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    The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is set to host its first in a series of cross-sport Thought Leadership panel discussions with “Athlete Weight Management in Sport” on 19 April 2021 from 17:00hrs to 18:15 hrs UTC, online.

    The panel line-up includes:

    Paula Radcliffe, MBE, British Olympian, long-distance runner; previous holder of the Women's World Marathon Record.
    Clint Wattenberg, Director of Nutrition at the UFC Performance Institute.
    Dr. Mike Loosemore, Commonwealth Games Chief Medical Officer, Team England boxing doctor, former AIBA Medical Commission member, Safe MMA.
    Dr. Randa Basharon, IMMAF Medical Commission; ringside physician (Nevada State Athletic Commission, USA Boxing, IMMAF and the US National Muay Thai Association; American Association of Professional Ringside Physicians member).

    The discussion will be hosted and moderated by Anti-doping and Integrity expert, Michele Verroken of Sporting Integrity, who serves as IMMAF’s Anti-doping advisor.

    The event will feature a closing talk by IMMAF President and judo Olympian Kerrith Brown, addressing his own historic experiences with weight cutting as an elite athlete, and the opportunity for questions and answers with the panel.

    Weight-cutting is deemed the biggest risk to athlete health and safety in mixed martial arts but is not an issue distinct to MMA, impacting a range of mainstream sports. The aim of the panel discussion is to share experiences and learnings from across sport to promote awareness and provide recommendations for safe and effective weight management that can be practically applied by athletes, coaches and administrators.

    “Athlete Weight Management in Sport” is open to the public and takes place as part of IMMAF’s 2021 Technical Seminar Week (19 to 23 April). Information about how to register will be published shortly.

    Paula Radcliffe said: “Athlete welfare should be a priority across all sports so I’m delighted to support IMMAF as it shines a spotlight on the issue of weight management. My position is that athletes can compete at a healthy, natural weight and still be world class champions. By opening up the debate we can change any culture that endorses abnormal weight management.”

    Director of Nutrition at the UFC Performance Institute Chris Wattenberg said:
    “Managing body weight is endemic to weight class sports such as mixed martial arts and is entangled into the cultural identity of the sport. While there are many pitfalls, weight making can be done strategically to support both athlete performance and health but requires a seismic cultural shift in priorities away from the ‘if I can make it, then I should cut it’ mindset that is common in the sport.”

    IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “I am proud to see IMMAF’s Thought Leadership Series launch with this topic, which is so embedded in sport, including MMA. Sports’ governing bodies have a duty of care to address the risks to athlete safety posed by bad practices in weight management, and education is absolutely key to this.”

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