Marc Goddard, one of the best referees in the world of professional mixed martial arts, is leading the charge to make International Mixed Martial Arts Federation an outstanding reference in the field of regulatory governance. He has become an icon of MMA after working exclusively in the sport for 20 years, 16 of which as an official.
“The future of our sport and the portrayal and perception of it remains so important to me,” Goddard said. “The effect that officials and the entire subject of regulatory affairs has is a crucial element in seeing and realizing that goal fulfilled.”
Goddard has been the referee at world title fights for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in front of 60,000 people and many other high-profile bouts across the world. He was also a promoter, coach and athlete before that.
In 2011, Goddard was part of the founding team for Safe MMA, a United Kingdom-based charity that set the first medical standard for MMA in the region. He became a trustee in 2018.
Since 2012, Goddard has become integral to the development of amateur MMA through his work with the IMMAF as the director of regulatory affairs. He also stands as the president of the newly created English Mixed Martial Arts Association.
In 2019, Goddard has been serving as the chairman of the IMMAF Regulatory Affairs Commission, a position he will hold until 2023. In the same period, the members of the commission are Guillaume Bravo, Asse Hokkanen, Peter Hickmott, Maria Makhmutova and Clemens Werner.
The primary role of the IMMAF Regulatory Affairs Commission is to develop universal protocol for safe, amateur MMA competition. The importance of the regulatory aspect of the sport means that the commission is involved in virtually every aspect of the sport, from developing new rules and regulations, providing technical and safety guidelines for the sport as well as progression pathways and education for officials.
Also, the commission provides guidance for member federations involved in professional event sanctioning under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. It is also closely involved in other policy discussions, such as the development of an IMMAF policy for transgender competition and technical matters such as the development of the perfect competition cage.
“It is my duty that everyone involved in this area employs the highest of standards and integrity,” Goddard said. “You are what you do and leading from the front with that always in mind shall stand us in the strongest of steads.”