Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has moved a step closer to having a national governing body.
The outgoing minister of state for tourism and sport, Michael Ring, has met with representatives of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and its affiliated body in Ireland, the Irish Amateur Pankration Association.
They reportedly examined appropriate measures to safeguard the health of participants in MMA events.
The meeting followed the death of Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho at an event in Dublin last month.
Currently, MMA in Ireland does not receive government funding, as it is not recognised by Sport Ireland.
The MMA representatives made it clear at the meeting they would welcome a formal process from which a reputable national governing body for the sport in Ireland would emerge.
The national governing body, like all other national governing body that are recognised by Sport Ireland, would be responsible for setting and overseeing appropriate standards, including standards relating to safety and governance.
Sport Ireland John Treacy also attended the meeting, where he outlined the rigorous recognition process required to be completed by national governing bodies and advised the MMA stakeholders that any application from them would require a significant focus on safety standards. A further meeting of the main MMA stakeholders in Ireland has been scheduled for May 17.
Mr Ring said appropriate safety standards in the sport “cannot come soon enough” and further stated lessons had to be learned from the death of Mr Carvalho.
“I welcome the acknowledgment on the part of MMA event organisers that safety standards at their events in Ireland are in urgent need of very significant improvement,” he said.
“I also welcome their intention to engage in Sport Ireland’s rigorous process of [national governing body] recognition.
“While the untimely death of Joao Carvalho was a terrible tragedy, I hope that his passing would lead to some good and that lessons would be learned that would ensure that safety standards within MMA are improved to an acceptable level.”
Meanwhile, it has been reported that Irish MMA sensation Conor McGregor will switch codes to fight retired boxer Floyd Mayweather in a megafight in Las Vegas this summer.
McGregor was to headline UFC 200 in the same city in July but was pulled from the card by UFC boss Dana White after a public spat between the pair over the Dubliner’s media obligations.
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