Belfast City Council Backs Youth MMA Centre of Excellence

A unique and groundbreaking project for the world of MMA is nearing its final developmental stages in Northern Ireland. The project will see an MMA Centre of Excellence established in one of the most deprived areas in the country as part of a wider community development plan under Belfast City Council: The centre is to be built in Belfast, in a former library in St. Thomas’ secondary school on Whiterock Road.

The purpose of the MMA Centre of Excellence is not only to produce champions within the sport, but also to provide a conduit for the development of youth potential in all aspects of participants’ lives. The project is modelled on Ulster’s existing Amateur MMA club, The ZKJ Dojo, which has established a blueprint for best practice under coach Danny Corr. This work has been supported and praised by Northern Ireland’s Office of First and Deputy First Ministers (OFMDFM) ‘Together Building a United Community’ programme.

The MMA Centre of Excellence project is to be led by Danny Corr, who is also chairman of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association (UAMMAA), Northern Ireland’s governing body for the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA), under the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). The UAMMAA has sent a national team to compete in IMMAF international championship events for the past two years with Leah McCourt winning gold and Ross McCorriston silver in November’s IMMAF European Open, and Carl McNally earning bronze in the 2015 IMMAF World Championships.

Corr, who was recently celebrated in the BBC’s Get Inspired campaign, commented:

“It has been a long road: The project was initiated almost two years ago but is now coming to fruition. It is amazing to be developing such a positive project alongside the local council. My hope is for this to become a blueprint for other councils and governments as a positive utilization of our sport and its many social benefits.”

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