IMMAF call to action following passing of MMA competitor Joao Carvalho

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IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) again offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of deceased MMA competitor Joao Carvalho, who sadly passed away following a match at TEF 1 at The National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on 9 April. Joao was a popular and well-loved young man who is held in fond memory by those whose lives he touched, as well as a committed athlete pursuing his dream in a sport that he loved.

In the wake of this tragic and isolated event, IMMAF urges governments to support national MMA organisations, such as the Irish Amateur Pankration Association, and make a sincere commitment to putting structures in place that create a consistent and safe environment for all. IMMAF calls for MMA competitions to be regulated by law as they are in countries such as the United States and in Sweden, so that best practice can be enforced.

IMMAF also calls upon international sports agencies such as WADA and Sport Accord to formally recognise MMA. Lack of recognition creates obstacles to development and to increasing safety in the sport. This impacts right down to a national level, in areas that include hiring appropriately qualified medical professionals and securing insurance. Lack of recognition is likewise a barrier to funding, which would enable better medical care and safety measures, as well as investment in education and sport development.

We call for formal recognition, regulation and grassroots support at national and international levels, not only to harness the positive potential of the sport but to vitally mitigate risk for its participants. Joao’s tragic passing presents a call to action.

MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world, it is made up of singular combat sports such as judo, boxing, taekwondo, wrestling and muay thai and carries with it the ethics, skill and fitness associated with those much celebrated sports. The creation of mixed martial arts as a sport is the result of skilled and ambitious sportspeople seeking to not only be the best at one discipline but master multiple complex disciplines.

It is accepted, by MMA competitors, organisations , fans and practitioners alike, that some people remain uneducated about the sport and carry outdated views and inaccurate preconceptions- however this should not impact the understanding of a need to regulate the sport.

About IMMAF

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is the international democratic body for the sport of MMA, representing MMA worldwide towards all stakeholders – athletes, coaches, referees, governments, athletic commissions, sports confederations, international organizations, professional promoters and more. Founded from within the MMA community for the MMA community, the purpose of the IMMAF is to protect and further the development and recognition of the sport of MMA on all levels, enabling international competition through the organization of non-profit, democratic national federations. www.immaf.org