Don Clift of KICK International Talks Need for Change in MMA Sanctioning

June 14, 2013 12:19 pm by Sean McClure

Don Clift is the Task Force Director for the Rules and Regulations Committee working hand-in-hand with the President, Frank Babcock, with the goal of establishing rules and regulations for those areas not yet sanctioned as well as unifying the rules and regulations for amateur MMA in the United States under one Sanctioning body.


Don opened up to and provided us with everything you need to know about the international MMA sanctioning body.


The Reason and Need for the Change


The United States Mixed Martial Arts Federation established under KICK International ( was recently approved by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation ( having the recognition and support as noted by Lorenzo Fertitta below.


UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, who has helped lead the global growth of the UFC, feels that the timing is perfect. “In order to maintain the successful growth of our sport, it is important to invest in resources that will develop and cultivate it at an amateur level. Having an umbrella organization that will oversee and help build the sport on a global level will not only provide advanced and ever-improving safety standards but will also create a unified global model to help introduce the sport to new markets. It is our hope that it will also take us one step closer to witnessing the inclusion of the sport of MMA on the Olympic program.”


One of the cornerstones in the IMMAF purpose is to ensure both the formal and informal acceptance and recognition for MMA that we believe the sport deserves. Membership in SportAccord is the ultimate recognition as it means that a sport is officially recognized and on equal footing with all other world sports. It is also the gateway to a future possibility of applying for Olympic status.


From Mr. Ted Welch, Board Treasurer UMMAF:


“Now that we have been approved by the International Mixed Martial Federation, the hard work is just beginning, hard work to unite the whole United States of America Mixed Martial Arts community under one Sanctioning body. We need to put differences aside and work together to take our young athletes into National, International and World Competition and perhaps make it into the Olympics.”


What We Bring to the Table


The International MMA Federation was founded in February 2012 and has since worked diligently to provide a non-profit, democratic foundation for MMA to grow into an internationally recognized sport that is at par with other major sports.

The organization of KICK International will continue to create exciting and unique platforms for elevating the recognition and importance of amateur competitors for national and international events. KICK International will focus its efforts on MMA under the banner to be recognized as the UMMAF.


Notable Names on Board


The UMMAF Board (USA Mixed Martial Arts Federation) consists of ten Directors and is led by Mr. Frank Babcock who has more than 40 years of experience in martial arts, both as a practitioner and instructor but also as a marketer and broadcaster. Mr. Babcock has among other things developed medical safety and legal standards for training and competition in competitive combative sports that are widely used in the USA, and regularly holds refereeing and judging seminars across the country.


The UMMAF has been successfully audited by the IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) team across a number of areas such as regional representation and democratic structure and is deemed ready to assume full membership.


Other Board members:


Ted Welch, Board Treasurer

Bob Schirmer, National Coordinating Director and State Director for Illinois

Don Clift, Task Force Director Rules and Regulations Committee

Other notables include:

Matt Hughes, Coordinator of National Events

Renzo Gracie, Northeastern Regional Director & Coordinator for all New York activities

Chris Lytle, State Director for Indiana


The Group’s Long Term Vision


Our vision is for Mixed Martial Arts to be recognized as a sport through the full membership of IMMAF in SportAccord and ultimately become an Olympic sport. Creating a nation-wide benchmark for safety and training in amateur MMA is key to the UMMAF and the federation is currently working on establishing and implementing guidelines.


The IMMAF is proud to announce the first World Championships in Amateur MMA to be held early July 2014 in Las Vegas, USA, during the Las Vegas Fight week and in conjunction with the UFC Fan Expo. The UMMAF is organizing amateur MMA competitions in various states across the USA, including competitions that aim to take the top ranking athletes to international competitions where they will represent Team USA.


The Impact it will have.


A few weeks ago, the IMMAF was represented at the SportAccord Convention by Bertrand Amoussou, IMMAF Vice President, and Erika Mattsson, Director of Communications. SportAccord is the international umbrella organization for both Olympic and non-Olympic international sports federations as well as organizers of international sporting events. SportAccord Convention is a 6-day gathering of over 2000 leading sports representatives and stakeholders of the global sports community.


Thank you to Don and his team for all of that information.


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