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14th Apr 2016

John Treacy claims that MMA has no place in Ireland unless Sport Ireland guidelines are followed

Darragh Murphy

Sport Ireland has broken its silence on the issue of mixed martial arts regulation in Ireland.

Concerns about the lack of funding and proper regulation of MMA have intensified following the tragic death of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho on Monday evening.

Carvalho passed away two days after being defeated by Charlie Ward at a Total Extreme Fighting event in the National Stadium.


Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy took to RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland on Thursday to discuss the issue and maintained that there would be no place for mixed martial arts in Ireland without the application of guidelines that Sport Ireland is working to put in place.

“It’s the extreme end of an activity,” said Treacy, who referres to MMA as ‘MNA’ throughout the interview. “We wouldn’t be that comfortable, I certainly wouldn’t be a follower of the sport but if there is people practising the sport and following the sport then that sport has a responsibility to ensure that good practices are in place and that they follow the best protocols. We’ll be looking at all these types of issues and looking at putting forward guidelines.

“The MNA (sic) themselves, they should be regulating themselves and making sure that sport operates in a healthy and safe way and their players shouldn’t be in danger of dying when they go into that cage.

“If we bring forth guidelines and codes of practice and they’re not followed then I don’t think there’s any place for it in Ireland. It’s as simple as that.”

John Treacy 18/11/2015

Currently there is no regulatory body that oversees professional MMA in Ireland, with the Irish Amateur Pankration Association concentrating solely on amateur participation in the sport.

Promoters of events that see professional mixed martial arts compete are the parties responsible for employing medical staff for those events and that has concerned many due to promoters’ presumed prioritisation of profit.

TEF promoter Cesar Silva had employed seven medics and three doctors on Saturday night but Treacy admitted that he is worried about the fact that its left to event promoters to put medical teams in place.

“The vast majority of sports regulate themselves and they’re responsible for the health and safety for their players and athletes,” he said.

“We’re in touch with the minister and the minister asked us to review the situation with MNA (sic) in Ireland and bring forward rules and guidelines to make MNA (sic) safer for participants.

Conor McGregor 12/8/2014

“We will sit down with department officials this week to look at the way forward in terms of guidelines. We can do that under our act and we do produce guidelines in various other sports or disciplines, whether it be child safety or anti-doping or what have you. We then expect governing bodies that we fund to follow them.

“I suppose the situation with the MNA (sic) in this country is that there isn’t a national organisation in the country for it. It’s made up of promoters and individuals and we had sat down with them about two years ago and we said ‘you need to form a corporate body in some way if you want to be recognised as a sport.’

“I believe they have rules and regulations with regards to having doctors in place and what have you but the sport is an extreme element of sport so there is dangers there.

“I suppose this is something that needs to be closely looked at. We need to look at what they have in place and examine it.

“I would just say that it really is a high-risk sport and it really does need to be examined very carefully.”