Thursday, June 13, 2019

The United States Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UMMAF) has responded to an article published by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).

“The IMMAF recently imposed ‘Special Measures’ on UMMAF for noncompliance issues raised by an organization that was founded by two former UMMAF members,” says UMMAF Vice President Ryan Brueggeman. “UMMAF by-laws were written in order to comply with the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act of 1978, and lays out requirements for a national governing body or NGB to regulate a particular sport autonomously in the USA. The problem with this act is that unless the sport of amateur mixed martial arts is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, or the United States Olympic Committee, the regulation of the sport in the USA is largely left up to State athletic commissions that in many cases regulate differently from state to state in relation to event reporting, results reporting, and rule sets. UMMAF regulates the sport of amateur MMA under the authority of various state athletic commissions, however, UMMAF is subject to laws governing the sport in each state. This makes total compliance with the Ted Stevens Act impossible.

“UMMAF recognizes that changes to its by-laws are needed, as we have been in the process of review since December to better work within the United States and further the development of the sport, however, UMMAF contends that the actions of IMMAF are without precedent and not called for by any IMMAF statute. As such UMMAF has formally requested a hearing with the IMMAF Arbitration and Ethics Committee as provided for in IMMAF statutes to let the allegations of non-compliance be heard by a neutral party and to ensure that any special measures imposed by IMMAF are being evenly imposed across any federation with compliance issues. It is our contention that UMMAF should be granted a formal hearing to adequately explain our position, present proof that we have indeed made great progress in working to achieve compliance, and streamlining processes for elections that closely mirror IMMAF themselves,” says Brueggeman.

“Last week we received a document from IMMAF detailing some very specific changes to our by-laws that IMMAF wants to see changed or explained, however, it should be noted that these same by-laws were actually approved by IMMAF in 2013. Other issues of compliance range from the public posting of Board Meeting minutes and financials, which had already been done before the special measures came into effect, however we know for certain that other Federations within IMMAF are not as compliant or public with their own information as UMMAF and yet they have not had special measures placed on their Federation. This is one of many examples of IMMAF ignoring the conduct and processes of other Federations while also displaying a clear lack of understanding of the many different laws and policies in the USA. UMMAF has urged IMMAF to come to the USA to get a clear understanding of the laws in the states which we operate and in turn IMMAF has pledged support to UMMAF during multiple meetings. To date that support has consisted of one ABC conference almost three years ago attended by IMMAF CEO Densign White.

“Other allegations levied by former UMMAF members and outlined in the Special Measures document state that UMMAF National Team members all come from the same club. This cannot be further from the truth. At the recent Pan-American Championships in the Bahamas, UMMAF fielded a team of athletes from Missouri, California, West Virginia, Florida, and Ohio. Each year UMMAF has held a National tournament open to the entire amateur MMA community. Participation typically drew few athletes from outside of the region the tournament was held. This year UMMAF has added three team trials dates and is in the process of adding a fourth in the SE Region to get a better geographic spread of athletes.

Brueggeman went on to say, “The recent article published by IMMAF is unwarranted and damaging to UMMAF on a few fronts. The decision to write or publish the article without advance warning or consultation with UMMAF is an example of extremely poor decision making within IMMAF, without regard to consequences to its recognized federation member. While UMMAF concedes that there are issues that need to be corrected, we condemn the remarks and conduct of IMMAF regarding this situation. Indeed IMMAF, UMMAF, and many other federations need to clean up a few items to strengthen the drive for Olympic recognition, however UMMAF will not be singled out in this manner and we are certain that IMMAF’s drive for Olympic recognition could be derailed if the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) found the same special measures are not applied evenly throughout the international federation members for issues of non-compliance and with bias.

“Rest assured that UMMAF is being proactive and democratic in the correction of the deficiencies identified and we look forward to the implementation of many programs, source funding, and the elections of UMMAF Members in good standing conducted by our Governance Committee at our General Assembly with dates to be announced as soon as the bylaws revision is completed, approved by IMMAF and the UMMAF Board of Directors.”

Source: UMMAF.org