Following an action packed beginning of the year which included the GAMMA World Championships in March, the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) continued its development efforts from where it left and completed a busy year of activities to mark the end of another year in its young history.
In many ways, 2022 will be remembered as a landmark year for the organisation and the sport as we stood together as a family during the pandemic and returned to action with renewed vigour.
Here are some of the highlights from across the globe during the second half of the year:
GAMMA Asian-Pacific Championships: Memorable for all the right reasons
With 11 countries from the Asia-Pacific Area entering athletes for the inaugural GAMMA Asian-Pacific Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, the event was a unique opportunity for several talented athletes to showcase their skills and perform on the global stage after the standalone GAMMA Asian Championships in Kyrgyzstan last year.
From 9 to 13 November, the dedicated and welcoming local organising committee led by the IFSA were great hosts for all visitors as they celebrated their history as an iconic country for combat sports.
The fantastic Asian Indoor Stadium was the perfect venue for the three days of highly competitive sport, fair play, respect, and great entertainment. The full event was televised in Thailand on TrueSport and free to air Channel 5.
Event report available here.
ONE Championship debut for GAMMA 2021 Asian Champion
October 22 was a very memorable date for Thailand’s Noelle Grandjean as she made her debut at a ONE Championship event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Having been crowned GAMMA Asian Champion in 2021, this was the next step for the ambitious athlete.
The lightweight Thai woman performed very impressively, and in doing so improved her career record while securing a performance bonus of 50,000 US dollars. Relive her bout here.
Best Athletes from the GAMMA Asian-Pacific Championships awarded a ONE Lumpinee Opportunity
GAMMA is making the most of its strategic partnership with ONE Championship to offer opportunities for its most promising athletes to take part in a new project, ONE Lumpinee. This was on offer for the four best athletes at the 2022 GAMMA Asian-Pacific Championships.
The four coveted spots, two male and two female for MMA and Striking MMA, were won by Sandra Succar from Lebanon in the 65.8kg category, Sumit Bhyan from India in the 70.3kg category, Farida Abdueva from Kyrgyzstan in the 52.2kg striking MMA category and Almaz Sarsembekov from Kazakhstan in the 61.2kg striking MMA category. Read more here.
Mixed Marial Arts in Tunisia Developing Strongly
GAMMA partner, the Tunisian committee of Shootfighting MMA and Grappling has been working extremely hard to build a sustainable and healthy Mixed Martial Arts Movement in the country by taking a wholistic approach to its development activities.
Having the right structures in place has meant the delivery of educational activities for coaches and referees during November and early December before an event for athletes which took place just before the holiday period at the end of December. More information on the work in Tunisia here.
MMA on the Rise in Sierra Leone
With the professionalization of MMA in Sierra Leone back in November 2019, the sport has rapidly increased its visibility across the country, thanks to the hard work of former MMA athlete and promoter, and now president of the Sierra Leone Mixed Martial Arts Federation (SLMMAA), Saidu Sesay.
Securing the support of the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Authority was the first step in gaining recognition and membership with the relevant governing bodies and becoming a member of GAMMA. For more information on the sport in Sierra Leone, click here.
Successful GAMMA European Championship held in Georgia
The European GAMMA family was successfully brought together in Tbilisi, Georgia at the end of September for the European Championships.
The underlying message during these successful championships was togetherness and solidarity, despite the ongoing conflict in the region. Another highly competitive continental championships showed the strength of the sport in Europe. Read the full event report here.
Simultaneous events take place in France
Saturday 8 October was a busy day for GAMMA France with two MMA Championships taking place simultaneously in the regions of Bordeaux and Lyon.
Two great events provided French athletes with a great platform to compete at the national level in preparation for future international competitions. More information here.
GAMMA President Discusses Future of MMA in Russia
GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt continues to focus on development and recently held talks in Russia regarding the cooperation between the Russian Ministry of Sports and GAMMA for the future development of MMA and the reintegration of Russian athletes in GAMMA competitions at the appropriate time. Read more here.
National Support Helping Development of MMA in Greece
Mixed Martial Arts in Greece, which is under the auspices of the Hellenic Wrestling Federation made a significant step in its development as it applied to the GAMMA to become a full member of the organisation after two years as an associate member.
Since becoming a member of the GAMMA family in 2020 as part of the non-Olympic sports committee in Greece, the national federation has already organised the Panhellenic Championships and sent a team to the 2021 GAMMA World Championships in Amsterdam who returned home with two bronze medals. Read more about the national support here.
Talented Athletes in Oceania Seizing Pro-Opportunities
Following very impressive performances at the 2022 GAMMA World Championships, three Oceania athletes have been testing themselves at professional level this year.
Danielle Curtis from Canberra, Australia started making a name for herself in the national setup after competing in the Endouro Fight Promotion and fighting in the main event at the prominent events, Storm and Damage. She has also been appointed as an Industry Advisor for the Combat Sports Authority to provide feedback and insights into to the Combat Sports Community.
Gabby Kane from Auckland, New Zealand competed for the NZMF title a few weeks after the GAMMA World Championships. She traveled to Chiang Mai in Thailand scoring a KO victory before fighting for a ISKA National title to end the year successfully.
Kevin Kophamel from Perth, Australia who showed incredible determination despite his very young age at the GAMMA World Championships and earned the chance to make his professional debut at the Eternal MMA 71 event in his hometown.
First ever GAMMA U18 International Championship Takes Place
The first ever GAMMA U18 International MMA Championships took place in Nashville, Tennessee, USA for athletes aged 8 to 17. There were several international delegations that travelled to the heart of the USA, despite ongoing travel difficulties to test their skills at international level across 15 weight categories for girls and 23 weight categories for boys.
An incredible development opportunity for all young athletes and a unique way to show the values of the sport of MMA.
GAMMA Argentina makes history with First Ever Event
August 21, 2022 will be remembered as the beginning of the history of MMA for the GAMMA member in Argentina.
24 athletes representing eight gyms from Rosario and the areas around Buenos Aires took to the ring to compete in 14 bouts looking to add points to their national rankings in front of a crowd of more than 200 people packed. A great start for the organisation. Read more about the event here.
RuCamp Helping Youth Empowerment through MMA
GAMMA USA Youth Coach Ruben Saldana who runs RuCamp was invited as a guest speaker for a group of elite law enforcement individuals from Kazakhstan.
Thanks to his work in empowering youth and keeping them away from crime through sport projects, he was able to inspire the group through his stories of the transformative power of MMA.