The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has launched a commission called Peace through MMA as part of its commitment to harnessing sport to mitigate violence and engender peace with a focus on developing programs to socially benefit young people. The committee is chaired by Danny Corr of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association.
“I am honoured to be chairing this exciting commission,” Corr stated. “Our sport and the passion with which IMMAF has developed worldwide has seen untold success but we have so much more to offer communities and countries worldwide. A tailored structured approach to developing projects can bring massive benefits to our young people and, especially in times like these, can help the long term sustainability of organisations and clubs.”
Corr is acclaimed for his Fight to Unite youth project in Northern Ireland, a region that has seen in the past many social and economic problems as a result of conflict. The government recognized project has proven the success of a focused and sustainable program that combines the many benefits of MMA with education, personal development and youth work and tackles issues affecting young people and helps to build resilience and a positive future for young people and their communities.
Joining Corr on the commission is Denis Rowan, who is best known as an expert in International Conflict Resolution with extensive work in the Northern Ireland Peace and Political Process. The latter has a vast experience in organizing youth projects for social and educational furtherance and for the advancement of peace.
Currently, Corr and Rowan are working with the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association in the republic to organize a cross-border youth peace project aligned with a nationally recognized educational program. The Peace through MMA Commission is building on this work to develop a blueprint, consultancy and training support for the implementation of similar, tailored programs for the IMMAF’s other national federations around the world.
Demonstrating just how important youth development and the cause for peace are to the IMMAF, the commission also includes the federation’s president Kerrith Brown and CEO Densign White. The latter has a long track record of working with social projects in sport, particularly through his role as chairman of British charity Sporting Equals.
“MMA is a universal language recognised by youth worldwide, with the power to break boundaries and to unite,” Brown stated. “As I have experienced in my own journey, martial arts require personal transformation, the development of self-knowledge, self-discipline, honour and respect.”
“The process of training to fight within a sport is an effective pathway to learning the skills of negotiation and to attaining peace,” Brown continued. “It is our responsibility as leaders in the sport to channel the great power of martial arts towards social good.”
Administrators to the commission are IMMAF brand and communications director Izzy Carnwath and member development consultant Jorden Curran. The role of the latter at the federation includes supporting national federations with their projects related to community intervention, social health and well-being.