The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF), the world governing body for the sport of amateur MMA, has agreed to postpone its court hearing with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It had been scheduled for the Tribunal d’Arrondissement in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 4, 2019.
“After a unanimous decision of the IMMAF board, we have agreed to a postponement of approximately 4 months to allow WADA time to review the current procedure for a sport organisation to become a signatory,” IMMAF CEO Densign White said. “While IMMAF will continue to monitor the situation closely, we have acted in good faith to press pause on legal action while WADA reviews these procedures. We want to work in partnership with key stakeholders in sport.”
“We would like to thank WADA for the open and fair approach and underline our commitment to Clean Sport as a code compliant sport,” White continued. “Without being a WADA signatory, IMMAF’s sanctions are easily bypassed with a resulting detrimental impact on our athletes, their safety and the sport of MMA.”
In 2015, IMMAF first implemented an anti-doping policy based on the World Anti-Doping Code and Standards. In-competition testing was introduced at its international Amateur MMA tournaments, commencing with the 2015 IMMAF World Championships.
To develop an anti-doping policy and program, IMMAF works with the internationally renowned expert consultancy Sporting Integrity Ltd, which is headed by Michele Verroken. However, IMMAF applied for signatory status but the WADA rejected it so the former challenged the decision in the ordinary Swiss Courts.
“IMMAF’s application to WADA marks an important step in its work to see the sport of MMA become recognized by the Sport Movement,” White explained. “The Anti-doping programme that IMMAF already implements is an important part of ensuring athlete safety and fairness in our sport. Signing up to WADA is part of our ongoing efforts to secure official recognition as a sport.”
“This is a crucial milestone to promote development, open access to funding, professional services and our authority to safeguard participants,” White continued. “Our drive for recognition is a number one priority for the good of our sport, our federations and our athletes.”
Meanwhile, here is legendary MMA referee Marc Goddard talking about 2019 IMMAF European Championships: