The chief executive of the UFC has said he would “love” to meet the Irish authorities so that mixed martial arts (MMA) can become fully regulated.
Speaking in New York, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said the sport’s premier organisation had always “run towards” regulation and were happy to meet the Irish authorities to discuss standards and guidelines.
“It’s kind of been our mantra, we run towards regulation. We would love to be able to work with the authorities in Ireland so that, not just our events, but all of the events are properly regulated.”
“I don’t know exactly what happened in that event [Total Extreme Fighting], obviously, everybody is still trying to figure that out , but that’s the reason we want regulations so that there are standards that are the same everywhere and we would certainly think that that would be a good idea,”he said.
His comments come in the wake of the death of Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho following an event in Dublin last weekend. He died late on Monday night after being in a critical condition for 48 hours at Beaumont Hospital.
The IMMAF yesterday urged the Governments to support the Irish Amateur Pankration Association and make “a sincere commitment” to putting structures in place that create a consistent and safe environment for all. It said MMA bouts should be regulated by law as they are in the US and Sweden.
Earlier this week, Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy said MMA has “no place” in Ireland unless it implements rules planned by his organisation.
“If we bring forth guidelines and they’re not followed, well I don’t think there’s any place for it in Ireland. It’s as simple as that,” he said.
The sport currently does not receive any government funding as it is not recognised by Sport Ireland. It is overseen by the Irish Amateur Pankration Association, which is recognised as the governing body for MMA in Ireland by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.
Mr Treacy also warned organisers and promoters of MMA to think “very carefully” before putting on any more events in Ireland.
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