The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s 2021 Technical Seminar Week (online) kicked off yesterday with opening talks by President Kerrith Brown OLY and CEO Densign White MBE OLY.
The President welcomed IMMAF’s seven new members in 2021 and the recommencing of IMMAF Championships in July. He also hailed the new Council of Europe recommendation on MMA and urged federations to participate in IMMAF’s Peace through MMA Youth Programme which is being launched internationally this week. The CEO outlined the COVID-19 testing and bubbling measures that are to be introduced into 2021 Championships and broke news with the announcement of an additional Championship in the works for the Czech Republic in September. He updated members on the positive progress of IMMAF’s application to the World Anti-doping Agency and announced that IMMAF is about to launch online seminars on youth gradings.
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: ATHLETE WEIGHT MANAGEMENT IN SPORT PANEL (PUBLIC EVENT)
As part of the programme, IMMAF hosted its first public Thought Leadership panel on “Athlete Weight Management in Sport”. Hosted by Anti-doping Consultant Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity, the session was attended by an audience from across international sport (including badminton, athletics, boxing, wrestling, rowing, weight-lifting and dance) and featured a candid discussion of the dangers, various malpractices and detriment to the performance of extreme weight-cutting.
Panel speaker Paula Radcliffe MBE (British Olympian, long-distance runner; previous holder of the Women’s World Marathon Record), commented: “There’s a correlation between healthy weight and stronger performances. With Junior athletes, there can more of an issue between weight cutting and eating disorders but in athletics today there’s more support from professionals to explain and debunk myths. A healthier weight means a longer career.”
Dr. Mike Loosemore (Commonwealth Games Chief Medical Officer, Team England boxing doctor, former AIBA Medical Commission member, Safe MMA), said: “A healthy weight is a good weight. If you try to lose too much or don’t gain enough, you will underperform. Finding the right weight is the key to having a successful career. A good weight management strategy is key to being successful athlete and the key to longevity over a career.”
Dr Randa Bascharon (IMMAF Medical Commission; ringside physician – Nevada State Athletic Commission, USA Boxing, IMMAF and the US National Muay Thai Association; American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians member) commented: “As human beings when you are depleted, performance is compromised. MMA is such a high-intensity sport, and you can’t be off your game for a second. A dehydrated state can have serious side-effects.”
Clint Wattenberg (Director of Nutrition at the UFC Performance Institute) said: “We need to establish performance nutrition as a foundation that is respected and not abused – to think about it as though it is as important as any other form of training.”
IMMAF President and judo Olympian Kerrith Brown addressed his own historic experiences with weight cutting and how poor education had led to him being charged with a doping violation at the 1988 Seoul Olympics which ended his career. He said: “The relationship between the athlete and the coach is where it must begin. They have to be able to provide the education, support and knowledge that athletes need on this matter. “
FROM AMATEUR TO PRO: WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT IN MMA?
Also yesterday, Head Coach from the UFC Performance Institute in Shanghai, Dean Amasinger, joined IMMAF Director of Development Andrew Moshanov and Member Development Consultant Jorden Curran to present a workshop about the transition from amateur to professional in MMA, giving insight into UFC Performance Institute practices.
Amasinger spoke of what makes a successful MMA competitor: “An MMA fighter is made up of three elements: The fighter, the martial artist and the athlete. They are a blend of a unique mentality, a technical understanding and finally, their physical traits. The best in MMA will rank highly in all three aspects.”
He spoke of the importance of assessment, establishing fundamentals and individualising training programmes for elite athletes. He detailed the UFC PI assessment model and the pathway through a UFC PI fight camp training programme, covering both the general and specific, tailored to the individual athlete.
IMMAF Technical Seminar Week for IMMAF members continues on Tuesday 20th April with the seminar, “IMMAF Youth MMA Programme – A Roadmap To Funding And Support”, and one presented by the IMMAF CEO on “National Federation Role And Responsibilities.”