Carl Langan-Evans, Ben Crighton and Christopher Kirk were the panellists on MMA weight management ©IMMAF

Topics such as anti-doping, weight management and officials pathways were all on the agenda as part of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Technical Seminar Week.

Consultant Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity held a session on the subject "Doping Risks and Anti-Doping Solutions", while regulatory affairs director and international referee Marc Goddard spoke on the "Regulatory Pathways and Officials Development in MMA".

Verroken stated the importance of clean sport in mixed martial arts (MMA), stressing the responsibility that athletes, coaches and parents had in regards to doping, including the risk of imprisonment depending on national laws.

"We believe at IMMAF that cheating has no place in the sport," said Verroken.

"We've prioritised the education of members so they understand what their responsibilities and liabilities are."

She also informed members that the completion of the World Anti-Doping Agency's Anti-Doping Education and Learning courses will soon be mandatory for all participants at IMMAF Championships.

In his session, Goddard described the necessity of officials' training pathways and professional development, citing that licensed officials have gone through IMMAF's programme and then onto other commercial promoters such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

"Referees and judges shouldn't be an afterthought," said Goddard.

"The selection of officials for events should always remain at the forefront.

"The sport of mixed martial arts is still in its infancy and IMMAF is at the forefront of developing and standardising the sport."

Goddard also announced his new online theoretical officiating education platform, due to launch in May.

Marc Goddard spoke about officiating development pathways in his seminar ©IMMAF
Marc Goddard spoke about officiating development pathways in his seminar ©IMMAF

Carl Langan-Evans, research fellow in applied sport physiology and nutrition at Liverpool John Moores and nutritionist was one of three people to speak during the "Evidence Based Weight Management in MMA" panel session.

He was joined by Liverpool John Moores PhD students Ben Crighton researching the effects of weight management on performance and health in sport; and Christopher Kirk, researching the development of a performance coaching framework for MMA.

Kirk is also a lecturer of sport and exercise physiology at Sheffield Hallam University.

"MMA is a sport of complex demands and we must prepare our athletes for the technical and physiological requirements that are involved," said Kirk.

"A weight cut can seriously effect both of those elements and negatively impact an athlete's performance as a result."

The three panellists spoke about topics such as extreme weight-cutting practices, eating disorders and performance related to weight-cutting.

Crighton also presented research showing no correlation between success in MMA and the amount of weight gained between weigh-in and competition.