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Sport Ireland Explain Why MMA Isn't Recognised As A Sport

Sport Ireland Explain Why MMA Isn't Recognised As A Sport
By Conor O'Leary Updated

This isn't your typical "MMA isn't a sport" argument, but it is interesting that it comes from Sport Ireland's chief executive John Treacy.

Speaking at the launch of Sport Ireland's anti-doping report for 2015 in, which it was revealed that several MMA athletes were drug-tested under the supervision of Sport Ireland, Treacy said that MMA isn't recognised by the national sporting body.

Treacy said it will be a long time before MMA comes under the Sports Ireland banner. But surely it must be if some fighters were drug-tested by Sport Ireland? Actually no. Those tested would only be the top athletes who are involved in the UFC, because the body is directed to by WADA.

The reason for Treacy's stance? It's not that he doesn't agree that MMA is a sport like some others. It's that there is no governing body for the sport in Ireland. For football read the FAI, for gaelic games read GAA, for golf read GUI, for rugby - the IRFU. Each sport in Ireland must have a governing body to be recognised under Sports Ireland and be in line to receive grants and funding.

That’s something that needs to be put in place so the board at Sport Ireland can consider it.

Treacy did say that they met individuals, but they need a board, a body to represent the sport and not individuals.

While there is a vacancy for the governing body of MMA in Ireland, Treacy said it's not merely a matter of creating a body and getting recognition - it's much tougher than that:


There’s a long list [of criteria].It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over a period of three years and there are marks they need to hit over those three years.

Treacy says there are a number of things that a governing body needs to a have, a good executive, safety measures, rules and regulations, and for members and clubs to utilise what the body puts in place.

If there’s a body formed they can make an application to us. We’re not excluding anyone, but they have to go through a process.


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