Cape Town - The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation confirmed that team Mexico and team Oceania will replace Russia and Ukraine at this year’s MMA Super Cup.
This comes after IMMAF’s decision to join most sport regulatory bodies in standing against Russia by suspending the nation following president Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
Due to Russia’a conflict within Ukraine, the country’s amateur MMA team has been forced to withdraw from the first-ever Mixed Martial Arts Super Cup which forms part of the Brave International Combat Week in Bahrain next week.
As per IMMAF, team Mexico (FAMM) returned to international competition at the 2021 World Championships for the first time since 2019. Team Mexico came away with a silver medal and a bronze medal earned by Valeria Gomez and Diego Torres respectively. The team also secured a spot just outside the top ten ranked countries.
Team Oceania - who earned a well-deserved fifth and sixth ranking (New Zealand and Australia, respectively) after last year’s World Championships in Abu Dhabi - will get to showcase their skills yet again. Team Oceania won gold, silver and bronze medals at the recent IMMAF World Championships despite a prolonged period of regional restrictions on sport and travel which led to uncertainty leading up to the Worlds.
The region’s most notable amateur export is multiple-time IMMAF medallist Michelle Montague who has now signed with the Professional Fighters League.
Stand-outs set for the MMA Super Cup include 2019 Oceania gold medallist Prashanth Guda (NZ), 2020 Oceania bronze medallist Auryn Parmley (AUS), and 2020 Oceania gold medallist Troy Fumo.
“We are grateful to federations FAMM, NZMMAF and IMMAFA for agreeing to organize teams at short notice. All three nations have proved their credibility in IMMAF competitions, but also have strong foundations through their developed clubs’ membership, national competition circuits and progression schemes that provide a deep pool of talent. Both athletes and coaches are to be commended for rising to the challenge at extremely short notice, showing true fighter-spirit. Teams Mexico and Oceania present red herrings in the tournament, which will keep everyone on their toes,” says IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said.
Both Russia and Belarus have been suspended from participating in all IMMAF Championships for the foreseeable future. The suspension also prevents the organization of IMMAF events in Russia or Belarus.
Earlier this week, global footballing body, FIFA also banned Russian clubs and their national teams from taking part in any FIFA and UEFA competition until further notice.
The decision sees Russia booted out of the World Cup qualification.
Next week’s Super Cup - which will see eight countries and teams (now including Bahrain, Kazakhstan, Ireland, Tajikistan, Mexico, Team Oceania and two wildcards in the form of the Balkan Champions and the Arab Champions) compete for the title of the best MMA nation in the world.
The winning federation will receive a whopping R1 551 990. The runner-ups will take home R1 164 351, while third place winners grab a handsome R766 234. The prize money will be directed to the investment of the respective national federations. The MMA Super Cup will take place between March 8-12 at Khalifa Sports City in the Kingdom of Bahrain. For more details, stay tuned to the BraveCF social media pages.
According to an update from Reuters via the United Nations two days ago, at least 136 civilians - including 13 children - have been killed while 400 individuals were injured since Russia invaded Ukraine last week.