The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) successfully partnered with medical consultancy and non-profit services provider, Safe MMA, for athlete medical clearance for the IMMAF European Open Championships.

The British hosted event at the Walsall Centre, from November 19 to 22,  marked the first in IMMAF’s Continental Open series.

Housed at the Centre of Health and Human Performance at 76 Harley Street in London, Safe MMA is a UK based voluntary led organisation. It was founded by promoters in 2012 to address medical risk to professional MMA athletes, in view of there being no regulation of the sport within the UK and Ireland. It forms the medical consultancy and athlete clearance arm of the United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UKMMAF).

Safe MMA clearance to compete requires that all athletes pass an annual medical examination plus blood tests for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. Athlete medical data is reviewed and held by Safe MMA as an independent third party and medical suspensions are observed by all promoters that join up to the scheme.

The IMMAF European Open saw 156 Amateur athletes compete, all of whom were medically cleared as part of their registration process.  It also saw the creation of an IMMAF Amateur ‘medically clear’ database, which uses a green light system to mark athletes as medically approved for competition. British and Irish athletes are now also publically listed (on request) in the UK & Ireland Safe MMA ‘clear’ list, in a first for Amateur athletes in the region. See UK and Ireland list: http://publish.smartsheet.com/9cfc583421024daebcd9d31a0ac9e620

The medical clearance system will be implemented for all IMMAF competitions moving forward.


Onsite medical care at the IMMAF European Open was independently led by experts Dr. Chris Lam, Dr. Mark Banks and paramedic company owner, Tom Quinn, renowned on the MMA circuit for their work with the UFC in EMEA territories. The medical provision met and exceeded UKMMAF requirements.

Dr. Chris Lam designed the at event Pre/ Post –Fight Medical form for IMMAF use, and the form has since been approved and adopted by the UKMMAF and Safe MMA as the new standard, leaving behind a legacy in the United Kingdom.

Athlete medical suspensions prescribed by the team will be published onto the IMMAF ‘medically clear’ database, to be made public via the IMMAF website shortly. Not only will the database be used for future IMMAF athlete clearance, but it will provide reference for coaches and promoters working to promote athlete safety and minimise risk.


In-competition Anti-doping tests were carried out at the Finals of the IMMAF European Open. The tests were conducted under the charge of consultant Michelle Verroken of Sporting Integrity, in line with IMMAF’s WADA compliant Anti-doping policy.

IAPA to hold Irish Amateur Team Tryouts Under Safe MMA-Ireland


(London.24th September 2015) The Irish Amateur Pankration Association, the governing body for mixed martial arts in the Republic of Ireland, has announced that its national Amateur team tryouts will be held under the directives of SafeMMA-Ireland.

SafeMMA- Ireland is the Irish branch of UK based voluntary medical consultancy and non-profit services provider, Safe MMA, which was founded to address medical risk to MMA athletes in view of there being no regulation of the sport within the UK.

Under Safe MMA guidelines, minimum medical safety requirements for MMA events include the presence of a qualified doctor, alongside a paramedic team, to conduct pre/ post fight medical examinations and to issue injury suspensions. Athlete medical suspensions are published and voluntarily honoured by all promoters electing to work with the scheme. Also under the protocol, professional competitors must have completed an annual medical examination and provided clear blood test results for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

The Safe MMA promoter’s agreement was originally founded by professional MMA promoters. It remains a professional standard that competitors must forgo the costs of an annual medical examination and blood tests, under the latterly formed IAPA and United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation. Promoters of Amateur MMA matches have been slower to comply with voluntary regulation, particularly medical clearance criteria due to cited costs to unpaid athletes. However Safe MMA’s onsite event guidelines have been widely adopted across Amateur events in Republic of Ireland, where there has been pressure from the Irish government for all sports to demonstrate adherence to safety standards.

In demanding Safe MMA vetting of Amateur athletes to compete in the Irish Team Trials, the IAPA is taking a progressive step for grassroots mixed martial arts within the region.  The decision follows the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s adoption of Safe MMA medical clearance services for Amateur athletes competing in IMMAF international competitions.

The IAPA Irish Team Trials take place on Sunday, October 11 at SBGi gym headquarters, under IMMAF Amateur MMA rules. Successful athletes will represent the Republic of Ireland at the IMMAF European Open Championships taking place 19 -22 November in Birmingham (UK).

Participation in IMMAF championships not only creates the opportunity for athletes to medal internationally, but also to figure in the IMMAF Amateur MMA rankings now watched by leading matchmakers worldwide. The IMMAF European Open Championships will be broadcast on UFC FIGHT PASS and international television.

For more information about the Irish Team Trials visit: http://www.immafirishtrials.com/

Amateur MMA athletes wishing to compete in IMMAF competitions, please contact your national federation for team tryouts information: http://www.immaf.org/members/members-immaf/