The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has partnered with Peace and Sport, L’Organisation pour la Paix par le Sport. Based in Monaco, the latter is an international, neutral and independent organization promotes peace using the power of sport.
Announced on April 8, 2020, the partnership between the IMMAF and Peace and Sport aims to help build peaceful communities through the power of sport and create a safer, more equitable and inclusive world. In particular, it has five objectives, which are:
- collaboration through initiatives to promote peace, social cohesion and coexistence among communities
- cooperation to improve living conditions for populations through MMA
- mutual facilitation of dialogues and communication between communities, using MMA and its values
- encouragement of education, training and responsibility amongst vulnerable youth, through the practice of MMA
- cooperation and synergy to promote, advocate and raise awareness of the power of sport for peace-building and diplomacy
“Sport, especially fighting sports demand discipline, respect of rules and of opponents,” Peace and Sport president and founder Joël Bouzou said. “It requires determination and adaptability. For the last 12 years now, we have been committed to fight for peace.”
Bouzou added that they at Peace and Sport are glad to partner with the IMMAF. According to him, combining MMA with educational programs and youth work can help to build self-confident resilient individuals and communities and a culture of peace.
“We at IMMAF are believers in the power of sport to bring people together and to transform lives,” IMMAF president Kerrith Brown said. “Fighting is in our DNA and combat sports are unique in providing a structured pathway to channel these human instincts, providing a point of connection with some of the hardest-to-reach groups, including marginalized, war-torn and gang-ridden communities. MMA is a universal language recognized by youth worldwide and has proven its capacity to break boundaries and create fundamental common ground between different factions and individuals.”
“Mastery of MMA requires personal transformation that includes the development of self-knowledge, self-discipline, honor and respect,” Brown continued. “The process of training to fight within a sporting context is an effective pathway to learning the skills of negotiation and to attaining peace. I welcome this partnership with Peace and Sport through which IMMAF can harness the tools of training in MMA to contribute to the mission of building peaceful communities and a safer, more equitable and inclusive world.”
The other leaders of the IMMAF are Vadim Finkelchtein as an honorary president and Densign White as the CEO. The former is also the president of the St. Petersburg, Russia-based MMA promotion M-1 Global.