Mixed martial arts is set to take a foothold in the Cayman Islands with the sensational news that the recently formed World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts organisation has appointed Bob Daigle as their Director to the Caribbean.
Daigle is a former world karate champion who recently launched the Cayman Islands Kickboxing Academy. He will manage World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts Caribbean operations out of offices here.
His duties include appointing World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts directors for the 28 island nations that make up the Caribbean, helping develop their national World Cup teams, preparing them for competition and directing the organisation’s events within the different Caribbean countries.
The organisation’s Commissioner Dan Severn said: “I met Bob at the inaugural World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts event on 15 September where we had a chance to chat and I was thoroughly impressed with his work ethic and his vision for growing the nation versus nation concept.
“Even more impressive was Bob’s extensive background in the martial arts itself, as our values of honour, respect and discipline are already well ingrained in his character. I personally look forward to working with him and all the nations of the Caribbean.”
Daigle has over three decades of experience in martial arts. In 1997 he was awarded the KRANE world title by winning almost every tournament on the circuit that year, being crowned with the title when he took first place in Caracas, Venezuela.
Daigle’s enthusiasm and passion for the sport’s growth continues to drive him and he believes that the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts will not only be an exciting competition for fans, but will also help to change young people’s lives and give them the direction that comes with its values.
The World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts is an international team orientated mixed martial arts organisation that produces nation versus nation mixed martial art competition, along with individual title matches.
The World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts holds every four years MMA’s own World Cup Championships, the highest honour in team sports. An invitation to this prestigious event is based on national teams who are successful in qualifying for the honour.
National teams qualify by accumulating enough points in international World Cup competition over a four year cycle as they face other national teams.
In addition to producing events the organisation sets itself apart from many others. It also sanctions events and helps assist qualified independent promoters to help the sport grow.
The World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts also offers exclusive WCMMA franchises to competing nations and assists franchises through licensing, television, merchandising and talent acquisition.
The organisation is headquartered in Rome, Italy and has offices in Boca Raton, Florida, New York and now the Cayman Islands.
An ecstatic Daigle said: “It’s an honour to be appointed the Director of the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts for the Caribbean. What appeals to me the most is the core values of this organisation and their mantra of honour, respect and discipline.
“If we instil these values in our youth we are helping to develop the future leaders in our countries. The nation versus nation concept is extremely exciting to me and modelled after the soccer World Cup. There is no question that the biggest sporting event is the football World Cup. The WCMMA uses the same model in Mixed Martial Arts.
“I am very excited to bring this nation versus nation team concept to the Caribbean. Each Caribbean country will assemble a five person team and compete internationally with the goal of earning enough points to qualify for the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts finals to be held in Rome, Italy in 2017.
“It is exciting when an individual represents not just their country but when a team represents their country as they do in the football World Cup and the whole country takes notice. Can you imagine the national pride when the World Cup teams in each Caribbean country competes on the world stage?
“I remember back in 1998 when we assembled a national team to compete against an all-star team from Jamaica in sport karate with five in each team. The national pride displayed that day by the spectators who watched Cayman come from behind to defeat Jamaica was a sight to behold.
“Can you imagine a five person team from the Cayman Islands competing in mixed martial arts? I can’t wait to see it. Yes, I am very excited about my appointment.”
Daigle initially intends to select directors in each Caribbean country and help them develop their national teams.
“We will help set up workshops in each Caribbean country so that the fighters will have the skills to compete on the world stage. The World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts will send their best MMA trainers to the Caribbean.
“We are currently working on the first nation versus nation team competition in the Caribbean and our initial goals for Cayman are to identify athletes who have the desire to train and compete for their country.
“The number one thing we look for in our fighters is athleticism. We are also looking for athletes that have discipline, honour and respect. If they have these qualities they will go a long way in the sport.
“I also want to secure funding for the national team. Anyone is allowed to compete for a spot on the team. It will not consist of one club, it is open to all.
“I have been speaking to a number of business leaders here and their response has been enthusiastic. They are excited about getting our youth involved in athletics and extremely pleased to hear about the core values our programme will instil.”
Daigle has already spoken to a number of martial arts students and instructors around the Islands and they are interested in hearing more about the World Cup and the national team planned.
“The response from around the Caribbean has been incredible. We are working closely with the Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. We plan to make the announcement of who the directors will be for those countries.
“I have had extensive talks with Jason Fraser in Trinidad and Tobago. He brings a wealth of experience and strong ties with 14 other Caribbean countries in that region of the Caribbean.
“He is extremely excited about the World Cup and we look forward to working with him and his group. We also have a strong relationship with Dr. Kent Basard of the Bahamas and Slavic Moskalev of Jamaica.
“My goal is to identify all 28 directors by the end of this year and 2013 will be when the WCMMA team competition will begin in the Caribbean.”
Daigle thinks the whole WCMMA tournament can become enormous. “Football and martial arts have something in common in that they are practiced in every country in the world. There are around 200 countries in the world.
“Mixed martial arts is without doubt the fastest growing sport in the world. I feel that the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts is the way of the sport’s future.
“They have an amateur division, a pro division and a nation vs nation team fighting division. What more can you ask for? This year is a branding year for the WCMMA and we expect the fireworks to start in 2013.” An event is already planned in Asia this winter. “I had a chance to see the Chinese fighters at the inaugural World Cup Event at Foxwoods Casino at the MGM Grand hotel in Connecticut last month and was thoroughly impressed with their fighting skills. The future is bright for the sport all over the world.
“I would like to say a special thanks to Winners Circle Sports. They sponsored my entire trip to the World Cup last month and they are proud that the headquarters for the World Cup of Mixed Martial Arts for the Caribbean are located in the Cayman Islands.”
David and Christopher Goddard are co-owners of Winners Circle Sports. Christopher said: “We’re really excited to see martial arts growing again in the Cayman Islands. Both of us have been involved, especially David who is a black belt. I got a purple belt – which is close to black!
“We both know the benefits in terms of discipline, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and also the exposure that it brings from international travel and respecting your elders and so on. “We think it will be of great benefit to people of the Cayman Islands as well as the parents and the school system. It’s a great after school activity and we want to support and promote it.”
Christopher said: “We sponsored Bob’s trip because we realised he was pretty much being a pioneer for Cayman. He has a strong reputation here as a martial artist and what he’s doing is pushing the administration part of it and getting Cayman on the map in martial arts.
“Not just taekwondo, kenpo or anything, this is the entire spectrum of martial arts, including boxing, kickboxing and others.”
David got to first degree level in taekwondo. He said: “It’s really exciting that Bob is bringing energy back to the Caribbean and getting big exposure for Cayman.
“We intend to carry the full line of MMA equipment at Winners Circle Sports, including the mouth guard, pads… pretty much everything they need to train with.”
David might even make a comeback himself.
“It’s a great opportunity. As Chris says, the self-control, discipline and mental focus it brings is great. If we instil that in the youth from now, it helps them for life.”
For more information, contact Bob Daigle at [email protected] or call 925-6946