Dear UMMAF Federation Membership,
I would like to thank everyone for their congratulatory support as I embark on my new role as President of the United States Mixed Martial Arts Federation and KICK International. This is a role I take very seriously and look forward to the many challenges ahead as we seek Olympic recognition for the sport of amateur mixed martial arts. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the support and leadership of my predecessor, former UMMAF President Frank Babcock, who has been instrumental in my transition. Over the last 6 years, Mr. Babcock has been a staunch contributor to the development of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) as a founding member and as mentor to so many including myself.
As I look to the coming years, I see many exciting challenges ahead. Those challenges include our drive for Olympic recognition and a future application to become the National Governing Body for the sport of amateur MMA once that process is opened by the United States Olympic Committee as well as the overall expansion of our federation.
To truly formulate a strategy for our federation’s expansion, we must solidify exactly what a governing sports federation is and define its purpose. There are organizations out there that gauge their success by the number of events they regulate and the number of promoters they work with. Indeed, UMMAF was formed with these same ideas in mind, however like any organization we must evolve to ensure our success. Simply relying on the sanctioning of events can no longer be the metric of success. It is my goal for UMMAF to become a more inclusive federation. One that’s membership is driven by the clubs and gyms as well as the individuals. It is my belief that without successful clubs and gyms, athletes will suffer from lack of establishments to learn and in which to train. Without the athletes, promoters will be hard pressed to find athletes in which to fill their event cards. It’s a simple formula and we need to follow it for the success of our federation and development of the sport.
Development of the sport. What exactly does that mean? In my view it goes beyond the regulation of events. It includes training of event staff and executive regulation. It means implementing certification standards for coaches nationwide. The development of “Sport MMA” for those club members that want to train in the sport but have no desire to compete is a critical component to the sport’s popularity moving forward. It also means ensuring the clubs and gyms across the country have the tools they need to become more successful. This work has already begun with the establishment of the UMMAF Club Program which provides value to gyms on club insurance through Durante Insurance, RDX gear and equipment, membership discount programs through Fastlane Savings and discounted web services through Golden Services Group as well as other benefits that will be revealed in the coming days. Ensuring club and gym success is a vital component of the sports future. By taking care of the clubs, we are taking care of the athletes by ensuring they have qualified coaches and training facilities in which to safely learn. This also means helping to foster the development of safe youth competition.
UMMAF had great success at the IMMAF Cadet World Championships last year in Rome, Italy thanks to the support of our youth affiliate United States Fight League (USFL) and I look forward to strengthening that relationship even more as well as speaking with the youth coaches to determine their unique needs and concerns. The youth athletes are the future of our sport, and by teaching them how to conduct themselves, proper training and weight management techniques, and investing in their futures is the obvious way to ensure our sports future development. I look forward to a greater degree of collaboration with USFL President Jon Frank moving forward to further that agenda.
A key component of UMMAF’s direction must also be to reestablish ourselves as the number one ranked country in the IMMAF world rankings. To do this, it is my goal to establish and secure funding for the UMMAF National Team so that we can qualify the best amateur athletes in the USA to represent us at the IMMAF World Championships and various IMMAF Continental events.
Last and certainly not least I want to encourage everyone to take an active role in our federation. UMMAF will greatly benefit from the experience of coaches, athletes, fight staff and others. The opportunities to spread the UMMAF across the country to an even wider base are ample and I want to urge everyone to take an active role by contacting us at info@UMMAF.org or calling us at 781-400-4772 with your ideas. Let’s be clear, this is your federation. Its success depends on you and the federation leadership. It’s time for us to get to work! See you cageside!
Ryan C. Brueggeman