Why This MMA Federation Launched an Online TV Network
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is offering a nod to the sport’s most passionate fans with its new offering, but it also has a larger goal in mind.
Mixed martial arts is a big deal among its fans—MMA fans who are into it are really into it—but it still carries a bit of a niche status, especially at the lower amateur levels.
But the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, which governs the sport at the amateur level, wants to fix that. Recently, the trade group announced that it would launch an over-the-top video platform for airing live MMA tournaments online, as well as a place to watch archived MMA content. Launched in a partnership with the sports data firm Sportradar, the group’s new IMMAF.TV platform gives amateur MMA fans a way to watch the sport without keeping their fingers crossed that it might show up on some obscure sports channel.
But beyond that, the federation is hoping to make the case that MMA is an Olympic-worthy sport. In a news release, IMMAF President Kerrith Brown stated that beyond the ability “to connect in real time with MMA fans worldwide,” the platform would underline the quality of the matches.
“Finally, we can show the world that our elite, amateur MMA tournaments are worthy of the Olympic program,” Brown said in the release. “MMA fans will be impressed at the skill level of the new generation of athletes coming up through IMMAF, set to be the stars of tomorrow.”
The platform, which is offering introductory prices of €4.99 ($5.83) for a single tournament or €12.99 ($15.17) for a season-long subscription, will showcase tournaments from around the world, along with the federation’s world championships. Additionally, there will be a significant amount of free-to-air content, including historic matches and two original series that highlight the federation’s messaging: “IMMAF Explained,” which aims to make the case for Olympic inclusion along with the group’s larger vision, and “IMMAF in Context,” in which a referee explains issues related to the rules of the sport.
The move by the organization comes a few months after it announced it would join forces with the World Mixed Martial Arts Association, a competing group, as part of the effort to add MMA to the Olympics. The partnership allows the groups to submit a single governance application, required as part of the Olympic application process.