Bolivia is making its GAMMA debut at the 2024 Pan American Championships in Rosario, Argentina, which commence on Friday.

National teams officially arrive onsite tomorrow from across the Americas to participate in the three-day mixed martial arts and striking MMA tournament, hosted by GAMMA ARGENTINA (Asociacion Civil con Personeria Juridica de Artes Marciales y Deportes de Combate). The draw is to take place after athletes complete registration, weigh-ins and medical clearance tomorrow, and bouts will be live-streamed internationally from Club Náutico from Friday (5) to Sunday (7).

Teams taking part include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay and USA. Unfortunately, the Belizean team may have to withdraw due to visa issues.

GAMMA Bolivia will be represented by two athletes, Fernando León (65.8kg) and Ian Pires (70.3kg), competing in the MMA seniors.

Fernando León has been highlighted as a top prospect nationally. The 23-year-old engineer from La Paz has experience across kickboxing, boxing, combat sambo and grappling, and holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. He is former featherweight champion of Bolivian promotion, KMMA, and coaches in kickboxing.

Meanwhile, teammate, Ian “Jimagua” Pires, at nineteen years old presents another top Bolivian prospect. After just two years of training the natural talent secured the bantamweight title of Katari MMA. The La Paz native is also national champion in wrestling and sambo.

Speaking on behalf of GAMMA Bolivia, Alvaro Quiroga said:

“Taking part in the Pan American MMA Championships is a source of pride for Bolivia.

“It is the first time that we are going to participate in one of these championships that are so important worldwide. Two of our best amateur MMA prospects in Bolivia will represent us. They are of a level not seen before in Bolivia and they will have the opportunity to prove it in an international competition.

“We come from La Paz, Bolivia, where we live at 3600 meters above sea level (12,000ft) and have different training conditions due to our topography. Cardio won’t be a problem for us. We believe that we have a very high level of grappling and that our athletes are the right ones to represent Bolivia.

“Both Ian Pires and Fernando León have already championed for promotions in their respective weight categories. They were about to turn professionals until this opportunity came along that we cannot miss.

“The most important thing for them is to gain international experience before they go pro.”