The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced its support for the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), an organization "founded with the purpose to further the development and recognition of the sport of mixed martial arts, enabling international competition through the organization of national MMA federations around the world."
The IMMAF was founded by former fighter and previous president of the Swedish MMA Federation, August Wallen.
"In order to maintain the successful growth of our sport, it is important to invest in resources that will develop and cultivate it at an amateur level. Having an umbrella organization that will oversee and help build the sport on a global level will not only provide advanced and ever-improving safety standards but will also create a unified global model to help introduce the sport to new markets. It is our hope that it will also take us one step closer to witnessing the inclusion of the sport of MMA on the Olympic program," said UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta in a press release.
At a press conference today Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC's VP of international something or other said, "In the U.S., you have governments that regulate sport. In other parts of the world, the government also gets involved, but in many more parts of the world, you actually have these independent federations that are non-profit bodies that actually sort of manage the sport.
"In places like Europe or throughout Asia, where you don't have government oversight, these federations are very important. And so, when you see a group that develops a federation like they've done here, an international federation that we see is a well-intentioned, meaning group that is going out with a vision to organize, if you will, and benefit the entire sport the way a government might do it around the world, for us, we're hoping to just put a little wind in the sails of the international federation so they can go out and create this vision that they have as it relates to not only the amateur space, but also the development of oversight of a professional MMA."