GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt praised organisers of last year's Asian Championships and European Championships in his New Year message ©GAMMA

Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) President Alexander Engelhardt has hailed the resilience of organisers for overcoming uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 crisis to stage events in 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause disruption to the sporting world with the GAMMA notably forced to postpone the World Championships in November because of restrictions imposed in Germany.

However, the GAMMA still managed to hold events in 2021 with Kyrgyzstan playing host to the Asian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Championships in August before Ukraine staged the European Championships in November.

In his New Year message, Engelhardt reflected on the challenges posed by COVID-19 over the past 12 months and praised Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine for delivering the two major tournaments.

"We continue to follow our mission to make mixed martial arts accessible for all according to the values that underpin all of our work," said Engelhardt.

"COVID-19 has caused challenges for everyone but the commitment of our members to continue to offer opportunities for our athletes and to work with one another is truly commendable and shows how much of a family we really are.

"A special thank you goes out to our event organisers.

"They have showed resilience in management of the uncertainties of delivering our events in 2021.

"The Asian Championships in Kyrgyzstan and the European Championships in Kyiv were fantastic competitions that showcased the wide-reaching talents of our athletes.

"The events provide a taste of better things to come at the World Championships that will take place in a couple of months.

"Our priority is to offer the best experience and services for our athletes and our National Federations and we are constantly striving to make improvements."

Engelhardt also highlighted the GAMMA’s partnership with the International Testing Agency as well as the introduction of hydrated weight testing and the launch of striking MMA as a new competition style.

"From a federation perspective we are dedicating resources to improve our governance and to make investments where we can have a significant impact on our visibility and credibility," added Engelhardt.

"We have an unwavering commitment at GAMMA to ensure that MMA is recognised by the global sports community for its values and the opportunity that it creates to make the sport accessible with clear pathways for athletes to progress.

"Through additional partnership in the future, with continental event organisers, the media and other stakeholders we are continuing to widen our offering and grow the GAMMA global footprint and I look forward to announcing some of these developments later this year."