The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has officially conceded this years scheduled tournaments to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The European Open, Youth World Championships, and the Asia Open Championships, which were scheduled for July and August in Italy and June in Kazakhstan respectively, have all been cancelled.
This is in addition to the Africa Open and the Pan American Championships.
“In the shadow of the current global pandemic and government responses worldwide, as well as out of duty-of-care to our members, the IMMAF board has been left with no alternative but to cancel the European and Youth Championships this year,” president Kerrith Brown said in a press release.
“Meanwhile, all sports events have been banned in Kazakhstan for the present time, forcing us to stop the Asian Open in June.,” Brown said. “We will be monitoring with global situation in the hope that we can hold this event later in the year, in the run up to the World and Team Championships.
“Unfortunately, it is unlikely that our calendar will permit space for the other tournaments to be rescheduled this year and we are grateful to our host federations and event partners for their cooperation in reviewing options for applying existing agreements to 2021.
COVID-19 has ravaged Italy, and many other countries around the world, forcing strict lockdowns and travel restrictions, along with social distancing and quarantines.
“I encourage athletes to keep training, keep drilling and studying techniques from home,” Brown encouraged. “This period will be a test of character and determination: We look forward to relaunching stronger and better, and meeting again in competition very soon.”
“I fully agree with the decision taken by the President of IMMAF to postpone the MMA Championships that should have been held this summer in Rome,” FIGMMA president Saverio Longo added. “The health of athletes, teams and organizers is a priority and must therefore prevail over all other interests.”
“But I’m sure that when this forced break is over, MMA athletes from all over the world will return to compete with even more enthusiasm and vigour because no virus or adversity can ever extinguish the fire of passion for fighting that burns inside the heart of every MMA fighter.”
The IMMAF has launched free, online accredited coach education courses, which count towards full IMMAF Coach Certification, to try and assist development during self-distancing and isolation for its members.