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A regulatory body for MMA in Ireland now looks very much on the cards

Sports minister Michael Ring says a governing body for the sport would be “welcomed” by MMA itself.

McGregor-Retirement Tweet Mixed Martial Arts Source: AP/Press Association Images

THE ESTABLISHMENT OF a licensed regulatory body for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Ireland is under discussion between the government and representatives of the sport.

Minister Michael Ring has today said that work is ‘progressing’ on the regulation of the sometimes-controversial sport here, and that the establishment of a governing body here would be “welcomed” from within the sport itself.

The news comes in the fallout from the death of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho following an event in Dublin last month.

Minister Ring has in the past been vocal in his criticism of MMA, most particularly in the aftermath of Carvalho’s death.

8/10/2015 Sports Capital Programmes Michael Ring Source: Leah Farrell

A meeting took place between the ministry and representatives of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) on 27 April. Top of the agenda at that meeting was a meeting of minds regarding “appropriate measures” to safeguard the health of participants in MMA events.

Currently MMA is not officially recognised by national body Sport Ireland. Assuming a National Governing Body (NGB) were established for the sport such recognition would be forthcoming.

“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,” Ring said today in a statement.

I also welcome their intention to engage in Sport Ireland’s rigorous process of NGB recognition. The introduction of appropriate safety standards cannot come soon enough.
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.

The logistics of setting up such a body would be left to MMA stakeholders within Ireland.

A meeting of those stakeholders is now scheduled for 17 May, at which the establishment of an NGB will be discussed.

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