Amateur MMA Gets National Governing Body in Ireland

Amateur mixed martial arts in the Republic of Ireland now has an official national governing body (NGB).

The creation of a recognised National Governing Body for MMA in Ireland has been a much-discussed topic in the country over the last number months following the tragic death of Joao Carvalho. It was a move advised by government officials to the MMA community as a important first step in many steps towards full regulation.

The announcement was made in a statement made by the IAPA on their Facebook page. The IAPA was the acting NGB for amateur mixed martial arts in the country up until now, organised under the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association.

To date the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) has acted as an associated body of the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association (IAWA) which is the National Governing Body for grappling arts in Ireland. The IAWA and its committee have provided invaluable support for the IAPA to date but now is time for us to start the recognition process with Sport Ireland for MMA under its own National Governing Body.

The IAPA would like to take a moment to thank the IAWA, in particular Michael McAuley and Daniel and Keith Kennedy. Without their advice and guidance we would not be in the position we are today. The IAWA have been a tremendous source of support, but we feel that it is now time to establish our own National Governing Body to enable the recognition and regulation of our sport in its own right.

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. Our recommendations include but are not limited to
Referees and judges to be appointed by the IMMAA
Pre -event medical checks to be controlled by IMMAA
Event medicals to be cleared by

Full IMMAF rules and regulations to be followed as listed here
All athletes to be registered to the IMMAA via the MyNextMatch registration system at
To learn more about IMMAA follow our page and you can email Secretary Dean Wade

Along with the new set up, the body also outlined further rules and regulations regarding amateur fights and events in the Republic of Ireland, including the introduction of same day weigh ins, the manditory use of shin and rashguards and more. The main points have been compiled into a list by Combat Gear.

  • Weigh-ins for amateur contestants shall be on the day of competition. There should be a period of no less than 1 hour before competition and no longer than 8 hours between weigh-in and competition.
  • Contestants are required to provide certificates for Hepatitis B (HBsAg), HepatitisC (HCVsAb) and HIV tests. These certificates cannot be older than 1 year.
  • Video Screens: The promoter of a mixed martial arts contest or exhibition shall hang at least 2 video screens which meet the approval of the commission or its executive director and which allow the patrons to view the action inside the fenced area.
  • All contestants shall wear gloves weighing minimum of no less that 6 ounces and no more than 8 ounces, which shall be supplied by the promoter and approved by the commission. Contestants are not permitted to supply their own gloves.
  • The use of shin and rash guards shall be a mandatory requirement for amateur mixed martial arts competition. Shin guards shall be a tight fighting pull-on sock/neoprene type shin guard. The use of shin guards with Velcro type strap fasteners or utilizing any substance other than which the shin guard is made of shall be forbidden.
  • Forbidden techniques: 1) Elbow and forearm strikes of any kind 2) Heel Hook 3) Twisters/Sit through crucifix and/or any submission deemed as applying pressure to the spine 4) Knees to the head at any point.
  • Contestant’s Physical Appearance: Each contestant must be clean and present a tidy appearance. The commission’s representative shall determine whether head or facial hair presents any hazard to the safety of the contestant or his opponent or will interfere with the supervision and conduct of the contest.
  • There shall be at least 1 GMC Registered Doctor and a minimum of 2 paramedics present at all events.
  • All promoters must provide medical information, facilities and equipment, including, but not limited to a stretcher and emergency oxygen, adequate for emergency occasions, and an ambulance for each event.

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