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Meath MMA event cancelled following Shane Ross's statement over safety concerns

Ross had expressed concern that the event is being held without a number of safety precautions.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews

Updated Sep 29th 2018, 6:07 PM

AN MMA EVENT has been cancelled at the Claremont Stadium in Meath after Minister for Sport Shane Ross said he was concerned for the safety of the fighters due to take part in it.

The event was scheduled to take place in Trim GAA club, but this was then changed to the Claremont Stadium. It is being run by UK promoter Battle Arena and is described as “Europes [sic] leading mma show for amateur fighters” featuring “the worlds [sic] top fighters”.

However, Ross had expressed concerns that the event could be the first to be held in Ireland without a number of safety precautions since the passing of Joao Carvalho.

Tonight, RTÉ reports that the board of Claremont Stadium met and decided it could not host the event. It says that the fighters have gone to a local MMA club instead.

In the last few minutes, Battle Arena shared a photograph of a crowd gathered, with the statement: “The show must go on. ‘Get knocked down 7 times get up 8′”. It did not state where the photo was taken.

Joao Carvalho

Joao Carvalho (28) died in hospital two days after he received 41 blows to the head during a Total Extreme Fighting contest at Dublin’s National Boxing Stadium on 9 April 2016.

An inquest into his death heard from a neurosurgeon who raised concerns over the presence of suitably qualified medical personnel at the event.

The Irish MMA community subsequently agreed to establish an appropriate governing body for MMA in Ireland, which could ultimately be recognised by Sport Ireland.

Among the proposals touted for regulating the sport were the creation of a database of participants’ medical status, the implementation of medically supervised suspensions, and verifiable processes for taking medical examinations and confirming their results.


Speaking ahead of tonight’s promotion, Ross had said that fights organisers should take necessary safety precautions to provide appropriate medical services to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants.

“It has been suggested to me that this may be the first MMA event to be held in Ireland without all of these important minimum safety precautions since the tragic passing of Joao Carvalho, almost 2 and a half years ago,” he said.

“I find it deeply troubling that any event promoter could contemplate running an event which would expose the participants to an unacceptable level of risk and injury.

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“While I don’t have the authority to stop this event I do ask the event promoters to consider cancelling it if they cannot implement these basic precautions in full.”

Ross also called on insurance companies and the owners of premises that host MMA events to ensure that promoters take precautions to minimise injuries and prevent fatalities.

In a statement, the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association said that it did not endorse or sanction the Battle Arena event in Trim, adding that none of its athletes or associated clubs were participating.

The group added: “IMMAA has had no formal contact with the promoters of this event and have no knowledge of the standards, rules or procedures pertaining to same.”

TheJournal.ie has contacted a spokesman for Battle Arena for comment, but no response was received by the time of publication.

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