Sport Ireland vows to work with Government to regulate MMA in Ireland

The governing body of Irish sport also added that it will not be conducting an investigation into the death of Joao Carvalho.

SPORT IRELAND HAS revealed it will work with the Department of Sport to regulate MMA in Ireland following the tragic death of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho.

The national governing body of sport also insisted it was not its responsibility to investigate Carvalho’s death which occurred as a result of injuries he sustained at an MMA event in Dublin on Saturday night.

“Sport Ireland will work with the Department of Sport to establish how MMA operates in Ireland and under what regulatory framework it may operate in the future,” a statement said.

“Sport Ireland has had no formal engagement with any organisation representing MMA on recognition to date.”

The Portuguese fighter died after undergoing emergency surgery at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital following his defeat to Ireland’s Charlie Ward at the Total Extreme Fighting (TEF) bout.

The death of Carvalho, 28, has sparked widespread debate over the regulation of MMA in Ireland.

Sport Ireland also added that any investigation into Carvalho’s death must be conducted by TEF and the national governing body for MMA, the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA).

This is because Sport Ireland doesn’t recognise MMA as a sport, the statement explained.

“Regardless of the relationship with Sport Ireland or any statutory authority, the primary responsibility for Health & Safety for an event rests with the organiser and the relevant governing body,” Sport Ireland added.

“Any review of the tragic events of last Saturday should be carried out by relevant authorities. That does not include Sport Ireland as it does not recognise MMA in any form.”

Sport Ireland also outlined the process by which MMA could receive a form of recognition that would give the sport access to certain services.

“Sport Ireland recognises National Governing Bodies of sport and operates a recognition programme for sports/disciplines that do not have that status.

“Sports seek recognition as it provides access to funding and other supports & services from Sport Ireland. For many organisations it is valuable as an endorsement of that body which may be important for governance and commercial reasons.

“There is a process for recognition and criteria must be met.

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“Without going into huge detail the applicant should be able to demonstrate that it is a functioning corporate body (M & As, audited accounts, functioning board etc), is affiliated with a relevant international organisation, is operating as the governing authority with rules etc and has clubs and memberships around the country.

“This is due to the fact that MMA is not recognised by Sport Ireland and as a result does not receive any funding from the organisation.”

The gardaí have already launched an investigation into Carvalho’s death.

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