John Kavanagh announced as first president of new MMA national governing body

The formation of this new organisation represents a huge step towards Mixed Martial Arts being recognised as a sport in Ireland.

According to a statement released on the Irish Amateur Pankration Association’s Facebook page The Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA) will be a member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Association and will agree to follow their rules and guidelines.

The IAPA had previously acted as an associated body of the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association, which governs grappling sports in Ireland, but Sport Ireland chief John Treacy said that until Irish MMA was regulated by their own national governing body, the sport couldn’t be recognised in this country.

“The IMMAA will act as an advisory body for promoters looking to run amateur MMA events in Ireland,” the statement said.

“Our recommendations include but are not limited to: Referees and judges to be appointed by the IMMAA. Pre -event medical checks to be controlled by IMMAA”.

The regulation of MMA in Ireland came under scrutiny after Joao Carvalho died in hospital from injuries suffered in a fight in the National Stadium in April.

With the highly respected John Kavanagh as president, the IMMAA has set out its intention to ensure all competitors are registered with the body, control medical checks before fights and advise promoters intending to run amateur MMA events in this country, including recommendations for referee and judge appointments.