Regulation of MMA for safety on way, says Ring
Organisers of mixed martial arts (MMA) events have admitted that safety standards are "in urgent need of significant improvement", according to Sports Minister Michael Ring.
His comments came as it emerged that the controversial sport is edging closer to being regulated in Ireland.
Mr Ring said appropriate safety standards "could not come soon enough".
Moves are now being made to establish a national governing body which would eventually fall under the umbrella of Sport Ireland. Meetings on the issue are set to take place over the coming weeks.
The developments come in the aftermath of the death of Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho following an MMA bout in Dublin last month.
In a statement, Mr Ring said that he and Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy had met with representatives of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and its affiliated body in Ireland, the Irish Amateur Pankration Association.
"The MMA representatives made it clear at the meeting that they would welcome a formal process from which a reputable national governing body (NGB) for MMA in Ireland would emerge," he said.
"The NGB, like all other NGBs that are recognised by Sport Ireland, would be responsible for setting and overseeing appropriate standards, including standards relating to safety and governance."
Mr Ring said Mr Treacy had explained there would be a rigorous process before official recognition could be given.
He said various MMA stakeholders had resolved to enter discussions in a bid to establish a governing body which would then enter into the Sport Ireland NGB recognition process.