By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
Taking place in Bangkok, Thailand, the 2018 SportAccord Convention provided a valuable opportunity for the IMMAF leadership to network with influential figures from across several international combat sport bodies, in addition to meeting with head figures of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), to discuss the status of IMMAF’s application with a view to earning membership among the recognized sports community.
Following the amalgamation of the International MMA Federation (IMMAF) and the World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA), IMMAF President Mr. Kerrith Brown and Chief Executive Mr. Densign White were officially joined by WMMAA President Mr. Vadim Finkelchtein on a united front for the first time.
MEETING WITH GAISF
On April 18, the IMMAF-WMMAA team met with GAISF bosses: Mr. Patrick Baumann (GAISF President), Mr. Antonio Espinos, (Chairman of the Membership Commission) and Mr. David Delphi (Membership Project Manager). IMMAF’s current status, advances and required steps were outlined.
Speaking with IMMAF.org, Mr. White explained: “With IMMAF and WMMAA having combined our efforts and resources, we have eliminated the primary block that had been placed in front of us, that of ‘rivalry’. We are now in a much stronger position to push forward with a vastly expanded membership network.
“It has now come to a point in the process where we turn to the international federations in order to provide a collective report, following a mandate to provide data from the individual national levels.
“Data on key issues such as injury statistics and refereeing standards at the national level has been requested for a tight June deadline, but all IMMAF members have been contacted and the replies are steadily coming in.”
PROGRESSION WITH WADA
Also at the Sport Accord Convention, IMMAF’s Kerrith Brown and Densign White met with WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie. In February, IMMAF filed a civil lawsuit against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in the ordinary Swiss courts in Lausanne. IMMAF is disputing the rejection of its application to become a WADA signatory on the grounds of infringement to its personality rights according to Swiss law.
“Kerrith and I met with WADA President, Sir Craig Reedie, in Bangkok. An amicable conclusion is what we hope to achieve and Mr. Reedie shares this hope. However, he clearly expressed that his hands are tied due to this unofficial understanding that WADA can only act based on the advice of GAISF, who have seemingly not given them a green light to accept IMMAF. This, of course, takes us back to the reasons for filing the lawsuit.”
“WADA acceptance opens so many doors,” he added. WADA affiliation undoubtedly removes hurdles and opens significant doors towards eventual GAISF membership.
On May 31, the lawyers of IMMAF and WADA will take part in a mediation meeting to explore possible resolutions. However, Mr. White, who will attend the meeting in addition to a WADA representative, made clear: “Signatory status is all that IMMAF is looking for, anything less will not be acceptable.”