An amalgamation has been announced between two different mixed martial arts governing bodies in an attempt to boost the global unification of the sport.
The Kerrith Brown-led International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and the Vadim Finkelchtein-headed World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) have each assumed responsibility for running the sport, focusing on different parts of the world.
An amalgamation agreement was reached between the heads of both organisations earlier this year and approved by General Assemblies of both bodies.
It comes as mixed martial arts hopes to be added to the Global Association of International Sports Federations, with further discussions expected at the SportAccord Summit which started here today.
“The unification of WMMAA and IMMAF has been agreed by both organisations’ members for the betterment of the sport of MMA. As well as strengthening MMA’s bid for sport recognition by the Olympic movement, the move will bring benefits to the members of both organisations including combined championships and events, joint education courses for officials and a consolidation of resources which will in turn boost growth," said Brown, a former chair of British judo.
"IMMAF and WMMAA are both set to be bolstered by this agreement and we would like to thank both memberships for their visionary leadership in ratifying the agreement.”
Fulfilling anti-doping rules remains a challenge for mixed martial arts.
It was announced last month that a lawsuit had been filed by the IMMAF against the World Anti-Doping Agency after the latter body's reluctance to accept the former as a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code.
“I truly believe that the coming amalgamation will give a huge boost to the global development of MMA as a sport and it will bear positive influence even in those countries in which MMA is still forbidden," added Finkelchtein.
"Joining forces will provide us with an opportunity to achieve recognition for MMA at every official level and to subsequently enter the Olympic Movement.
"I’m pleased that our organisations have similar goals and a shared vision for the acceptance of MMA into the Olympic Games for 2024 to 2028.
"This would not be possible without our cooperation, which I believe will be fruitful to the benefit of our beloved sport.”