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13th Apr 2016

Sport Ireland issue statement following the death of Joao Carvalho


Sport Ireland have released a statement following the tragic death of Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho in Dublin.

Carvalho was hospitalised shortly after losing via third round TKO to Charlie Ward at the inaugural Total Extreme Fighting event in the National Stadium last Saturday.

The Team Nobrega fighter was rushed to Beaumont hospital after he began vomiting, suffered headaches and felt nausea backstage, 10 minutes after being cleared by the medics, according to the owner of Eventmed. He underwent brain surgery in hospital, but was pronounced dead on Monday night.

The Gardaí, as well as the international governing body for MMA have launched investigations into the death of Carvalho.

Sport Ireland have released a statement regarding Carvalho’s death confirming that they do not recognise MMA as a sport. However, they will work with the Department of Sport to see what regulatory framework it may operate under in the future.

The statement from can be read in full here:

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.

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 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.

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

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. 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.