Athlete registration opens today for the 2021 IMMAF Senior and Junior European Open Championships to take place from 16- 20 August in Kazan, Russia, with the Tournament Draw on 15 August. It is IMMAF’s first event on the continent since 2019 due to the hiatus caused by the global pandemic.
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s amateur nations tournament is to be hosted by the Russian MMA Union, with backing from the Russian Sports Ministry, and is open to eligible competitors from around the world. Those wishing to apply should contact their IMMAF affiliated National Federation.
The Russian team has proved dominant in IMMAF competitions since IMMAF’s merger with the World Mixed Martial Arts Association in 2018, which saw the first unified IMMAF – WMMAA Championships. The team currently places 1st in the Junior rankings and 2nd in the Senior rankings. It also placed 1st in both the Junior and Senior European Championships medals tables in 2019, attaining 5 gold medals in each tournament for Russia, and a further 4 silver and 2 bronzes across both.
The standing 2019 European Senior Gold Medallists for Russia are: Viktoriya Dudakova (Women’s Flyweight); Magomed Aliev (Men’s Strawweight); Salamat Isbulaev (Men’s Lightweight); Magomedkhabib Umarov (Men’s Middleweight); and Igor Glazkov (Men’s Light-Heavyweight). Standing 2019 European Junior Gold Medallists for Russia are: Zagirhan Ibragimov (Men’s Jr Strawweight); Akhmed Nutsalkhanov (Men’s Jr Flyweight); Dorobshoh Nabotov (Men’s Jr Lightweight); Omar Aliev (Men’s Jr Light-Heavyweight) and Shamsutdin Makhmudov (Men’s Jr Heavyweight).
Much is to be anticipated too in 2021 from burgeoning Russian women’s divisions. The Ministry of Sport last month recognised MMA as an official discipline for women, following the medals successes of Victoria Dudakova, Zemfira Alieva and Tatiana Postarnakova who independently represented the country in 2019. This grants Russia’s female MMA athletes the opportunity for official selection to and full support within the Russian national team (including financial and training) on an equal basis with men.
Speaking of the 2021 IMMAF European Championships, Russian Union President Radmir Gabdullin said:
“I am sure that the 2021 European Open Championships will prove a real celebration of sportsmanship and will unite participants from different countries even more around the ideas of sport, friendship and cooperation. Given the impeccable reputation and experience of Kazan in hosting major international sporting events, I can assure all MMA athletes and fans that the most hospitable and cordial welcome awaits you in Kazan. Kazan’s sport venues are considered the best modern facilities, while its historical and cultural sites are famous all over the world for their inimitable beauty and authenticity. We look forward to welcoming all the national teams and guests to the European Open Championships. Thank you for helping us to make this tournament a reality.”
IMMAF Honorary President and WMMAA founder, Vadim Finkelchtein said:
“It’s been a while since the International Federation has held an event in Russia and I couldn’t be happier that this year, the Russian MMA Union will host it.”
“Ever since the last event [under WMMAA], they have become more experienced, their connection with the Russian Sports Ministry has grown even stronger and I am sure the event will be held to the highest standards. We are looking forward to welcoming all IMMAF members to Russia. Kazan is a unique location which will make the experience unforgettable.”
IMMAF Anti-doping Consultant, Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity, said:
“IMMAF is delighted to be partnering with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency to develop enhanced anti-doping activities leading into and during the European Championships. IMMAF is committed to building legacy through its events programme. To be able to partner with RUSADA, a national anti-doping agency under considerable scrutiny, willing to work with sports organisations to deliver WADA testing standards, will be mutually beneficial.”
“IMMAF has tested at the European Championships since they were first established. It is important for IMMAF athletes that we can trust and rely upon the support of national anti-doping programmes in achieving safe and clean MMA.”
IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, said:
“The Russian MMA Union sets a global benchmark in its achievements for MMA – from sport recognition, government relations, its national championships circuit, its participation numbers, nationally supported team, world class talent and coaching, and commitment to IMMAF’s international sports governance standards.”
“Russia’s earning of the hosting rights for IMMAF’s 2021 European Championships is well deserved, and besides offering a premier level competition platform, Kazan provides a scenic and historic location complete with World Heritage and cultural sites for those who make the journey.”