The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation was founded in 2012 ©IMMAF

International Mixed Martial Arts Federation's (IMMAF) founder and Honorary President August Wallén has hailed the "incredible" progress made by the organisation and said he is "very proud" as it celebrates its 10th year anniversary.

The governing body was founded in 2012 and organised its inaugural World Championships in Las Vegas two years later.

It merged with the World Mixed Martial Arts Association and held a unified World Championships in Bahrain's capital Manama in 2018.

IMMAF is striving for mixed martial arts (MMA) to be included on the Olympic programme, with an application to the Global Association of International Sport Federations ongoing.

Last month, it received World Anti-Doping Agency Code signatory status, having previously had a bid rejected in 2019 which prompted legal action.

Swedish official Wallén looked back on IMMAF's progress with immense pride.

"It makes me very proud to see how far IMMAF has come since its foundation, which feels a lifetime away," he said. 

"But for a federation, 10 years is a relatively short time and the advances we have made are incredible.

"I am also very happy that we have managed to sustain our momentum through the pandemic.

Ultimate Fighting Championship chief operating officer said IMMAF had done a
Ultimate Fighting Championship chief operating officer said IMMAF had done a "remarkable job of nurturing amateur mixed martial arts" during its 10-year existence ©Getty Images

"I want to thank everyone who has contributed over the years, both for their effort to take us to where we are today and for believing in the vision."

Frenchman Bertrand Amoussou, an original IMMAF Board director and former President, echoed Wallén's remarks, arguing the organisation "has been a game changer for MMA in general and for amateur MMA in particular".

IMMAF also has a long-running partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, whose chief operating officer, Lawrence Epstein, praised the governing body for its work over the last decade.

"In the past 10 years, IMMAF has done a remarkable job of nurturing amateur mixed martial arts and marketing it on a grassroots level to develop a generational following," Epstein commented.

"The role IMMAF plays in promoting higher safety and regulatory standards is just as important, as countries around the world adopt the sport and open it to local amateur competition."

Briton Kerrith Brown, IMMAF President since 2015, said it had "truly become a juggernaut".

IMMAF now has 120 National Federations, 49 of which are recognised by their National Olympic Committee or National Sports Agency.