Further to the sad and tragic passing of Mr.
Joao Carvalho, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, met with representatives of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and its affiliated body in Ireland. This was with a view to understanding the IMMAF’s perspectives on the issues that Mr. Carvalho’s passing raised.
In particular, Minister Ring sought the views of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) representatives on appropriate measures to safeguard the health of participants in MMA events. The MMA representatives made it clear at the meeting, which was held on Wednesday, 27th April, that they would welcome a formal process from which a reputable National Governing Body (NGB) for MMA in Ireland would emerge. The NGB, like all other NGBs that are recognised by Sport Ireland, would be responsible for setting and overseeing appropriate standards, including standards relating to safety and governance. Sport Ireland, whose CEO, Mr. John Treacy also attended the meeting, outlined the rigorous NGB recognition process and advised the MMA stakeholders that any application from them would require a significant focus on safety standards.
Subsequent to the meeting Minster Ring was advised that a meeting of the main MMA stakeholders in Ireland has been scheduled for Tuesday, 17th May, to discuss the establishment of a National Governing Body for MMA in Ireland which would enter into the Sport Ireland NGB recognition process.
Minster Ring has welcomed this development saying: ‘I welcome the acknowledgment on the part of MMA event organisers that safety standards at their events in Ireland are in urgent need of very significant improvement. I also welcome their intention to engage in Sport Ireland’s rigorous process of NGB recognition. While the untimely death of Joao Carvalho was a terrible tragedy, I hope that his passing would lead to some good and that lessons would be learned that would ensure that safety standards within MMA are improved to an acceptable level. The introduction of appropriate safety standards cannot come soon enough and I hope that all participants in MMA events, whether amateur or professional, youth or adult, would be protected by the introduction of those standards’.