MMA medical event today marks developments for the sport in Ireland

Safe MMA Ireland, the regional arm of volunteer medical advisory body Safe MMA, is hosting the third edition of it’s groundbreaking medical lecture series today, spearheaded by consultant neurologist Professor Dan Healy.

Taking place at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, today’s programme is as follows:

CTE in MMA
What it is, will I get it, and how to minimise risk: a practical guide
Prof Daniel Healy
Consultant Neurologist

SAFEMMA IRELAND
Open agenda; questions and answers session
Ms Aisling Daly, SAFEMMA Ireland

The first installment of the lecture series 2 years ago (on Saturday 24th January 2015) was politically significant as it was attended by Senator Catherine Noone, who gave a talk in which she U-turned on her previous call for a ban of MMA and pledged to back its regulation in parliament.

Today’s event is expected to be equally politically significant.

Members of the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association (IMMAA), headed by John Kavanagh, will be in attendance as the national regulatory body also hosts an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) onsite. The EGM has been called over the elections of new board members following recent resignations from former Chairman Paul Cowzer, as well as Vice-President Andy Ryan who stepped down citing time constraints and expressing full support of IMMAA moving forward.

A key topic at both the EGM and public forum is expected to be IMMAA and Safe MMA Ireland’s recent recommendation for the introduction of pre-clearance brain scans for amateurs in 2017, which has divided opinion in some quarters.

In 2016 IMMAA broke ground with its requirement for all professional competitors to undergo MRI/ MRA brain scans in order to be medically cleared to compete in MMA matches. The move was supported by consensus from the MMA community and to-date the community has self-regulated its implementation with a 100% success rate. Following the recent recommendation for amateurs to undergo a one-off, pre-clearance brain scan, IMMAA is to use Cage Legacy’s February 11 event in Drogheda as a first test case. Due to cost concerns, Professor Dan Healy has worked to secure charitably priced brain scans for MMA competitors at €150 at Bon Secours Hospital.

Today’s public event is expected to provide a forum for both IMMAA and Safe MMA Ireland to address questions from the Irish MMA community and media, regarding the development of MMA and its regulation.

Notably, it has been reported that there will again be government representation. Also, Rodney Moore will be in attendance on behalf of the Ulster Amateur MMA Association, which is supported by its local government.

Image: Professor Dan Healy talks through “How the Brain Actually Processes in a Fight” with fighter Owen Roddy, using a blown-up MRI scan of Conor McGregor’s brain at the ‘Injuries in MMA’ event in 2015

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