The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has joined the public petition that urges the International Olympic Committee and governments around the world to formally recognize MMA as a sport. The MMA is a Sport campaign calls upon all stakeholders, participants and fans of MMA to join as one in urging the IOC and sports ministers worldwide to address the MMA’s application for sport recognition.
Formally recognizing MMA as a sport would help foster youth development in the sport. It would give the same rights and protections to MMA athletes as students of other sports, which include access to medical services, accident and injuries insurance, safeguarding of U18s and vulnerable adults and anti-doping services.
This would also pave the way for MMA to become an Olympic sport allowing MMA athletes to represent their country on the world’s most prestigious sporting platform. Since 2016, the IMMAF has applied multiple times to gain recognition for the sport from the Global Association of International Sports Federations.
Despite satisfying all known criteria, the application has been denied acceptance so far for political reasons. Influential leaders from other Olympic sports have been outspoken against MMA and have actively lobbied against it.
Sign the MMA is a Sport petition here: https://www.change.org/mmaisasport
International recognition of MMA as a sport would enable recognition on a national level in many countries which will have a positive impact many communities. It means good governance and regulations to ensure athletes health and safety, standardization of competition rules and regulations, officiating and coaching standards as well as funding of the sport and its elite amateur athletes at a national level.
Different unified rules exist for amateur and professional competitions. The IMMAF is the International governing body for amateur MMA and more than 100 national federations affiliated to the federation are developing the sport of MMA, with only 40 being recognized by their respective sports ministries or National Olympic Committees.
Since 2014, the IMMAF has been holding annual world championships. In 2019, the federation held world and continental championships for youth, juniors and seniors with over 2130 participants from 60 countries and the first Youth World Championships for 12- to 17-year-olds attracted more than 600 participants.
The idea that MMA is less safe than other contact sports is a misconception. If well-regulated, the sport has more stringent safety policies than most comparable sports and amateur athletes and many professionals are subject to World Anti-Doping Agency compliant anti-doping policies.