Two time IMMAF World Champion Will Starks. Images Copyright Ray Kasprowicz/IMMAF.

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) have announced their 2016 European Open Championships will take place in the Czech Republic city of Prague in November.

The event – which takes place at the Arena of Sparta from 22-26 November – will be run in accordance with local governing body, Czech Mixed Martial Arts Association (MMAA) who are recognised by the Czech government under Alliance of Czech Sports Association. The body which was established in 2012, also work with the Czech Anti-doping Committee.

The association also has a partnership with FTVS Charles University, for whom it provides combat education and training consultancy under the Czech University Sports Association. The collaboration has seen the development of a university masters degree in MMA coaching, which sits at the pinnacle of MMAA’s MMA education system.

The 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships is open to Amateur MMA competitors from all member countries and is not just exclusive to European members.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown gave a statement on the event and indicated that the 2016 European Championships will once again set a new milestone for the growing international amateur body.

“The 2016 IMMAF World Championships in Las Vegas set a new benchmark in terms of participation, with 210 athletes competing,” commented Brown. “We have a very active European membership and expect the 2016 European Open Championships to match, if not surpass, the Worlds in numbers. As our second European Championship, we have the added excitement of watching 2015 medallists defend their titles.

“Over the course of the 2016 Olympics there has been some discussion in the media about what structure MMA would hypothetically take in future Olympics: IMMAF has year on year proven its nation vs nation, Amateur MMA tournament format to be a success and to provide a compelling narrative over multiple days of competition.

“Under IMMAF rules, with anti-doping and all medical process in place, the tournaments are safe for athletes. Further to that the tournaments provide a practice ground for tomorrow’s professional stars: With athletes choosing to remain longer in the Amateur ranks to hone their skills, the level rises at each event. This not only lends to make IMMAF Amateur tournaments exciting spectator events, but also bodes well for the professional ranks in future years.

“The 2016 European Open Championships will demonstrate once again just how intense and how entertaining world class Amateur MMA can be.”

Before the Europeans, the body will be hosting the All Africa Open Championships from Johannesburg, South Africa between 29 August and 4 September.