President Brown Comments on Rejection of MMA’s Claim for Sport Recognition

Today, IMMAF- WMMAA President Kerrith Brown commented on yesterday’s rejection of MMA’s application for Observer Status by the Global Association of International Sport Federations (GAISF), following a two-year process.

This matters because Observer Status forms a marker on the pathway to official sport recognition, referred to by governments worldwide, giving greater powers to an organisation to regulate its sport. Further to that, only GAISF recognised sports may apply to feature in the Olympic programme.

“We are surprised at this outcome as IMMAF has engaged and communicated with GAISF throughout the two- year application process, attending applicant workshops and following all advice. On GAISF’s advice that rivalry with the World Mixed Martial Arts Association would be an obstacle to our application we duly merged with with WMMAA in 2018. We have been notified of no other issue with our application.

“To our knowledge we meet all available GAISF criteria with the exception of World Anti-Doping Agency recognition, despite full compliance with the WADA code. WADA’s rejection letter to us cited the advice of GAISF, and we currently have a case in progress against WADA in the ordinary Swiss Courts due to this clear conflict of interests: Acceptance now by GAISF should have eradicated the issue.

“Obviously IMMAF- WMMAA are seeking advice from GAISF and we intend to apply again as soon as possible.

“Those who have followed our journey will know of the opposition we and the sport of MMA have faced from certain recognised combat sports, which we believe to be anti-competitive. These sports hold powerful positions within the international sports movement. This rejection now with no given reason and lack of transparency does nothing to allay conjecture.

“Our fight for MMA and its participants does not end here: We have every duty to represent our members, whom we commend for their passionate commitment in the face of opposition, our athletes and all those who engage with our sport and are greatly disserviced by this decision. My thanks goes out to the IMMAF- WMMAA Board and staff who work extremely hard for the development of MMA and to our sponsors and supporters for their faith. We will continue to seek justice for our sport“

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