[Pictured above: Paddy Pimblett at Cage Warriors]
Voluntary medical organisation, SAFE MMA, has been recognised as a charity by the The Charity Commission in the United Kingdom, and was entered onto the Register of Charities on 19 December 2018.
Founded in 2012, the SAFE MMA project was born for the public benefit of protecting the health and safety of athletes taking part in MMA (mixed martial arts) competitions through the provision of centralised, third-party medical screening and record-keeping services which are available to the public; and the provision of independent medical advice and information to athletes.
SAFE MMA was conceived in response to the lack of any regulation or medical standards for MMA in the United Kingdom. Founders included Dr. Jack Kreindler and other leading sports medicine professionals from the Centre of Health and Human Performance (CHHP) in London, alongside independent representatives from the MMA community, world-renowned referee Marc Goddard and veteran competitor Rosi Sexton. They were crucially joined by representatives from UK leading promotions, including Cage Warriors and BAMMA, which have remained project affiliates up until today. The cross-promotional agreement to
• recognise and adhere to an agreed level of medical clearance for competitors,
• to share medical data and suspensions with a central, independent body for clearance and record keeping,
• and to observe shared medical suspensions
enabled the establishment of a first unified standard for MMA in the region.
Today SAFE MMA provides services for athletes competing across affiliated promotions in the UK and Ireland, including international promotions visiting the region such as Bellator and KSW. It works with younger, regional governing bodies, the Irish Amateur MMA Association, the Ulster Amateur MMA Association and the United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation and internationally with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.
The recognition of SAFE MMA as a charity observes its activities as non-profit making, and its primary objectives as philanthropy and social well-being. While membership fees cover the costs of administration, the work of the medical committee, project management and all other support remains entirely voluntary. This recognition will help the development of the project by opening opportunities for support, consultancy and funding, including from public bodies, in turn benefitting the athletes on whose behalf it was founded. SAFE MMA is now able to give the public the assurance of it being monitored by The Charity Commission as it works to meet best practice in good governance and sport integrity.
Trustees of the project are founding volunteers Marc Goddard (world renowned MMA referee and Head of Regulatory Affairs at International Mixed Martial Arts Federation), Isobel (Izzy) Carnwath (Director of Brand & Communications at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) and Dr. Jack Kreindler (CHHP).
Founder and Charity Trustee, Marc Goddard said:
“To say that SAFE MMA will forever be close to my heart would a huge understatement. The premise of setting the original initiative up and getting this off the ground was and always will be about fighter safety.
“I recall fondly the day of the launch, when many before us had thought it would not be possible to be able to stand before select members of the MMA community and launch such an initiative – a new level and base marker for safety. Fast forward many years and I give thanks to each and every affiliated promotion, both those who originally held the fledgling project together and those who have contributed since. This day is for you.
“I’m so proud and full of thanks. Simply nothing could better the original achievement of setting up the project than for it to be recognised as a charity today. The Safe MMA core value of integrity has led us to this very day and long may we continue. My sincerest thanks.”
Ian Dean, matchmaker for Cage Warriors said:
“I’m pleased that all of SAFE MMA’s hard work has been recognised formally by The Charity Commission. There’s no doubt in my mind that the organisation has the best intentions for the athletes and I’m proud that Cage Warriors is a part of it, and I look forward to seeing it grow in the future.”
Jude Samuel, Bellator European Matchmaker, Head of Talent Development and former BAMMA VP of Talent Relations said:
“It all started as a passion piece and has been an amazing journey. To see how far athlete safety has come since we all first sat down to agree on the baseline procedures has been gratifying. Each individual has played an important role in the education of those that we serve to protect. This could not have been done without the support of the athletes, their coaches, managers and all the individuals involved from the initial meetings to those pushing the initiative forward today. We still have a way to go to get this beloved sport of ours to the place we think it should be. So, we must continue to push forward because it is within our reach. We never thought SAFE MMA would have made the impact that it has today, so the possibilities of what we can achieve is limitless.”
Founder and Charity Trustee, Dr. Jack Kreindler, said:
“Attaining status as a UK Charity is a great achievement for SAFE MMA and recognition of the extraordinary amount of hard work and volunteering for many years. I am delighted to have received this news from the Charities Commission and look forward to seeing more initiatives to help more people benefit from MMA as an ever safer sport.”