USFL and IMMAF Announce Partnership for American Amateur MMA
The United States Fight League (USFL) and the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) have reached an agreement. The USFL will host amateur MMA tournaments across the country in association with the IMMAF. The first will be a tournament on May 14 at Dan Henderson’s gymnasium in Temecula, Calif. This competition will decide who will represent the United States at the 2022 IMMAF World Youth Championships.
“USFL Affiliates with IMMAF to Develop Junior and Senior Amateur MMA in the United States
Appoints a selection committee headed by Forrest Griffin for US national teams
The United States Fight League (USFL), led by Jon Frankwas affiliated by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) as the Official Amateur MMA Federation for the United States, initially with Observation Status.
The IMMAF recognizes the USFL as a national non-profit MMA organization, which conducts regular amateur competition and works for the development of the sport nationally. The USFL has agreed to abide by the IMMAF Bylaws and other IMMAF Bylaws, the WADA Code, and to accept the jurisdiction of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
As President of the USFL, Frank has long played a key role in promoting and supporting youth MMA competition in the United States. Going forward, the USFL will seek to fill out an adult roster to represent the United States in the IMMAF International Championships. Team USA had a very strong showing at the IMMAF World Youth Championships, topping the medal table in 2019 and 2021, winning 6 gold, 3 silver and 8 bronze.
“The primary goal of the USFL over the past 20 years has been to make youth MMA a safe, well-regulated and accepted sport to help build better kids in the United States. Due to the success of our national youth program, IMMAF thought it would make sense to expand our athlete development progression from youth pankration into adult MMA,” said Jon Frank.
The organization has set up a selection committee to recruit the best adult amateur fighters in the country. UFC Hall of Famer and Vice President of Athlete Development Forrest Griffin will oversee the committee throughout this process. Forrest is also a member of the IMMAF Athletes Commission.
“Forest has the perfect attribute of background, experience and demeanor to help build a successful national MMA team,” Frank said. “His real interest is to make sure our country is well represented in international MMA competition and to develop good fighters into great fighters.”
Under Griffin, three additional members of the selection committee are tasked with regional recruiting. Two of these regional coordinators have already been selected: David Dekinsenior supervising inspector overseeing the CAMO State Championship program, and Eric Garciapresident of Fury Fighting Championship Inc. and Submission Hunter Pro.
“This is just the beginning,” Frank said, “and we’d like to extend an open invitation to any passionate and committed MMA supporter who wants to help us grow the amateur sport across the United States. Please please contact us.”
Selected adult athletes will have the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2022 IMMAF World Championships. The prestigious amateur tournament has produced many top professional MMA prospects, including Amanda Ribas, Muhammad Mokaev, and Brendan Allen.
Rounding out the youth roster, the USFL will host a National Youth MMA Championship Tournament on May 14 at Dan Henderson’s Athletic Training Center in Temecula, Calif. Open to athletes ages 8-17, the competition will determine who will represent the United States at the 2022 IMMAF World Youth Championships. The two finalists in each weight class will have first refusal to join the United States National Amateur Team. for the tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Kerrith Brown, The President of IMMAF, said: “We are thrilled to welcome the USFL as the newest member of IMMAF in the United States. We have worked closely with Jon Frank and the USFL in the past and they understand that the role of an IMMAF member is to develop the sport from the ground up and ensure that amateur athletes have the right “safety first” environment in which to train and compete. Jon understands that the role of the USFL is to develop amateur sport and build competitive teams for IMMAF events, and the USFL will not get involved in sanctioning professional events, nor try to compete with professional promoters and to organize professional events. The USFL is strictly for amateur sports. We wish Jon and Forrest much success in building a new entity and will support them every step of the way.
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is the only legitimate international governing body for amateur MMA, with a vision of seeing MMA in the Olympics. IMMAF has member federations in 120 countries around the world, approximately 50% of which are recognized by their National Olympic Committee.