With its status as the largest international sanctioning body in the world, with over 80 member countries, over 50 sanctioned events in the US each year, and over 500 sanctioned events worldwide, the WKA (World Kickboxing Association) is pleased to bring amateur MMA to the world stage! Sanctioning MMA in the US since 2004, WKA USA Representative Brian Crenshaw has helped amateur MMA grow rapidly in the US through WKA sanctioned shows and the annual WKA North American Combat Sports Championships, which first included MMA as a division in 2006. Now amateur MMA has made yet another breakthrough in that it will be included as a division in the WKA World Championships this year in October.
WKA USA is pleased to announce that the US Team is gearing up and ready to compete against world-class competitors from around the world. We would like to congratulate members of the team who are training hard to compete in the disciplines that the WKA has been sanctioning since the 1970s--Muay Thai, K-1, Kickboxing, Full Contact, and Sanshou:
- Steven Dang (Evolve Academy, MD)
- Lindsay Scheer (Team Haycraft, KY)
- Chris Kwiatkowski (Church Street Boxing Gym, NY)
- Aisha Thomas (Lloyd Irvin, MD)
- Lindsey MacMhaolain (Team Combat, VA)
- Scott Sawade (Team Haycraft, KY
We would also like to make special mention of those team members who will be bringing their best MMA game to this huge world tournament:
- Michael Goodman (Team Combat, VA)
- Eric Heegaard (Shidokan Atlanta, GA)
- Jeff Blachly (Lloyd Irvin, MD)
- Gary LaBreck (Shotokan Academy & Evolve, MA)
- Chris Lujan (Evolve Academy, MD)
Former WKA champions have gone on to the big leagues in MMA. WKA champ Maurice Smith, for instance, became the UFC Heavyweight Champion, defeating Mark Coleman in UFC 14. He then went on to defend his title against Tank Abbott before finally losing to Randy Couture. A WKA champion trained by one of WKA's best known champs Rob Kayman, Brandon Vera of the UFC fought in WKA Worlds in Italy in 2002. Perhaps one day WKA Team members going to Spain this year will fight their way to the top and go on to contend among the ranks of top MMA fighters in events like the UFC, WEC, and Bellator.
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