Building on the triumph of the GAMMA World MMA Championships 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand, IFSA Vice President Achilles Ralli recently engaged in discussions with Dr. Meechai Inwood, Deputy Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand. The focus of their meeting centered around the future development and recognition of amateur MMA in Thailand.
As an active Member of the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA), IFSA has played a pivotal role in advancing MMA in Thailand. Notably, the country successfully hosted two of the most significant international competitions in the past year—the GAMMA Asian-Pacific MMA Championships 2022 and the GAMMA World MMA Championships 2023, both acclaimed for their success.
The top class production quality and live broadcasting of these events underscore Thailand’s emergence as a popular venue for hosting major sporting events. Beyond the accolades, these competitions serve as catalysts for the growth of MMA in other countries, assisting GAMMA Members in their developmental efforts.
IFSA was also tasked with hosting the inaugural Asian MMA Championships 2023 under the newly established Asian Mixed Martial Arts Association (AMMA), a body currently recognised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). This move demonstrates the commitment to regional collaboration and elevating the status of MMA in Asia.
In the midst of MMA’s rapid global popularity surge, IFSA emphasizes the need to distinguish MMA from other combat sports such as Muay Thai, Jujitsu, Kickboxing, and wrestling. As Vice President Achilles Ralli aptly puts it, “MMA is a completely different sport, like comparing apples and pears. Yes, they are both fruit, but of course, they are very different.”
Acknowledging the vital role played by local authorities, President of GAMMA, Alexander Engelhardt, stressed the importance of National Federations receiving support for the sport’s development. He expressed gratitude for Thailand’s outstanding hospitality in hosting GAMMA events and conveyed GAMMA’s excitement to strengthen and deepen its relations with the country.
The strides made in Thailand’s MMA scene, coupled with the collaborative efforts of IFSA and GAMMA, signal a promising future for the sport in the region.