All India Mixed Martial Arts Association (AIMMA) has released an official statement regarding their future plans and the IMMAF – WMMA merger.
AIMMA was earlier the only International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) recognised body in India. However, IMMAF merged with WMMA (World Mixed Martial Arts Association) recently to form a new international body.
This new international body then issued a letter in which it revealed that MMA India – National Sports Federation, headed by Sensei Suresh Gopi, is the now the only MMA governing body in India which is recognized by them.
The letter had raised a lot of questions about the future of AIMMA and we reached out to them to clear the air. The statement given out by AIMMA covered a string of topics. Below are some of the highlights.
Their take on the MMA World bodies:
The fact remains that AIMMAA has been a registered organization since 2004 and functioning as an MMA body longer than most MMA ‘world bodies’. We have noted that the efforts of most of these ‘world bodies’ cannot actually ‘regulate’ or ‘control’ the sport of MMA because MMA is NOT a recognized sport under the IOC and even if the long process of IOC and Sport Accord applications are fruitful the fact remains that these world bodies will only work within the space of amateur MMA[ meaning that the athletes within these world bodies compete without seeking any financial remunerations]. Currently these world bodies work within the space of amateur MMA.
On the lack of control that world bodies have:
AIMMAA has been hosting district, state and national level MMA championships in India both for amateur and professional athletes, and although we have operated significantly within the amateur space : this amateur platform created better and fruitful opportunities to be seeded to pro MMA events in India like the Super Fight League. These world bodies do not control or regulate the Pro MMA space which is dominated by MMA giants like the UFC and Bellator MMA. And although the UFC has provided support to some of these ‘world bodies’, these world bodies have never been successful to actually regulate or control the UFC events across the world. The same goes for Bellator MMA, Invicta FC or Super Fight League. In the state of Missouri USA ‘Shamrock Fighting Championships’ has been hosting amateur, pro‐am and pro MMA fight nights without any interference from the IMMAF’s USA representatives.
Regarding the future of AIMMA:
AIMMAA has been organizing Professional MMA events under direct permission from the Govt of India Sports Ministry since 2012 and we continue to be the only MMA organization which receives such permission to host these PRO MMA events. AIMMAA has never needed the support or permission of any world body to function or organize professional mma events in India. Infact AIMMAA has gone a step further over the last few years by hosting an India vs Pakistan SFL event in the UAE and the Bahrain National tryouts without the support of any world body. AIMMAA continues to be the leader of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts in India.
In the final parts of the statement, there was also the tease of a new International body formation. You can read the entire statement from AIMMA here.
MMA India’s Take: While the statement from AIMMA gives a clear picture of their plans going forward, it’s surprising to see the association turn against IMMAF. Prior to the IMMAF-WMMA merger, the IMMAF recognition used to be one of the biggest selling points for AIMMA events. The claim that the recognition meant nothing all along is a questionable statement.
At the same time, there will be pressure on MMA India – National Sports Federation to prove their doubters wrong and deliver the goods.
Nevertheless, Indian MMA is bound to turn upside down with this major development and it would be interesting to see how it will impact the sport and the fighters.
What do you think about the whole development? Let us know in the comments below.