What safety precautions do major MMA promoters take when they come to Ireland?

Promoters BAMMA tell Newstalk about its medical precautions and facilities ahead of its June event in Dublin's 3Arena

BY Joseph Conroy 17:00 Friday 22 April 2016, 17:00 22 Apr 2016

INPHO/Gary Carr 

The debate which followed the death of Portuguese fighter João Carvalho was dominated by calls for mixed martial arts (MMA) to be regulated in Ireland. As long as the rapidly-growing sport remains unrecognised, the onus falls on promoters to self-regulate.

BAMMA 26 will be the first major MMA event in Ireland since the spotlight has been re-focused on the safety issues surrounding the sport, and the promoter has outlined its medical plans to Newstalk.


On the night of the event, the British promoters will create the equivalent of an Emergency Department Resuscitation Room in the 3Arena, which will allow doctors to "carry out everything up to minor surgery on site, almost instantly" if necessary.

Four doctors will be in the arena throughout the event who are trained to the standard of either an emergency medical consultant or a specialist registrar in emergency medicine.

There will also be two advanced nurse practitioners, advanced paramedics and paramedics, as well as three ambulances on site.

Fighters who are knocked out, on the wrong end of a technical knockout loss, or involved in bouts which raise the concerns of the doctors will be "transported in an emergency ambulance staffed by highly trained advanced paramedics to the Beacon Hospital."

If it is deemed to be necessary, fighters can also be transported to the national centre for neurosurgery at Beaumont Hospital.

The fully equipped hospital standard resuscitation and treatment facility will cover the following injuries:

  • Head/spinal injury management including Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and advanced airway provisions.
  • ENT/Eye injury including nasal packing eye irrigation.
  • Extremity injury including suspected fracture/dislocation reduction and immobilisation
  • Wound management including suturing, stapling, and glueing
  • Pain management including local anaesthesia,&nbspentonox, opiate, andanalgesia.
  • General emergency management including Advanced Cardiac Life Support defibrillation 12-lead ECG oxygen therapy.>

Fighters taking part in the event will undergo an extensive pre-fight medical as set down by Safe MMA - a UK body set up to standardise the safety protocols observed by promoters.

They will also be required to undergo a pre-fight medical on the day of the bout and a post-fight medical after they fight.

The company says that it has a "24-hour facility to carry out appropriate fighter medical examination by competent doctors accompanied by blood tests, CT (X-ray computed tomography) or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) checks as necessary, in the case of a last minute fighter change."

BAMMA notes that the medical operation which it will have in place goes beyond Safe MMA's guidelines.

For the UFC, the rules are slightly different as when they visit Dublin, they operate under the rules of the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Standardising MMA in Ireland

BAMMA says that the John Kavanagh-fronted Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) will have no involvement in the June 4th event.

It has expressed its desire to become the governing body for the sport in Ireland, and on Thursday SBGi head coach John Kavanagh confirmed that the association has held "positive" and "meaningful" talks with Government officials with regards to regulating mixed martial arts.


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