This proved to be a monumental week in Ireland for the world of mixed martial arts. A sport yet to be officially recognized by Sport Ireland now has it's own national governing body.
The Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA), will be headed than none other than Straight Blast Gym's very own Coach John Kavanagh. A figurehead on the emerald isle for the sport and coach to UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor, no man is better qualified to lead the IMMAA than he.
The Irish Amateur Pankration Association released an official statement via their Facebook which can be found here, with a small segment below:
This National Governing Body will be called the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA). It will be a member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) and agrees to follow IMMAF's rules and guidelines. The following working committee has been set up to establish the IMMAA:
John Kavanagh - President
Andy Ryan - Vice President
Paul Cowzer - Chairman
Dean Wade - Secretary
Owen Roddy - Child Protection Officer
Clive Staunton - Anti Doping Officer
Barry Oglesby - Sport Ireland Liaison Officer
Ray Butcher - Treasurer
Liam-Og Griffin - Assistant Treasurer
David Jones - Progression Development Officer
The IMMAA will act as an advisory body for promoters looking to run amateur MMA events in Ireland.
Thanks to the success of his SBG and the monumental rise of its insanely talented fighters, MMA is starting to see some real positive growth in Ireland. The emerald isle now has close to 100 MMA gyms (or clubs, as they're locally referred) across the country with the majority of those housing competitive teams fighting under the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA).
The IMMAA will act as a member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) following the rules put in place by the federation.
The tragic death of Joao Carvalho at a Total Extreme Fighting event in Dublin earlier this year forced the country to have a serious look at the lack of government regulations surrounding the sport. With Kavanagh acting as president for the new governing body and Team Ryano Head Coach Andy Ryan acting as vice president, the future looks bright for MMA in Ireland.
It's been no secret that McGregor has longed to return to his native hometown to headline an event with the UFC. Always maintaining that he hasn't outgrown the smaller 3,000 to 9,000 capacity stadiums, Dublin also boasts the 82,300-capacity Croke Parke, 51,700-capacity Aviva Stadium and smaller 14,500-capacity 3Arena if the UFC were to look seriously at the city for a bigger UFC event.
Hopefully the UFC will seriously consider heading to Ireland to put on a marquee show.