Friday 20 April 2018

HSA to take no action over the tragic death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho

Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho. Photo: Dave Fogarty
Portuguese MMA fighter Joao Carvalho. Photo: Dave Fogarty Newsdesk Newsdesk

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has decided that the circumstances surrounding the death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho did not breach health and safety legislation and they have ceased their investigations.

The Portuguese fighter died in April a few days after a bout with Ireland's Charlie Ward during a Total Extreme Fighting (TEF) event at the National Stadium.

The tragedy sparked a huge debate in sporting and political circles about the safety procedures and precautions used at MMA events in this county.

The HSA has concluded its probe into the death and will not take any action.

“Following the examination of the circumstances relating to the death of Mr Carvalho the Authority sought to determine whether there was any employer/employee relationship involving Mr Carvalho, in relation to the MMA event in which he participated,” a spokesperson for the HSA told Medical Independent.

“We have determined that Mr Carvalho participated as a professional self-employed fighter in relation to the MMA event.

“The nature of his participation was such that there was no employer/employee relationship between Mr Carvalho and anyone else involved in staging or promoting the event.

“The Authority has therefore ended its inquiries with no further action under health and safety legislation being taken.”

The gardaí are continuing to preparing a file to present to the Dublin Coroner's Court.

This week the French Sports Ministry published a report which effectively bans MMA events there.

In a press release headed "Decree relating to technical regulations and security for public combat sport events", the sports ministry lays out several rules governing such events.

The octagonal cage used for MMA bouts would be prohibited by a clause which states: "Fights will take place on a carpet or in a ring with three or four ropes. The corners of the ring will be protected."

The report goes on to outlaw several of the techniques integral to MMA.

It states: "The following techniques are strictly outlawed and will lead to immediate disqualification:

"Punches, kicks or strikes with the knees against a fighter on the ground; any strike with the elbow; headbutts; blows to the genitals, the spine, the back of the head or the throat; putting the fingers in the eyes, mouth or nose; pulling the hair; biting; throwing (the opponent) intentionally onto the head or neck; throwing the opponent out of the ring."

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