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12th Apr 2016

Minister Michael Ring claims he saw fatality coming in Irish MMA after Joao Carvalho’s passing

Darragh Murphy

“I wouldn’t be one of the biggest fans of the sport.”

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring has revealed that MMA is not his favourite sport in the world as he addressed his concerns with the regulation of mixed martial arts in Ireland.

During an interview on Off The Ball, Minister Ring explained how he had already written to several organisations to express the high regulatory standards he expected of them.

Michael Ring, T.D 7/4/2016

The discussion came in the wake of the death of Joao Carvalho, who passed away two nights after losing a welterweight bout against Charlie Ward at a mixed martial arts event called Total Extreme Fighting.

“The State will have an obligation, like any sudden death or any death in the country, there will be, I’m sure, a coroner’s report and I’m sure there will be some sort of investigation. I’d expect that investigation would come quickly,” Ring said.

“On the 20th of February 2014, before this event ever happened, I wrote to 17 organisations and these were commercial operators that were running for profit events in Ireland. I wrote to the 17 of them and I outlined to them that I expected the same kind of safety standards that existed for other sports such as rugby, horse racing and professional boxing. I am concerned and I have been concerned. And I’ve been concerned about the growth of this sport and the way that it’s unregulated. It needs to be regulated.”

Minister Ring also revealed that he had predicted something like the death of Carvalho taking place long before Total Event Fighting took place in Dublin.

“In fact I contacted John Treacy (CEO of Irish Sports Council) three weeks ago in relation to another event that was taking place and I was quite concerned about that event being held in a stadium in this country,” he said, adding that he “did predict something like what happened this week would happen and it did happen.”