Irish MMA bodies to meet later this month as first step towards recognition

The meeting will take place with a view to creating a National Governing Body

mma, sport, ufc, national governing body, michael ring, sport minister

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Gary Carr

The acting Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring has announced that a meeting will take place later this month on May 17th between the main Irish MMA stakeholders.

The meeting is taking place with a view "to discuss the establishment of a National Governing Body for MMA in Ireland which would enter into the Sport Ireland NGB recognition process", according to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Minister Ring met with representatives of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and its affiliated body in Ireland, the Irish Amateur Pankration Association last month. The meeting was with a view to understanding the IMMAF’s perspectives on the issues that the death of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho raised.

The main topic of conversation centered around safety precautions for fighters. According the the Minister: "the MMA representatives made it clear at the meeting [...] that they would welcome a formal process from which a reputable National Governing Body (NGB) for MMA in Ireland would emerge." 

Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy was also at the meeting and outlined the a focus on safety standards and governance was crucial to mixed martial arts getting official recognition in Ireland.

The Mayo-based Minister said he hope the passing of Mr Carvalho in Dublin last month will lead to a change in safety standards in Ireland. "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. The introduction of appropriate safety standards cannot come soon enough and I hope that all participants in MMA events, whether amateur or professional, youth or adult, would be protected by the introduction of those standards."

Only last month of Off the Ball, Minister Ring admitted the the sport may not be able to be regulated.