As uncertainty looms over the future of GAISF, with plans in place for it to be dissolved, IMMAF CEO Densign White took to social media to express his welcome for the reform.
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is seven years into its application process for sport recognition by GAISF, the gate-keeper for the Olympic movement, and is not alone in facing issues with the organisation.
Outlining some of the frustrations IMMAF has faced in its efforts to obtain recognition for MMA, White further cited to immaf.org that no opportunity had ever arisen to attend key meetings at which IMMAF’s membership application was discussed within GAISF.
“There’s a combat sports committee within the GAISF as well, and combat sports members belong to that committee, which we were never invited to. We did ask many times for the opportunity to address them directly to explain that MMA is not a threat and that we want to work with them, but we were never allowed to go to that meeting. We were never allowed to attend any meetings at which our membership application was discussed, even when we knew that the council was meeting the membership panel.
“We never received any reasons as to why our application was refused. It’s just an organisation that is operating, in my view, almost like a 1970s, 1980s trade union with a closed shop policy.”
He added that certain members of GAISF were shying away from competition by blocking the recognition of MMA, countering that competition is something he would welcome in an organisation.
“They are anti-competitive. They are fearful of anything that they might perceive as a threat to them, which is a strange mindset to have for people that work in sports because sports are all about competition. I’m not afraid of competition. I think competition is good. It helps us all to drive our standards higher and to push harder to do what we are doing better than the opposition. That is how improvements happen.
“Some of these sports are perhaps already in the Olympic program, and there are obviously some financial considerations. They are getting money from being recognised for being in the Olympic family, from being in the Olympic games. And so they are just protecting that, and to a certain extent, I get it. But I think competition is good and all we want to do is work with people, not against them. And we think that we could actually add value to some of these organisations that are trying to keep us out.”