighting for the UFC, the top professional organization in the sport. Like the NFL or NBA, it’s the ultimate “you made it” moment for fighters stepping into the Octagon and in front of the brightest of lights.
As all athletes know, the road to the big stage is often the hardest traveled. And that’s where the IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) enters the picture.
The UFC’s partnership with the IMMAF is set to help grow and expand MMA’s reach across the globe.
“The mission of the IMMAF is to become an Olympic sport but to achieve that, international federations must be able to demonstrate to organizations such as the IOC and Sport Accord that we have good governance and universal appeal,” IMMAF CEO Densign White said.
Some of the IMMAF’s many goals are to protect and further regulation, ensure global safety standards and to organize international amateur MMA competitions. In the last 18 months its membership has almost doubled and the global organization now has about 60 member federations across five continents.
The IMMAF has placed its focus on safety regulations as well as creating amateur tournaments. To further that, it has developed referee and cut man training courses around the world.
“We are trying to deliver many projects to grow the sport,” White said. “Our concentration now is on delivering members services such as a progression scheme for our federations worldwide, to roll out to their member gyms and individuals.”
FULL UFC INTERNATIONAL FIGHT WEEK SCHEDULE
One of their biggest upcoming projects will be here in Las Vegas during UFC International Fight Week. The IMMAF will host a series of championships with fighters from all around the world. It’s an opportunity for the best of the best to compete and grow as fighters before deciding to turn pro.
Jose Torres is a prime example of what the IMMAF can offer. A two-time world champ, Torres won 25 consecutive fights as an amateur before turning pro. He now fights for Victory FC and is 2-0.
“Jose Torres is one of the great success stories of the IMMAF,” White said. “The IMMAF events gives the athletes the opportunity to learn their craft without tarnishing their records. They will also have the chance to have many more matches and build their experience at an international level.”
The IMMAF has invited Torres to participate as a special guest during Fight Week, with the hope that his success story and transition into professional MMA will provide motivation for its amateur fighters.
After International Fight Week, the IMMAF is traveling internationally for tournaments in Africa and Europe, and is hoping to play host to a tournament Asia next year.