Michelle Montague, third left, has thanked the IMMAF for its support amid COVID-19 challenges ©Instagram/thewildonemma

New Zealand’s Michelle Montague has thanked the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) for its support as she negotiates competing in the sport amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2019 women's featherweight world champion was forced to travel to the European Open Championships in Kazan alone.

Montague told the IMMAF that she had missed the support of coaches and team mates during competition, although had regular contact with her fight dietitian.

The New Zealand athlete missed out on a place in the events' finals in the Russian city, but came away with a bronze medal.

She praised the IMMAF’s support prior to and after competition.

"The decision to head over to the Euros was difficult at first, however the IMMAF team really went out of their way to make the list of difficulties a lot more manageable," Montague told the IMMAF website.

"I cannot thank them enough for that.

"Being away from family for four months, and even becoming an aunt for the first time in the last few weeks, is certainly a little heavy on the emotions at times, but the family back home are so supportive of my goals and have never made it harder than it already is.

"In fact it was amazing to feel the support from back home with every opportunity I was presented with these past four months."

Montague travelled to the United States following the European Open Championships, where she trained at the American Top Team gym in Florida.

She had been due to compete at the IMMAF World Championships in Kazakhstan between November 27 and December 4.

The event was cancelled due to COVID-19, however, leading to the organisation agreeing to stage the event in Abu Dhabi from January 24 to 29.

Montague has trained in Ireland since the cancellation of the event, prior to travelling back to New Zealand.

"I am in Ireland now and the two men I have to thank are the IMMAF President Kerrith Brown and John Kavanagh from Straight Blast Gym Ireland," Montague added.

"They synced up, once Kerrith knew weeks ago that my USA visa would expire and with no World Championships in these two weeks, I had no place to go before New Zealand would let me get back home into the managed isolation and quarantine system for isolation."