269 male and female competitors are registered to compete in the first International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Youth MMA World Championships set for August 3-4 at the PalaPellicone in Rome, Italy.
“The inaugural Youth World Championships pitches a stake in the ground for the development of MMA as a sport that is safely accessible to all, and provides the first rung of IMMAF’s international Competition Pathway,” IMMAF president Kerrith Brown said in an April press release. “The Championships take place under the guidance of our technical experts and of FIGMMA (the Federazione Italiana Grappling Mixed Martial Arts), who are well experienced in hosting U18s competitions. It will set a first benchmark from which IMMAF Youth tournaments will no doubt evolve over time in response to feedback and new data. I speak on behalf of the board in saying that we are both proud and excited to usher in this seminal moment for the sport of MMA.”
Ranging from ages 12 – 17, it is important to note that head-strikes are barred in the competition, a modification of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, and their are three age categories:
• IMMAF Youth A 16-17s (U18)
• IMMAF Youth B 14-15s (U16)
• IMMAF Youth C 12-13s (U14)
According to the IMMAF, the largest teams are the United States (34), Ireland (28), Ukraine (27), England (26), Russia (25), Kazakhstan (24) and host Italy (20).
25 countries in total are competing, including: Albania, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Finland, Portugal, Germany, Australia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Wales, South Africa, India, New Zealand and Romania.