Alexander Engelhardt, the Senior Vice President, Secretary General, and President of WMMAA Europe visited Lebanon during the last week of May, 2017. By the invite of Master Sami Kiblawi and Phoenix President Mr. Yerevanian,they all met to discuss the possibilities of the involvement of Lebanon in the World Mixed Marital Arts Association (WMMAA) of Amateur MMA.
ArabsMMA had the chance to speak to Engelhardt and delve deeper into the details of the upcoming partnership with Lebanon, future plans of WMMAA and discussions with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).
WMMAA and Lebanon
“One of the main reasons why we are in Lebanon is to discuss the possibilities to create a strong base to further built MMA in the Arab World, and to continue to build it worldwide. Phoenix Fighting Championship, and its president Chahe Yerevanian for example has witnessed a lot of growth as can be seen across social media platforms, by fighters and Arab fighters.”
Attention and interest of the WMMAA in the Arab World is a major development for the region for MMA. Lebanon is the first Arab country to begin the process of admittance into the WMMAA and has been welcomed to participate in the coming WMMAA World Championship early in September 2017. This championship is to take place in Kazakhstan at the World Expo.
“I am curious as to who and which fighters Lebanon will bring [to the World Championship]. I am sure it will be a very strong team, as from what I understand Lebanon is really bringing up their MMA. We are very pleased to have Lebanon and other Arab countries join us for the first time. I would like to welcome them to our family.”
Happy with the good common ground established with Lebanon through Master Kiblawi, the WMMAA can continue to build a relationship with Lebanon. Master Kiblawi is also to play a vital part in the WMMAA.
“As a world federation, it is really important to have good people that can show the sport to the audience and can also cooperate with the federation. Together we can make it stronger, we can make the promotions stronger and the promotions can make the federation stronger. With this we can create opportunities for the fighters.The WMMAA has become involved in the Lebanese federation because of Master Sami Kiblawi as he is known worldwide and has the connections to all sports. He will be the representative of the West Asian countries.”
WMMAA and IMMAF
The WMMAA is in competition with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) of amateur MMA for the recognition of MMA globally. Both organizations want the approval of SportAccord to establish the global representative, and then hopefully have MMA enter the domain of an Olympic sport. However only one organization may be recognized as the leading representative. The merging of the two into one solid foundation of an organization is in the process, but until then WMMAA continues its global dominance, with four World Championships and four European Championships already under its belt.
“We both use our best efforts to bring the sport to a higher level. We want to achieve communication [with the IMMAF], to see where we can continue, to see where we can build, how to make the sport stronger, but also how we can cooperate. It is not about who wants to be president, it is about what is best for the sport. In the end the one thing we should win is the MMA, and the one thing that will win is the MMA.”
Information about WMMAA
Headed by Vadim Finkelchtein, the President, and its Honorary President Fedor Emelianenko, the WMMAA is a non-profit organization with over 40 countries currently in membership as more join each month. It has been more active in European and Asian countries. Recently American Top Team, the first U.S team to partner up with the organization, entered the Pan-American Championships during late 2016, and has initiated the formation of a U.S.A national MMA team. Their vision is to work with national MMA bodies on educating their respective governments about MMA and their mission is to take it to the Olympics.