A new rule prevents finals featuring two team-mates at the IMMAF World Championships ©IMMAF

International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) President Kerrith Brown is pleased with a new rule that prevents athletes from the same country competing against each other in a final at the World Championships here.

The rule was brought in after incidents where fighters forfeited their finals to hand victory to their team mates by default.

At the 2019 World Championships in Bahrain, three senior finals ended in this fashion.

Two of the fights involved were between a pair of Bahrain athletes while the other featured two Russians.

At last night's junior finals, all 16 of the scheduled bouts went ahead.

However, there was a forfeiture in the senior semi-finals as Bahrain's Fabiola Silva forfeited against team-mate Aieza Ramos Bertolso in the women's strawweight.

IMMAF, which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this year, will likely bring in a rule where only one athlete per nation can compete in a weight division once the federation becomes more established.

"Because we're a new sport we're still developing our event structure," Brown told insidethegames.

"We're not where wrestling, judo and boxing are.

"They've had over 70, 80 years to work that out, we're still working out how to manage the brackets and make sure it's a fair process.

Every final at the IMMAF World Championships must now feature two nationalities ©Getty Images
Every final at the IMMAF World Championships must now feature two nationalities ©Getty Images

"Within the top seeds we don't want the nations to meet in the final because they are just not turning up or they are pulling out and it's not good for live TV.

"Sometimes they are protecting their amateur status, it's something we're trying not to promote. 

"If one of them says they are injured and pulls out it doesn't look good."

IMMAF's continental events have been open to athletes from outside of the region but that could also change.

"We're coming from an old generation of people saying 'I've got to keep my win rate, 10-0, 20-0' which we don't believe in," said Brown. 

"It's about amateur and developing. 

"It's not about protecting your win rate. 

"It's about them changing the mentality, the federations are happy with that as well."