On Thursday, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation announced they have appointed Kerrith Brown as their new President. This comes after unanimous board vote in Berlin on June 20.

As a result, Brown has also resigned as Chairman of the British Judo Association due to ideological differences with the leadership of the European Judo Union and the International Judo Federation and to ensure the best interests of British Judo.

Under Brown’s leadership since 2012, British Judo went from strength to strength, most markedly opening the doors of its Centre of Excellence at the University of Wolverhampton (UK) in 2013. The centre heralded the launch of a new performance programme for British athletes. Brown has also overseen a transformation in the governance of the BJA. Brown is himself a former elite level judoka, at his peak earning bronze for Great Britain at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. Since his retirement from competition, he has pursued a successful career in business, as owner, manager and consultant.

This year, the British Judo Association partnered with the UFC for the scheduled European Judo Championships in Glasgow, for which the BJA had won the rights to host. The partnership proved controversial in the European judo world. It was cited by the EJU as sufficient reason to strip the rights from the BJA just 8 weeks out from the event and to move it from Glasgow to Baku. This was in spite of the UFC preventatively withdrawing its sponsorship. According to official press release, “The BJA had entered into a sponsorship agreement which did not meet the EJU values.”

Under Brown, the BJA has significantly lent professional sports consultancy and support to the development of the United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UKMMAF), to enable its application for official recognition by Sport England. It was through this relationship that Brown was recommended for and voted to a position on the IMMAF Board in October 2014. Brown has featured notably in the successes of IMMAF since his involvement.

When President Bertrand Amoussou recently elected to step down from presidency due to family and work commitments, Vice-president George Sallfeldt proposed Kerrith Brown as his replacement and garnered undisputed affirmation from the board.

New IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown released the following statement regarding his new position:

“I do not feel the sports values that I deeply believe in are currently represented by the EJU or the IJF. It has reached a point where my position as Chairman of the BJA has become untenable, and I do not wish to create further conflict for British Judo.

“I am passionate about martial arts and I am a fan of MMA, which has a legitimate place in the martial arts family. MMA also provides the opportunity of a professional pathway for amateur sports athletes as has been most iconically demonstrated by judoka Ronda Rousey, former Olympic bronze medalist. A similar path is available in boxing and I would have welcomed such a career pathway myself as an Olympian. Conversely Judo is just one aspect of an MMA match and provides a fantastic foundation for the sport. Through the UFC, MMA has attracted an unrivalled fan base to martial arts. I feel sorry that politics has driven a wedge between these two sports in Europe, when they have so much in common, so many shared values and so much to offer each other.

“I would like to make it very clear that I do not support Marius Vizer’s opinions cited at the Sochi Convention regarding the International Olympic Committee. IMMAF fully supports the work of the IOC and Olympic values.

“As IMMAF President I hope to bring my sports administration and Olympic sport experience to bear on the obstacles that MMA faces. I am also looking forward to listening and learning from the MMA community and working hard to maintain the integrity that has made MMA so popular and trusted.”

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.