Since getting observation member status in June 2012 the Mixed Martial Arts Federation Ireland (MMAFI) has focused on gaining political support for the sport and the federation, and last week this hard work paid off as the MMAFI made a major breakthrough. On Wednesday the 13th of March an unprecedented meeting took place between representatives of the MMAFI and the Minister for Culture and Sport, Carál Ní Chuilín. The Minister gave her full backing to the establishment of a recognized governing body and was excited about the growing prospects for amateur MMA in Ireland. The Minister instructed the Sports Council representative at the meeting to develop the necessary process for the establishment of the MMAFI into a governing body and to give priority to this task.
In the meeting the Minister also expressed her intent to support national championships later this year after the process of formal recognition is complete. The Minster recently published the first ever strategy for boxing in Ireland and wants to pursue the possibility of producing something similar for amateur MMA in cooperation with the MMAFI.
“We are very happy and relieved as this is a momentous step forward for MMA in Ireland and for the MMAFI as an established national sports federation” says Mr. Peter Lavery, Interim Chair of the MMAFI. “Our work has very much hinged on this cooperation with the Ministry moving forward, and now that we got this final piece in the jigsaw tied down we can focus on communication and getting the organization properly set up to meet Sports Council demands.”
Mr Lavery, one of Irelands most prominent MMA Officials, has been instrumental in engaging leaders of the Irish MMA community with the IMMAF and getting a federation in place, alongside Mr. Danny Corr. Mr. Corr, world sport jujitsu champion and leading martial arts coach in Ireland, has over 30 years’ experience in martial arts and was early on competing in many mixed rules tournaments before the name MMA became commonly used. Awarded numerous times for his services to the community and martial arts, he was inducted into the Belfast Sporting Hall of Fame in 2011 as the first martial artist ever to take place there. Lavery, Corr and the volunteers they have engaged with the MMAFI are all devoted to ensuring safe practices of MMA in Ireland and recognition of the sport from the grass-roots up.
“Official cooperation with the Ministry of Sports has helped in engaging the MMA community and making everyone see that coming together and getting properly organized is the only way forward for the sport. In the coming week we will launch a web page which will allow clubs and coaches to officially register for tentative membership, thus starting the process of securing the membership base of the federation” says Mr. Corr.
Participants in the meeting: Mr. Steven Corr, Belfast City Council; Carál Ní Chuilín, Minister of Sports; Mr. Danny Corr and Peter Lavery, representing the MMAFI.