Greetings UMMAF and KICK International Members,
2018 brought about a year of significant growth for the United States Mixed Martial Arts Federation. From the growth in the number of events we sanction through UMMAF and KICK International, to the number of athletes that have joined our ranks and the number of promoters who have seen the value of having their events regulated by UMMAF.
I am very proud of the work we have accomplished this year, starting with the creation of our promoter insurance program which provides significant savings to promoters that choose UMMAF to sanction with. This program is unique in that it not only allows for savings but it also allows for refunds for fights that drop off an event card. It also eliminates the 12 fight fight minimum that most insurance companies adhere to. We have heard over and over that promoters are seeing savings of 20% to 50%. We have also identified and worked to correct many gaps that exist in insurance policies that are typically purchased, leaving athletes and officials open for liability that they had no idea existed. None of this would be possible without Chris Durante and Ashley Crowther from Durante Insurance and Financial Services. They have worked tirelessly to ensure promoters receive the very best rates in the industry with proper coverage. They also spearheaded the creation of our insurance portal on our website that makes purchasing insurance easy!
2018 also saw the successful completion of the UMMAF National Championship Tournament in Boonville, MO. Thanks to Midwest fight League, our tournament saw many great amateur athletes converge on the Isle of Capri Casino to test their metal and become members of the UMMAF National Team. That team produced the success of Darian Weeks who traveled to Australia to become the 2018 IMMAF Oceana Champion. The team also boasted the likes of LaNeisha Vinson from South Carolina. Laneisha made history at the 2018 IMMAF World Championships by becoming the first USA team member to win the unified IMMAF-WMMAA World Championship. She did so in spectacular fashion by knocking out all 4 of her opponents. LaNeisha is also the first African American woman to win an IMMAF World Championship, no doubt blazing a trail for others to follow.
As always our National Director and Vice President Ryan Brueggeman continues to spearhead initiatives to continually grow UMMAF, ensure regulatory compliance and anticipate our needs in a way that positively affects our staff and membership. The scope of Ryan’s work and his dedication to our mission is truly unparalleled and I cannot thank him enough for bearing some of the weight that comes with the growth of our national organization.
This past year also saw the arrival of Tom Kilkenny to our Regional Directors Staff in the Northeast. The return of UMMAF/KICK International to the Northeast began with his arrival and culminated with UMMAF being licensed in the state of New York to regulate amateur MMA as well as amateur and pro Muay Thai. Our success in that state has been instantaneous with the sanctioning of Aggressive Combat Championships, the United States Muay Thai Open Tournament, and Triumph Kombat Muay Thai at Madison Square Garden! We look forward to other many great successes under Tom’s leadership in the Northeast. This year also saw UMMAF licensure in the State of Oregon under UMMAF Northwest Regional Director Ralph Cook. Ralph’s years of regulatory experience continues to lead UMMAF expansion in that part of the country. In the Southeast, UMMAF Regional Director Justin Brown lead our efforts into the State of Florida by bringing on promotions such as XFN for UMMAF sanctioning. Justin’s efforts have resulted in many promotions and athletes seeking out UMMAF membership and regulation in many States across the country.
Speaking of across the country, and due to Justin’s efforts we were happily announced the 2019 National Championship Tournament in St. Ignace, Michigan on February 28th through March 2nd. This tournament will be hosted by Big John’s MMA. Our many thanks go out to John Yeubanks for realizing the value of this tournament for our athletes. During this tournament UMMAF will also be convening our General Assembly which is crucial in our drive toward Olympic Recognition. This is the UMMAF memberships’ opportunity to gain valuable information into the organization and to voice any opinions or concerns they may have. This truly shows that UMMAF belongs to and is guided by the membership!
There are so many people that have given their time to UMMAF this year but I need to mention the person that has been the catalyst for many of you getting to know us through our social media platforms. Jennifer Larson has gone above and beyond for UMMAF creating informational and entertaining content for your viewing. Her steadfast devotion to UMMAF’s goals and aspirations has been instrumental in our success and I cannot thank her enough! Julia Eudy from Golden Services Group has been with us for years and has devoted a lot of her time to things like designing our website and increasing it’s functionality and SEO rating. Thanks to her, we were able to launch our insurance portal on UMMAF.org as well as make plans for future projects to come in 2019. I cannot properly convey the gratitude I have for these two women!
As we look to 2019, we will see a large increase in UMMAF Sanctioned events across the country. Members can expect to see added value in their annual membership dues, more value and options for insurance coverage’s and discounts. We look forward to the formation of several committee’s that will be announced at our General Assembly and those that will lead them. Rest assured that the future of UMMAF/KICK International is bright thanks to you, and we look forward to many more great successes in 2019! Stay safe, train hard, and be goal driven!
Franklin Babcock III
President, UMMAF/KICK International