UFC welcomes moves to regulate Irish MMA and looks forward to working with John Kavanagh

The promotion says it "runs towards regulation" and wants to work with politicians and sport ministries across Europe

UFC welcomes moves to regulate Irish MMA and looks forward to working with John Kavanagh

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

The UFC has welcomed moves to regulate mixed martial arts (MMA) in Ireland in the wake of the death of 28-year-old Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho following a fight at an event in Dublin during April.

"We were delighted to see what came out of the tragedy that occurred in Ireland with the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) being recognised, that is a great step and something that we fully support and we’ll do everything that we can to help push that through in any market where people want our help," James Elliott, the UFC's Vice-President and General Manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa told Newstalk.

The IAPA has since been restructured and renamed the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA) - in late-April its president John Kavanagh confirmed that the association held "positive" and "meaningful" talks with Government officials with regards to regulating the sport.

"We work with the people who we believe stand the best chance of looking after the sport and safeguarding the sport in each region, so we’ll certainly be looking to work with John Kavanagh, we’ve got a good relationship with him - they've worked with us on events before," Mr Elliott added.

The IAPA shadow-sanctioned the last UFC event in Ireland.

A lack of formal regulations for MMA is an ongoing issue for the UFC in a number of European countries, in these regions the organisation operates under the rules of the Nevada Athletic Commission.

"We run towards regulation, and it’s something that we support everywhere that anyone is willing to help us," the UFC told Newstalk, adding that it welcomes the involvement of local politicians and sporting bodies.