International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) CEO Densign White has been listed to receive a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) award in the 2020 Queen of the United Kingdom’s birthday honours list.
The order of the British Empire awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom, who have made a positive impact in their line of work. White has been accoladed for his services to sport, and particular his services to bettering diversity in sport.
The judo Olympian has been CEO of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation since November 2014. The organisation is seeking sport recognition for MMA (mixed martial arts) from the Olympic movement, in the face of well-publicised political opposition from other sport stakeholders.
White also stands as Chairman of Sporting Equals, a charity whose purpose is to promote ethnic diversity in sport.
His athletic sporting credentials include triple Olympian, World Championship medallist, 5 times European medallist and Commonwealth Champion.
At the close of his competitive days, White embarked on a career in sports administration serving 11 years as the Chairman of the British Judo Association, from 2001 to 2012. He moved on to serve internationally as the European Judo Union Head Sports Director and has acted as an executive member of the British Olympic Association.
In 2018, White was elected to the Council of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), an organisation founded to tackle corruption in sport. As one of few black administrative leaders in international sport, he has this year been appointed to SIGA’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
White remains a trustee the British Judo Trust and the Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy.
Densign White commented:
“I have been fortunate my whole life to have been involved in sport in a variety of roles including as athlete and administrator. It is incredibly humbling to receive any recognition for ones work but especially from the Queen’s honours committee. This award is a recognition also of the incredible, dedicated and hard-working team at Sporting Equals trying to promote diversity and end discrimination. I passionately believe in fairness. In this regard, sport still has some way to go. The concept of a level playing field needs to be applied on and off the field of play equally.”
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented:
“I met Densign through judo at the age of twelve. We went on to represent Great Britain together in the Olympics. Over the years we have worked together in various contexts and have ended up at the helm of the same organisation in mixed martial arts. Densign is long-time friend, confidante and colleague. He has now achieved one of the highest recognitions you can receive in this country, and it is a fitting reward for his determination, consistent beliefs and values.
“This is also massive for the sport of MMA to have someone with his sporting values, recognised by the establishment, as the backbone of its international governing body.”