GAMMA Ukraine (UF-MMA) recently introduced the small town of Konotop (population approx. 86,000) to mixed martial arts by hosting the first-ever MMA event for children in the city.
The local championship attracted 60 young participants in total, in addition to their parents, friends and the local media. Kids under 10 years competed in grappling matches that excluded striking, while MMA rules were applied for bouts featuring athletes 10 years old and up.
The first MMA championship held in Konotop was a great success, according to GAMMA Ukraine’s Volodymyr Teslia, President of the Ukraine Federation of Mixed Martial Arts (UF-MMA), and helped not only introduce the sport and its values to the local citizens but also provide a springboard for the older athletes preparing for this month’s National MMA Cup.
“GAMMA’s values-based approach to the sport is appealing to young participants as well as their parents, as MMA can provide kids with many valuable life skills – including confidence, respect, humility and fair play – in a safe environment,” said GAMMA President Alex Engelhardt.
“GAMMA would like to thank our Ukrainian friends for their excellent work in promoting and developing amateur MMA throughout their country, both at the elite and grassroots levels.”
The Ukrainian National Cup will be held from 15-16 October in Ternopil, with all regions of the country expected to be represented. Following the tournament, all efforts will be focused on the staging of the GAMMA European MMA Championships in Kyiv from 5-9 November.
The highly anticipated European Championships will feature athletes from approximately 15 countries competing in MMA and Striking MMA disciplines.
Striking MMA, introduced by GAMMA at the Asian Championships in August this year, is considered the perfect gateway into traditional MMA for athletes looking to transition from purely striking styles such as boxing, kickboxing and muaythai as it prohibits ground fighting.