UFC superstar Conor McGregor is sponsoring the entire Irish youth team to participate in the 2021 IMMAF Youth MMA Championships, it was revealed at the weekend.
McGregor commented: “Wishing the Irish squad the very best of luck in their quest at the world championships this year! From the fighters to the coaches, I know the future of our fighting nation is in excellent hands. Fight with the pride of the Emerald Isle, team! We are all with you. Good luck!”
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s 2021 Youth MMA Championships for twelve to eighteen-year-olds is to take place in Sofia, Bulgaria at the EFE Marinela from 29 July – 1 August. Conor is paying the entry fees and for the accommodation and flights of 27 youths and 20 coaches so that they can take part.
At the last world championships tournament in 2019, the Irish youth team ranked 6th place in the medals table with 9 medals, out of a pool of 269 participants from 26 countries and a top 10 dominated largely by state sponsored national teams. The USA placed number 1.
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said:
“It’s fantastic for all the athletes, coaches and the Irish MMA community that Conor has shown his passion for the sport MMA in this way and is helping pave the way for the next ‘Conor’. We at IMMAF are appreciative of Conor’s support of grassroots athlete development and his demonstration of support for John Kavanagh’s work in the MMA community as President of the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association. The value of this endorsement extends beyond the money in terms of the focus and sense of purpose it gives to the team. This is what IMMAF is all about, working in communities to deliver a value from MMA for social good.”
Supporters will be able to watch the full three days of the youth competition, streamed live for the first time from 30 July – 1 August. Viewing information is yet to be announced.
ABOUT YOUTH COMPETITION RULES
IMMAF Youth MMA rule sets disallow strikes head strikes for under 18s and are modified from the IMMAF Amateur MMA Rules with regards to the physiological development of the following three age categories, as advised by IMMAF’s expert medical, coaching and regulatory committees:
• IMMAF Youth A 16-17s (U18)
• IMMAF Youth B 14-15s (U16)
• IMMAF Youth C 12-13s (U14)
IMMAF’s second instalment of its under -18s tournament will take place without an audience in order to create a safe environment for international participants with respect to the global pandemic. All participants are to be tested for COVID-19 on arrival on 28 July before entering the competition ‘bubble’.