Wednesday 28 September 2016

Sports Minister says he foresaw MMA death - but is powerless to regulate events

Published 12/04/2016 | 22:20

Fine Gael's Michael Ring. Photo: Tom Burke
Fine Gael's Michael Ring. Photo: Tom Burke

Acting Sports Minister Michael Ring has said that he foresaw an incident like the death of Joao Carvalho - but he is powerless to regulate Mixed Marshall Arts events.

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The minister said he has been concerned about the growth of MMA in Ireland, especially since those overseeing it have not sought recognition from the State.

"I personally wouldn't be the biggest fan of this sport. They know that. I've made that clear to them. But at the same time, this sport is taking place. There's a great interest in this sport," he said.

"There's a lot of people going to these events. And there has to be some regulation put in place."

Mr Ring, who wrote to17 promoters of MMA in February 2014 raising concerns, said that no funding has been provided from the Irish Sports Council for MMA because it hasn't been recognised as an official sport.

"It's a new phenomenon that is after taking off," he said, adding: "They have never looked for recognition. There is no national government body. There's no local government body. It's a new sport that has taken off but it's something now that I will be asking the Sports Council to take a look at to see what we do to regulate it."

Speaking on Newstalk's Off The Ball, Mr Ring said: "We don't have any great control of any kind of sport in this country, except if they want funding from the State. If they are looking for funding from the state, there has to be a national governing body.

"There has to be rules, regulations. There has to be different organisations set up and they have to live within the law of the land.

"This new sport. It's a new phenomenon that has come into this country and it has come in very quickly."

He added: "We don't organise these events. Neither does the Sports Council. I don't have the power to go in and regulate them. They have to look to the State for regulation and they have not done that.

"I have concerns, grave concerns. And I did predict something like what happened this week, would happen, and it did happen."

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