The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is pleased to officially confirm the recent affiliation of the Republic of Ireland under the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA). The news was broken yesterday by Irish media outlet, Severe MMA, as revealed by UFC Senior Vice President and General Manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa, David Allen, during the UFC’s visit to Dublin to promote UFC 189: Aldo vs McGregor.
Ireland consists of two political regions, Northern Ireland, which forms part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland in the south. The former Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Ireland (MMAFI) which aimed to oversee MMA in both regions, re-launched as the Ulster Amateur MMA Association in January of this year with its remit narrowed to the governance of Northern Ireland only. While the MMAFI had maintained the support of the Northern Irish government, the MMA community in the southern Republic faced a different political landscape. For this reason it was concluded by MMA community leaders from both regions that the North and South of Ireland needed separate governance.
The Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) was formed in late 2014 with the stated purpose of “creating a framework where Irish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and its associate clubs, coaches & fighters, would become recognised as a legitimate sport in Ireland…under the all-encompassing umbrella of the Irish Sporting Council (ISC).”
Its founders firstly worked to create of a National Body of Associated Clubs, and then a National Governing Body focused on the Amateur and recreational sides of the sport. The movement has won great support from gyms and coaches across the Republic of Ireland. This was well illustrated by the impressive turnout at January’s “Injury Prevention in MMA” event in Dublin, part organized by IAPA founder and president John Kavanagh. Kavanagh is best known as a world leading MMA coach at Ireland’s Straight Blast Gym, with names that include Conor McGregor, Gunnar Nelson and Aisling Daly among his roster.
The new organisation has taken its name from its association with the 60 year old Irish Amateur Wrestling Association (IAWA). The IAWA is Ireland’s National Governing Body for wrestling and associated grappling arts, including Pankration. It was through a positive working relationship with the IAWA that the Irish Amateur Pankration Association was enabled to form a MMA sub-committee.
IAPA spokesperson Deano Sullivan commented:
“’The Irish Amateur Pankration Association is delighted to have officially become a member of the International MMA Federation. We hope to work closely with our international colleagues to promote and support the development of MMA during these very exciting times.”
IMMAF CEO Densign White said:
“We are happy to welcome the IAPA to IMMAF and very much look forward to seeing the Republic of Ireland represented at the IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA in Las Vegas this year.”