Earlier today, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross criticized the head of the Irish MMA scene for “deliberately dragging their feet” with regards to establishing a safety standard.
His remarks came following the inquest into the death of Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho, who passed away after 41 blows to the head at the National Boxing Stadium, Dublin in April 2016.
The inquest heard how the 28-year-old was brought to hospital on the floor of an ambulance due to the absence of a stretcher. Two days after the fight, Carvalho died.
Ross released a statement questioning the countries 'MMA leaders.'
It appears to me that MMA leaders here in Ireland are deliberately dragging their feet on the establishment of appropriate governance and safety standards.
Today I call on the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA) to do the right thing – take the steps that are required to safeguard your fighters and prevent needless injury and loss of life.
Sport Ireland stands ready to help but can only help if you are willing to ask, and if you are willing to do the right thing.
IMMAA president John Kavanagh has since responded to these claims. Kavanagh refuted these claims in a lengthy statement.
It is therefore in the public's interest that IMMAA refutes this accusation openly. Unfortunately, the Minister's remarks can only be the result of misinformation.
Indeed, IMMAA proactively fulfils its duties as the national governing body for Irish MMA despite lack of official recognition, the main barrier to recognition being administrative.
He also highlighted MMA's safety protocol within Ireland.
Since the tragic passing of Joao Carvalho, every MMA promoter in Ireland has voluntarily worked to implement IMMAA's stringent safety protocol, which includes the independent, medical preclearance services of voluntary organisation, Safe MMA. This can be demonstrated by medical records from all those events. In addition, all events have been commissioned and officiated by IMMAA officials to ensure safety standards are adhered to.
Minister, IMMAA fully agrees with you that the recognition and regulation of MMA should not take so long, and we would welcome a meeting to discuss how the protection and governance of MMA’s participants can be most quickly progressed in Ireland.
the inquest jury did recommend the endorsement of an Irish governing body for MMA.