IMMAF to join regulation talks with Irish Sports Minister today

IMMAF CEO Densign White revealed yesterday that he is set to join discussions in progress with Irish Sports Minister, Michael Ring, about the regulation of MMA in Ireland, with a view to establishing recognition for the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA). Following the tragic death of professional Portuguese competitor Joao Carvalho, IMMAF issued a Call to Action statement and strongly urged the Irish government to officially recognise and regulate the sport of MMA via the well established IAPA who operate under the IMMAF’s international banner. With government backing the IAPA would be enabled to enforce consistency of approved safety standards at a national level. Carvalho sadly passed away in hospital following a match at TEF 1 at The National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on 9 April. IMMAF heads reached out to Michael Ring following the tragedy, and the Irish Sports Minister last week pledged to bring regulation to what is Ireland’s fastest growing sport. IAPA President John Kavanagh revealed last week that positive talks with governement officials are underway. Yesterday, IMMAF CEO Densign White spoke to Niall McGrath of “We’ve got a meeting with Minister Ring and John Treacy,” Mr. White explained, “and I think there will be other civil servants there. I will be attending with John Kavanagh, the President of the IAPA. The purpose of that meeting is to sit down with them and talk about how we can make MMA safe in the Rep. of Ireland for the athletes. It’s all about the safety and welfare of the athletes. We don’t want anything like this ever happening again, not only in Ireland but anywhere else in the world.” Mr. White stressed that the question of funding, while relevant to the discussions, is not the top priority, and that the main goal is for the IAPA to be given official support in unifying the standards of MMA safety across the nation. “I really hope that something will be pushed through. I don’t want this meeting to be just about funding. I think funding is important but it doesn’t have to come from the government. The most important thing they can give John Kavanagh is recognition.” “If John Kavanagh is given recognition as the only governing body for MMA in Ireland. Everybody who practices MMA in Ireland, or opens a gym in Ireland has to be a member. That in itself will generate funding for the IAPA.” The IMMAF CEO added, I think Ireland could be the model for the world.” You can listen to the full interview this evening on Episode 105 of the Talking Brawls Podcast. Visit for more information on how to tune in and download the episode. Written by lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran ABOUT THE IAPA: The Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) is an associated body of the National Governing Body, the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association (IAWA). It is made up of IAWA affiliated club members from the wrestling, grappling and martial arts community in the Republic of Ireland, it also has the support of a network of gyms, athletes and promoters. The Irish Amateur Pankration Association has been established since 2014 and is affiliated to the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association for its lighter Amateur training and activities (Pankration), which form part of its progressional pathway for participants. The IAPA is recognised by United World Wrestling, the World Governing Body for wrestling and grappling sports and they operate within the existing rules and regulations of the amateur sport of Pankration as laid down by the World Governing Body. They are also recognised by Sport Accord. The Irish Amateur Pankration Association ensures that affiliated club coaches and members are signed up and comply with the IAWA Coaching Training Programme, Garda Vetting regulations and Anti-Doping procedures set down by the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association, Coaching Ireland and Sport Ireland In consultation with the NGB, the Irish Amateur Pankration Association is also responsible for recommending policies and procedures that will support the development of Pankration in Ireland. The committee reviews the associations plans to develop Pankration and provide input and feedback on the programs and activities provided for athlete’s development in national and international competition leading towards the European and World Championships. In addition, the IAPA has been working with MMA event promoters on a voluntary consultation basis to

  • Recommend safety standards at   events,
  • Develop sanctioning,
  • Recommend regulatory structures
  • To recommend procedures to improve safety for participants and officials in the sport

However, the IAPA is not recognised as the governing body for professional MMA. The IAPA has no legal mandate or government funding and has no power to enforce its recommended guidelines in professional mixed martial arts. The IAPA is an affiliate of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). You can follow the Irish Amateur Pankration Association on Twitter @IAPAMMA

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