Breaking News: MMA now an official sport in Portugal

Pictured above: Mario Moreno Horthina won the silver for Portugal at the 2016 IMMAF European Open in Bulgaria

By lead writer, Jorden Curran

The Portuguese MMA Athletic Commission (Comissão Atlética Portuguesa de MMA – CAPMMA) has made history in securing government recognition for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in Portugal this week. Affiliated to the Portuguese Wrestling Federation (FPLA), a National Olympic Committee member and one of the country’s most respected sports institutions, the CAPMMA has been legally mandated as the national governing body for MMA.

The goal of full recognition has been some years in the making for IMMAF’s Portuguese member. Negotiations and part funding courtesy of FPLA previously enabled CAPMMA to maintain activities for development of the sport, compete at international IMMAF championships and set its example of implementing medical safety standards at the domestic level through event sanctioning.

Now that MMA is autonomously recognised under Portuguese law, event sanctioning will no longer be a voluntary step for promoters – it will now be mandatory with CAPMMA operating under the jurisdiction of FPLA.

CAPMMA Director Luis Barneto issued the following statement:

We are pleased to announce that the Portuguese Wrestling Federation (Federação Portuguesa de Lutas Amadoras – FPLA) has completed the statutory amendment process needed in order to accomplish, under the terms of the Portuguese legislation, the exclusive rights and duties of development and protection of the sport: MMA – Mixed Martial Arts in Portugal.

Following this process, and with FPLA being an entity endowed with the Statute of Public Utility and also the Statute of Public Sports Utility, MMA is today a sport legally framed by an institution of undeniable prestige. MMA is a full and rightfully recognized sport. A very hard, very complicated but fundamentally important journey has been completed.

This recognition is the guarantee that our sport is not in danger of being banned in Portugal, as has  unfortunately happened in other countries. As an affiliate of FPLA, MMA in Portugal continues to forward and abide by the safety standards, sports laws, regulations and recommendations of the official institutions.

Under FPLA, Mixed Martial Arts, in all its forms, styles and variants, is now a full-fledged sport, protected and promoted by a strong federation of prestige and recognized historical value in Portugal. FPLA is a co-founder of the Portuguese Confederation of Sports and a member of the Portuguese Olympic Committee.

This is a historic moment, something that we have been fighting for since June 2015. We join the steadily growing list of countries where MMA is recognized as a sport. Now remains another inspiring challenge as we contribute even more actively for an international goal, led by IMMAF and supported by the worldwide MMA community, and by the world’s most important MMA promotions, including the UFC, to make MMA an Olympic Sport as early as 2028.

This recognition naturally entails financial and political support, but also rights, such as the right to define national teams, national and regional championships, duly recognized by the Portuguese State. We are to certify coaches, officials, and also to carry out the homologation and sanctioning of MMA events in Portugal.

Of course, this also implies and presupposes duties, namely those enshrined in the law, the same law that now defends our existence and actions in a way that no sport without a framework can be defended. From this moment on, FPLA will regulate all aspects related to this sport, as it does with the Olympic Wrestling, Grappling Gi and No-Gi, Beach Wrestling and Pancrácio in all its shapes and styles, along with traditional wrestling.

We would like to thank and extend appreciation to all those who, in the most diverse ways, contributed to this historical result. 2018 will be a fantastic year!

Luis Barneto

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