The unified global governing body for MMA (mixed martial arts), IMMAF – WMMAA is proud to announce the publication of its Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules for Youth Competition. The Under 18s rule sets were approved today by the Board ahead of the inaugural 2019 Youth MMA World Championships, scheduled for August 3 to 4 in Rome.
The established IMMAF – WMMAA Amateur MMA Rules have been modified with respect to the physiological development of the following three age categories, as advised by IMMAF – WMMAA’s expert medical, coaching and regulatory committees. The most notable restriction for all youth divisions is that strikes to the head are not permitted.
• IMMAF Youth A 16-17s (U18)
• IMMAF Youth B 14-15s (U16)
• IMMAF Youth C 12-13s (U14)
IMMAF – WMMAA CEO Densign White said:
“This is a hugely important developmental step for IMMAF – WMMAA. With the sport originating on a professional platform, IMMAF was initially reticent to promote youth development. But due to demand from the MMA community and its members, and the fact that members have been running youth events without guidance from an international authority, it has become a growing responsibility for us to provide governance for under 18s participation in the sport.
“Following lengthy research, discussions and review at committee, member and board level, it’s good to have finally achieved a consensus. The decision not to permit head-shots for minors received unanimous approval from the board today due to overwhelming evidence of physiological and psychological risk provided by our medical committee.
“There were of course concerns raised over whether this restriction would enable youth to receive sufficient preparation for transition to senior level. However, it was countered that performance at senior level is not necessarily determined by sport specific training from a young age, as many skills are transferable across sport and no evidence was presented of any disadvantage.
“Importantly, youth development will boost the growth of our sport and federations, and I passionately believe this is where our main focus should be, on building MMA’s base and the grass roots.”
Competitor registration will open for the 2019 Cadet MMA World Championships in April.