07-30-2012, 04:30 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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| | IMMAF representatives take part in International Olympic Committee seminars
IMMAF representatives take part in International Olympic Committee seminars
IMMAF representatives take part in International Olympic Committee seminars | MMAjunkie.com
Mixed martial arts is still years away from serious consideration as an Olympic sport, but the recently formed International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is already beginning to make its presence known with the International Olympic Committee. |
IMMAF officials today took part in the first of several planned seminars aimed at studying martial arts and sports not currently included in the Olympics, and the group hopes to educate IOC officials during the meetings.
"We are very grateful for this opportunity to promote MMA in front of the IOC and other fellow sports federations," IMMAF Director of Communications Erika Mattsson told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com). "This is the first of many opportunities where we hope to start turning attention to what MMA really is and what a successful sport it has become."
Officially formed in Sweden this past February, the IMMAF's stated goal is 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 federation, which has received a vote of support from the UFC, seeks to organize the amateur ranks of MMA around the globe in an effort to eventually bring the sport to the Olympics.
IMMAF officials said they have already received 80 membership applications from more than 50 different countries. Thus far, the federation has approved 12 applications, and they hope to have 25 countries represented before year's end and another 20 countries approved in 2013. As the federation continue to fall in line, the IMMAF hopes to gain official acceptance from SportAccord, an umbrella organization established in 2009 that strives to "unite, support and promote its member international sports federations and organizations," according to its charter.
"MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, especially among a younger demographic," IMMAF president August Wallen stated. "It is easily accessible both live and broadcasted. Within martial arts, all practitioners are fostered in the spirit of respect, sportsmanship and fair play, a value base which MMA shares. We believe that MMA has all the components needed to be successful as an Olympic sport on the amateur level."
The invitation-only seminars kicked off today in London, and a roundtable discussion panel discussed the current martial arts landscape, including MMA.
"We are humbled by this invitation and will do our best to represent MMA and its practitioners and millions of followers around the world," IMMAF board member George Sallfeldt stated. "A seat at the table in these meetings is more than we could have expected at this time, and we will take the opportunity not only to educate about MMA but also to listen and learn. We are on a journey and this is the first important step."
The IOC members are currently in London, of course, for the Games of the XXX Olympiad. The meetings will continue throughout the 2012 Summer Olympics, which opened on July 27 and close on Aug. 12.
The next seminar the IMMAF will attend deals with aspiring Olympic sports. While IMMAF officials caution enthused fight fans that the process could take many years, they admit they're encouraged by this first step.
"The vision of the IMMAF is to get MMA on the Olympic program, but before that we must focus on the very basic fact of getting formal and informal recognition for MMA as a sport," Mattsson said. "We are in London to talk to as many people as possible and in a positive, humble and straight-forward manner educate and inform about MMA."
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