UKMMAF Shadow Sanctioning at UFC Glasgow
(2nd August 2015) With the IMMAF European Open Championships taking place in the United Kingdom this coming November, our “IMMAF on the Move” series returns to the region for “Update from the UK – Part 2”. Here we take a look into the United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UKMMAF) recent shadow sanctioning of UFC operations at “UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs. Leites” in Glasgow (Scotland -UK) on 17th
July. The concept of Shadow Sanctioning was introduced by UKMMAF Board Member and international referee, Marc Goddard, as a first step for promotions wishing to work towards independent sanctioning. Within the UK, the UKMMAF is also working in partnership with BAMMA among other promoters. The system has now been adopted by other national federations, including in Poland where MMA has a similar legal status. Since MMA is unregulated in the UK, promoters have been operating independently for many years and some have established good working practices. At the same time the national governing body is a new entity in development. The Shadow Sanctioning programme involves governing body and promoter working in partnership to evolve best practice on both sides, and involves review, dialogue and ongoing work towards sanctioning. The programme enables the legitimisation many of the excellent processes already followed by the leading promotions while assisting others to raise their standards, to improve safety, lower risk and enable the sport to become recognised. It equally provides a learning platform on which the UKMMAF can review best practice from industry leaders. At the UFC event in Glasgow, UKMMAF delegates firstly met with the UFC operations and regulatory staff at the Radisson Blu hotel on the morning of Weigh Ins day. They were invited to attend the pre fight medical examinations and test weigh ins, before travelling to the official weigh ins at the SSE Hydro arena with UFC staff. For the event itself the delegates had access to the commissioner’s areas and were walked through the operations, medical and commissioning processes. Through out, the delegates had the opportunity to ask questions and to discuss processes. UKMMAF representatives in attendance were chairman Mark Day, Nigel Burgess and Alistair Pettitt. We caught up with UKMMAF Sanctioning Committee representative, Alistair Pettitt, to find out a little bit more: How is shadow sanctioning helping with the development of regulation in the UK?
Shadow sanctioning enables practises to be constantly reviewed and improvements made where needed, with the ultimate goal of promotions being as safe as possible. By shadow sanctioning events in the UK, the UKMMAF team is gaining valuable insights into what works and into areas that may be improved. The promotions take on board what the UKMMAF suggests for operational improvements and likewise the promotions lean on the UKMMAF for advice in areas. Ultimately there is a point where sanctioning requirements are consistently met and the job of the UKMMAF is to ensure these high standards are continued. New promotions can then come into the sport knowing that they can promote as safe as possible events based on solid sanctioning requirements under the UKMMAF. What did the UKMMAF learn from UFC event operations?
With the UFC being the market leader globally in professional MMA, it is fantastic that they are happy to work with the UKMMAF. We had full access to the whole event and got to see first-hand all procedures they have in place sanctioning. The medical procedures were exceptional, with every last detail covered, including having their own medical facilities at Glasgow hospital available. As the UFC is self-regulated during an event in the UK, it was good to see many UK based and UKMMAF licensed officials working the event. This will only help towards potential full sanctioning of UFC events in the future. What else is the UKMMAF currently working on to raise the standard at MMA events in the UK?
The UKMMAF have recently released a progression scheme for officials which allows individuals to participate in educational courses as part of their professional progression. What this does in turn is to further improve the competency of all the officials used at UKMMAF sanctioned events, ultimately ensuring the athletes are being officiated by the most competent people available. In the near future we aim to be able to present to all shadow sanctioned promotions a list of licensed officials that they can select from, knowing that safety isn’t being compromised and accountability is transparent. For Update from the UK – Part 1 article, UKMMAF Referees Course: A Review, visit https://www.immaf.org/immaf-on-the-move-update-from-the-uk-part-1/