A youth development programme for MMA in Australia is to expand ©IMMAFA

International Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAF) officials have worked to expand a youth development programme in Australia.

The initiative, run by IMMAF Australia (IMMAFA), will now cover New Zealand as well from January.

It follows discussions between IMMAFA President Richie Cranny, IMMAF chief executive Densign White and IMMAF director of development Andrew Moshanov.

Multiple gyms across Oceania will now benefit from the programme, it is hoped, with the target of 50 being signed up by the summer of next year.

Cranny said the move was a "bridge to convert gyms that wouldn't normally come over to MMA". 

"We're basically going to double our membership in the first four weeks," he said.

Adam Meyers, whose background is in taekwondo, is now a coach with the national MMA squad.

He praised the programme for targeting youngsters, adding: "It was really appealing because other pathways in MMA just don't exist to be frank. 

"For the kids it's really important to base their goals around an IMMAF style qualification system."

A 12-month coaching internship has been launched alongside the youth programme.

Terry Hill, the President of the New Zealand Mixed Martial Arts Federation, said: "This is huge, and for IMMAF it is huge as well.

"I think I've got a pot of gold here."