Mixed Martial Arts has been passing through a critical phase in Lebanon. The foundation of MMA in the country was shaken ever since the Minister of Sports and Youth made the controversial decision to ban any event related to the sport nationwide. This move affected the Lebanese based clubs, coaches, fighters, and promotions. The only solution for the talented Lebanese fighters/athletes was to seek opportunity outside the country in order to improve their skill level and have a more realistic goal in chasing their dreams of becoming successful MMA fighters.
Even though MMA was banned locally, a lot of initiatives from the country have been made internationally to help cement Lebanon as a global player in the sport.
One notable international association that several Lebanese MMA representatives have been working with is the WMMAA (World Mixed Martial Arts Association).
WMMAA is the first and oldest MMA world federation with over 60 countries associated with it. During its World Championship events, every fighter will have to compete in several matches to earn his way to the finals. What’s interesting about it’s structure is that no athlete will be awarded the honor of becoming a World Champion by only competing once, such as the case with several other associations.
In 2017, Lebanon received a visit from the WMMAA Senior Vice President, Secretary General and President of WMMAA Europe, Mr. Alexander Englehart, in the last week of May. In his visit, Mr. Englehart, discussed the possibilities of creating a strong base to further build MMA in the Arab region and continue to do so worldwide. He shared WMMAA’s main mission of essentially being an educational movement with a core role of spreading the values of MMA that include respect, dignity, tolerance and solidarity to the entire world.
It is no secret that the main competitor of the WMMAA is the IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation). Both of these associations are seeking the recognition of MMA as a global sport and are working for the approval of SportAccord to establish the global representation of MMA in order to enter the domain of Olympic sports. Yet, here’s the breaking news!
As of January 5, 2018, the Lebanese MMA Association became officially affiliated and approved to join the WMMAA family, with it’s President Mr. Michael Amer.
Mr. Michael Amer:
“ The Lebanese MMA Association members are privileged to join the World Mixed Martial Arts Association. I personally am humbled to be representing Lebanon now as part of the WMMAA family. It has been a long and hard road, I have been supporting many Lebanese athletes who want to evolve and make it to the next level. Now, the WMMAA is giving me the opportunity to support those athletes even more and realistically be able to get them closer to their dreams.”
Big plans are expected this year for the Lebanese youth, especially on the amateur level. The Lebanese amateur athletes will be well prepared and given a chance to experience an entire new level in competition before hitting their professional careers.