The 2nd Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) World Congress took place on 24 March in Amsterdam, Netherlands ahead of the 2021 World Championships, the first time in three years the GAMMA family could interact in person.

Opening the meeting, GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt shared his delight in seeing so many member representatives in the room. “It is special for me to welcome you to this World Congress in my home country of Holland. We have had some difficult years and I want to thank you all for making such efforts to be here. As we say, GAMMA is a family, and this is our reunion.”

The meeting officially started with a confirmation of the delegates. Of the 64 full GAMMA members around the world, 36 were present in Amsterdam. GAMMA is also working with 47 other affiliate members seeking to become full members before the next World Congress.

One of the highlights of the Congress was a recap of all the social programmes GAMMA is involved with. Firstly, delegates were informed of GAMMA’s “green banking” initiative, which has already resulted in the planting of 2,437 trees in Madagascar. An animated presentation from Ruben Saldaña followed, with the American providing an overview of his Ruben Ru Camp. Under the slogan #GlovesUpGunsDown, he uses MMA to inspire young people to make positive choices in life rather than join gangs and face incarceration.

Members were also given more details on the #ifightcampaign, which was launched at the Asian Championships last year. The campaign encourages GAMMA athletes to pick a cause to compete for every time they enter the ring. Other social programmes include Fight4Future and Sports for Everybody, which leverage MMA to help local communities and young people in Thailand and Palestine, respectively.

President Engelhardt informed the Congress that GAMMA had become the first international MMA federation to be recognized in Africa, a historic milestone for the organisation. After presenting an increased budget for 2022, Engelhardt went on to outline the organisation’s short- and long-term priorities, many of which came from feedback from a members survey conducted in 2021.

The Congress heard that a greater investment is being made in communications, specifically for the development of a digital strategy, a refreshed corporate brand, and a new website and app.

Finally, an overview of the events calendar for 2022 was presented before the meeting was officially closed and the draw began for the start of the 2021 World Championships running from 25-27 March at the Sporthallen Zuid.