IMMAF CEO Densign White Elected as Chairman of Sporting Equals

Densign White with Frank Bruno

On Monday, February 15, IMMAF CEO Densign White was officially voted in as Chairman of British organisation Sporting Equals, following a previous tenure as acting chair. Sporting Equals exists to actively promote greater involvement in sport and physical activity by disadvantaged communities particularly the black and minority ethnic population. The body is a national partner of Sport England and also serves as an advisory to the national Department of Culture Media and Sport. The former Olympic Judoka expressed his tremendous pride and gave thanks to those who placed trust in his leadership. “I am immensely proud and honoured to hold this prestigious post and thankful to the other trustees for placing their trust and confidence in me to lead this organisation to make a difference.” Mr White explained to IMMAF.org that his involvement with Sporting Equals first began around four years ago when he was invited to make a presentation to the Sporting Equals leaderboard event which seeks to highlight and raise awareness of the lack of BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) representation in our board rooms and in CEO positions. He was subsequently invited by the then CEO and chair to join the board of trustees and later took the position of acting chair after Brendan Batson stepped down last year. Summarising the duties that he will oversee, Mr White added: “My duties will include chairing trustee meetings, line managing the CEO and setting out the vision and the strategic direction of the organisation. Ultimately, the main aims of Sporting Equals are to promote equality and raise participation in sport of BME communities, women and people with disability. We aim to to affect change within the sport hierarchy that embraces diversity.” Mr White discussed the benefits, effectiveness and great potential of Sporting Equals. He also drew comparisons to how his involvement in the project relates to his work as CEO of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). “The benefits of working with Sporting Equals are that, as a nationally recognised charity, doors open and it is possible to have influence at a high political level of government where the diversity agenda is being driven down to the national governing bodies. Sporting Equals, like IMMAF, is still striving to gain greater recognition. It has a small executive team that delivers incredible results for communities across the UK. The biggest event for Sporting Equals are the BEDSA Awards with this year’s ceremony having taken place this month and attended by 600 people, including some of the UK’s greatest sports personalities and an increasing number of sports national governing bodies. Sporting Equals presents an opportunity to recognise unsung heroes. I would like to see nominations for awards coming from the MMA community that will give our sport a higher profile in the UK, especially amongst the ethnic media. Both IMMAF and Sporting Equals are young organisations in their evolution and both have come a long way and achieved a lot in a relatively short space of time. Both face similar challenges of limited human and financial resources but are still managing to punch above their weight.” At the 2016 BEDSA Awards the Sporting Equals Chairman was given the honour of presenting a Lifetime Achievement award to former WBC world heavyweight boxing champion, Frank Bruno (pictured). “The BEDSA Awards were a huge success for Sporting Equals and really showcased the work of the organisation,  providing recognition to unsung heroes as well as some household names. Frank Bruno was clearly moved by the Lifetime Achievement Award and the love for him in the room was palpable. He was on his feet most of the night signing autographs and giving people selfies and he did not complain once. Of course, I was immensely proud to have the opportunity to meet the great man and to make the presentation of the award to him.” The development and recognition of Sporting Equals and the BEDSA Awards was highlighted by a notable guest list that included former British Sports Minister Helen Grant, who was seated with the IMMAF CEO, Vice-president George Sallfeldt and Communications Director Isobel Carnwath. There was also a significant media presence: “Significantly we had former sports minister Helen Grant present on our table and we had the chairs of both sport England and UK Sport present as well. Sky News was covering the event for the first time and I understand they want to be involved again next year.” Mr. White also referenced a number of famous British sports personalities that he has had the pleasure of working with during his time with Sporting Equals. “I have had the opportunity to work with a few notable individuals in my time at Sporting Equals, including the previous chair Brendan Batson OBE, eminent journalist Mihir Bose who is a trustee, former Chelsea player/captain,  Paul Elliot who is now an ambassador for the FA and Olympic champion Denise Lewis, who is a former trustee of Sporting Equals and remains a good friend of the organisation. This is just to name a few.” Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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