The World Governing Body for the sport of amateur Mixed Martial Arts, IMMAF, has agreed to postpone its court hearing with the World Anti-Doping Agency, which had been scheduled for the Tribunal d’Arrondissement in Lausanne on 4th September 2019.
IMMAF CEO Densign White, said: “After a unanimous decision of the IMMAF Board, we have agreed to a postponement, of approximately 4 months, to allow WADA time to review the current procedure for a sport organisation to become a signatory.”
“While IMMAF will continue to monitor the situation closely, we have acted in good faith to press pause on legal action while WADA reviews these procedures. We want to work in partnership with key stakeholders in sport.
“We would like to thank WADA for the open and fair approach and underline our commitment to Clean Sport as a code compliant sport. Without being a WADA signatory, IMMAF’s sanctions are easily bypassed with a resulting detrimental impact on our athletes, their safety and the sport of MMA.” said White.
IMMAF first implemented an anti-doping policy based on the World Anti-Doping Code and Standards in 2015. In-competition testing was introduced at its international Amateur MMA tournaments, commencing with the 2015 IMMAF World Championships. IMMAF works with the internationally renowned expert consultancy, Sporting Integrity Ltd, headed by Michele Verroken, to develop its anti-doping policy and programme. However, IMMAF’s application to WADA for signatory status was rejected, which led to IMMAF challenging the decision in the ordinary Swiss Courts.
“IMMAF’s application to WADA marks an important step in its work to see the sport of MMA become recognised by the Sport Movement. The Anti-doping programme that IMMAF already implements is an important part of ensuring athlete safety and fairness in our sport. Signing up to WADA is part of our ongoing efforts to secure official recognition as a sport. This is a crucial milestone to promote development, open access to funding, professional services and our authority to safeguard participants,” said White. “Our drive for recognition is a number one priority for the good of our sport, our federations and our athletes.”
Pictured: IMMAF CEO Densign White with IMMAF medallists. WADA compliant drug testing is carried out at all IMMAF competitions