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John Kavanagh To Lead New Irish MMA Body Towards Recognition And Regulation

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On April 21st, the Irish Amateur Pankration Association confirmed that they had been involved in a “preliminary meeting” with Ireland’s Minister for Sport, Michael Ring, and a representative of Sport Ireland to discuss the future of MMA in the country.

Following of the tragic death of Joao Carvalho, which occurred 2 days after the 28-year-old lost via TKO in a professional contest at the National Boxing Stadium in Dublin on April 9th, there had been a great deal of discussion in the Irish media about the legitimacy and safety of the still young combat sport. Some even called for MMA to be outlawed.

However, those involved in the sport suggested that a move toward government recognition and regulation was needed to improve safety standards at all MMA events.

The IAPA, which was set up in 2014 to provide a framework for the young combat sport in the country, described the meeting as a “very positive first step”¬†in that direction.

On Monday, the IAPA took another step forward.

Through their official Facebook page, the organization announced that they had set up a committee in order to establish a new national governing body – the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association(IMMAA). According to the statement, the move was made so that the process of securing recognition from Sports Ireland could begin.

Straight Blast Gym head coach John Kavanagh has been named president of the committee.

You can read the entire statement below….

“To date the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) has acted as an associated body of the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association (IAWA) which is the National Governing Body for grappling arts in Ireland. The IAWA and its committee have provided invaluable support for the IAPA to date but now is time for us to start the recognition process with Sport Ireland for MMA under its own National Governing Body.

The IAPA would like to take a moment to thank the IAWA, in particular Michael McAuley and Daniel and Keith Kennedy. Without their advice and guidance we would not be in the position we are today. The IAWA have been a tremendous source of support, but we feel that it is now time to establish our own National Governing Body to enable the recognition and regulation of our sport in its own right.

This National Governing Body will be called the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA). It will be a member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and agrees to follow IMMAF’s rules and guidelines.

The following working committee has been set up to establish the IMMAA:

John Kavanagh – President
Andy Ryan – Vice President
Paul Cowzer – Chairman
Dean Wade – Secretary
Owen Roddy – Child Protection Officer
Clive Staunton – Anti Doping Officer
Barry Oglesby – Sport Ireland Liaison Officer
Ray Butcher – Treasurer
Liam-Og Griffin – Assistant Treasurer
David Jones – Progression Development Officer

The IMMAA will act as an advisory body for promoters looking to run amateur MMA events in Ireland. 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

Event medicals to be cleared by

Full IMMAF rules and regulations to be followed as listed here

All athletes to be registered to the IMMAA via the MyNextMatch registration system at

To learn more about IMMAA follow our page and you can email Secretary Dean Wade [email protected]

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.