The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation are calling on the governments to recognise and regulate the sport of MMA. The statement is aimed squarely at the kind of debate underway in Ireland.
Describing the tragic death of Joao Carvalho as 'a call to action', they said there was an urgent need to both recognise and regulate the sport so as to create a consistent and safer environment for MMA fighters.
In the wake of this tragic and isolated event, IMMAF urges governments to support national MMA organisations, such as the Irish Amateur Pankration Association, and make a sincere commitment to putting structures in place that create a consistent and safe environment for all. IMMAF calls for MMA competitions to be regulated by law as they are in countries such as the United States and in Sweden, so that best practice can be enforced.
The statement asserted that the failure to recognise MMA had created 'obstacles to development and to increasing safety in the sport'. Recognition, they said, would lead to increased funding which would, in turn, 'enable better care and safety measures.
Recognition, they said, would lead to increased funding which would, in turn, 'enable better care and safety measures'.
The statement added that all MMA fans and practitioners acknowledge that 'some people remain uneducated about the sport and carry outdated views and inaccurate preconceptions'.
However, they insisted that this should 'not impact the understanding of a need to regulate the sport'.
Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy told Morning Ireland this week that the MMA 'had no place in Ireland' unless it is regulated.
If we bring forward guidelines and codes of practice and they are not followed then I think there is no place for it in Ireland, it's as simple as that.
The Irish Amateur Pankration Association, of which John Kavanagh is currently chairman, was founded in 2014 with the aim of 'creating a framework where Irish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and its associate clubs, coaches & fighters, would become recognised as a legitimate sport in Ireland…under the all-encompassing umbrella of the Irish Sporting Council.'
At the beginning of the statement, they offered their condolences to the family and friends of Joao Carvalho, the 28-year old who lost his life following a fight in the National Stadium in Dublin this week.
They paid tribute to a 'popular and well-loved young man who is held in fond memory by those whose lives he touched.'