Sport Ireland Publishes Report of Mixed Martial Arts Working Group

Sport Ireland today published the report of its Mixed Martial Arts Working Group.

The working group was established by Sport Ireland to explore opportunities for the relationship between the Irish Martial Arts Commission (IMAC) and the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA) in the area of mixed martial arts.

The discussions of the group were independently Chaired by Professor Jack Anderson and independently facilitated by Morgan Buckley.

The Key Findings of the Group in May 2017 included the following:

  • Confirmation that the IMMAA has yet to fully establish itself as an organisation. A draft Constitution along with Memorandum and Articles of Association have been developed, and were adopted by members at the Association’s first AGM on June 14th 2017.
  • The IMMAA membership is still in very early stages of establishment and governance. Its representatives recognise that there is considerable work still to be done in developing the relevant binding arrangements of membership.
  • At present the IMMAA does not meet the criteria to be recognised as a National Governing Body of Sport by Sport Ireland. The IMMAA is aware of the considerable work needed to ensure it operates as an effective organisation. This is normal for any start up organisation.
  • It follows that, at least until it is formally established, IMMAA is not yet in the position to apply to the Irish Martial Arts Commission (IMAC) for affiliation. IMAC already have very detailed membership, technical support library and codes of information in place. IMAC have indicated they would be willing to receive an application from IMMAA, but foresee certain challenges in this regard.

The Report recommends that the IMMAA complete its process to become a formally established organisation and begin to develop a realistic model and pathway to meet the standards required of a modern sporting organisation. 

In conclusion, the report highlights that ‘gaining recognition does not confer accreditation in terms of health and safety standards for events and other processes. The leaders and members of sport have, currently, serious responsibilities to self-regulate and to adhere to relevant standards and are ultimately responsible for how their sport operates…Ultimately the safety and welfare of amateur and professional participants is at stake and it is paramount that whatever route taken by the IMMAA serious and onerous issues and duty of care are at stake. They can learn much from members of IMAC and other sporting codes who have had to make tough choices in prioritising the needs of athletes.’

Commenting on the report, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, said: “The report was a very beneficial piece of work, which made a number of key recommendations including the need for IMMAA to become a fully established organisation, with proper membership and governance arrangements in place. The principle of good governance in sporting organisations is vitally important with those organisations being responsible for their own-self regulation. The safety of MMA athletes must be paramount importance. We would encourage the leaders of the sport to make progress on the recommendations of the report.”

The full report can be viewed here.


Professor Jack Anderson:

Jack Anderson is Professor and Director of Sports Law at the University of Melbourne.  He was previously Professor of Law at Queen’s University, Belfast lecturing in sports law. He has published widely in the area of sports law with extensive experience in combat sports. Professor Anderson is a panel member on various national sports dispute resolution bodies and also sat on the Sport Ireland Eligibility Committee.


Irish Mixed Martial Arts Commission (IMAC):

IMAC is the Sport Ireland recognised National Governing Body for Martial Arts. It is a multi-disciplinary umbrella body representing 30 different Martial Arts organisations.