IMMAF attend Council of Europe Review of 1999 ‘Cage-Fighting’ Recommendation

(London. 25 April 2017) IMMAF is among representative organisations, NGOs and experts invited to participate in a Council of Europe review of its position on “Martial arts and combat sports / extreme combat activities (MACS/ECA)” under the Secretariat of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS). IMMAF’s audition sessions form part of a two-day hearing on 25 and 26 April 2017 at the Council of Europe Office in Paris.

A working group amongst the EPAS member States has been set up with the objective to consider the revision of the 1999 Recommendation N° R (99)11 of the Council of Europe that advised governments of the member States to “undertake all necessary measures to prohibit and prevent free fighting contests such as cage fighting.”  (See Rec(99)11_en )Material provided by the EPAS relates more specifically to the sport of MMA.

IMMAF and Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation founder, August Wallen, attended today to answer questions about the organisation and regulation of martial arts. While IMMAF CEO Densign White attends tomorrow to be interviewed about new developments in regulation. IMMAF Marketing & Communications Director, Isobel Carnwath, will be joining Densign White in the same session as a separately invited representative of voluntary medical organisation, Safe MMA.

Among medical, sociological and sporting experts and academics, including Tatiana Vassine, the lawyer currently representing French MMA against its Sports Minister in the courts. Other martial arts to participate include AIMS (under President Stephan Fox), French Judo (Jean Luc Rouge) and the European Karate Organisation who are all anticipated to strongly oppose the sport of MMA.

IMMAF CEO Densign White commented:

“Firstly, we thank the EPAS for inviting us to contribute to this much-needed review in recognition of the unprecedented development of MMA in the digital age. IMMAF and Safe MMA representatives are expected to answer questions about the current status of MMA regulation in Europe and the sport’s relationship with government organisations. It will be our job to present the facts, which clearly demonstrate MMA is a sport with defined and unified rules and code of conduct, and that IMMAF no less than any recognised martial art fosters the Olympic values of Respect, Excellence and Friendship. It is disappointing to see some of the same martial arts represented here that have blocked IMMAF’s application for WADA and SportAccord recognition. Hence, we would expect the arguments put forward during the hearing to be fairly polarised; but we also reasonably expect the EPAS to take a pragmatic, scientific and fact-based approach and not to be swayed by alarmist propaganda or conflicts of interest. Our position is that the participants of MMA should no longer be outlawed. We fully deserve our sport to be recognised to enable better organisation and regulation, supported by governments, so that MMA participants can enjoy the same benefits and protection enjoyed by those in other sports.”

IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, added:

“IMMAF and its members have covered a lot of ground in the last couple of years in the development of MMA and its regulation. Our goal is to set a gold standard in all areas of the sport and through education to elevate participant safety. We endorse recommendations that further the development of and improve safety in MMA.”

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