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The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has been in touch with international authorities regarding MMA in recent months, according to documents obtained following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request submitted by the Medical Independent (MI).
The FoI material showed that in September 2016, the Department contacted “Swedish authorities” regarding MMA in Sweden. The Department also contacted the Council of Europe regarding MMA in November last year. The content of this correspondence was not included in the FoI documentation.
The Council of Europe is an international organisation comprising 47 States.
“The [Council of Europe] Working Group on martial arts and combat sports met for the first time in January 2017,” said a Department spokesperson.
“It is primarily an information-sharing platform and its main aim is to develop and present to its member states some recommendations on martial arts and combat sports.
“Although MMA will feature in these discussions, it is not possible at this juncture to gauge what impact, if any, it may have on a recognition process in Ireland.”
The lack of regulation of MMA in Ireland has been a source of controversy in recent years.
Last October, MI reported that Sport Ireland was “taking the lead” regarding discussions in relation to the recognition process.
As it stands, Sport Ireland does not recognise MMA in any form. However, Sport Ireland does liaise with the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association on matters relating to the establishment of a recognised governing body and offering the association guidance.
A Department spokesperson told MI that its staff had not met representatives of the MMA community in recent months. However, “there is continuing engagement with Sport Ireland in relation to the MMA issue generally”.