The IMMAF Youth Development Commission found the online grading system was "feasible" and "should be valid" ©IMMAF

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Youth Development Commission has recommended for athlete grading to be conducted online in response to restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A new set of guidelines to allow assessment of the technical competency of young athletes have been unveiled by the Commission following a recent virtual meeting.

The Commission is now advising IMMAF National Federations, clubs and coaches to begin conducting grading online when it is not possible to carry out examinations in person.

After reviewing pilot trials in Hong Kong, the Commission found the online method was "feasible" and "should be valid", particularly for the yellow and orange grades.

"We have done an enormous work during the last few months to create a tool which works, and which is fair and safe," said Stanislav Nedkov, chairman of the IMMAF Youth Development Commission.

"With this tool, we will be able to motivate athletes in their development, so they have the chance to compete internationally and, with God’s grace, one day at Olympic level too."

Danny Corr, vice-chairman of the commission and chair of the Peace Through MMA Commission, added: "This is a fantastic opportunity to engage our young people especially during these difficult times.

"IMMAF are leading the way and ensuring our young athletes have the best outcomes and are provided with safe and effective online training and that they are able to grow and develop happily and healthily without the risk of abuse or neglect."

The IMMAF said the Mexican Mixed Martial Arts Federation (MMA Mexico) had been working to implement the grading system.

"In the last year we have successfully achieved approximately 30 graduations, a number that will increase in the coming months, as due to restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19, Mexico has had to slow down assessments," said Raul Salas Navarro, President of the MMA Mexico.

"We believe that the IMMAF grading system is definitely the right way forward for the development of our athletes and is another key milestone in the journey to achieve recognition of the sport at Olympic level."