Minister for Sport speaks to Off The Ball in the wake of the passing of fighter Joao Carvalho at a Dublin event
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring says he has had major concerns about MMA events in Ireland and says an investigation will take place into the death of MMA fighter Joao Carvalho.
In the wake of the Portuguese fighter's death following a mixed-martial arts event in Dublin on Saturday night, Minister Ring said he had written 17 letters to organisations to ask for greater safety measures amid concerns over a lack of regulation.
He was speaking to Off The Ball tonight and says he "wouldn't be one of the biggest fans of the sport" and that there will be an investigation.
"The State will have an obligation, like any sudden death or any death in the country, there will be, I'm sure, a coroner's report and I'm sure there will be some sort of investigation. I'd expect that investigation would come quickly," he said, before turning to the issue of regulation.
"On the 20th of February 2014, before this event ever happened, I wrote to 17 organisations and these were commercial operators that were running for profit events in Ireland. I wrote to the 17 of them and I outlined to them that I expected the same kind of safety standards that existed for other sports such as rugby, horse racing and professional boxing. I am concerned and I have been concerned. And I've been concerned about the growth of this sport and the way that it's unregulated. It needs to be regulated."
Ring says an investigation is imminent, points to the fact that MMA is not recognised by Sport Ireland.— Off The Ball (@offtheball) April 12, 2016
He also says that the issue of regulation will be something he will discuss with the Sports Council.
"In fact I contacted John Treacy three weeks ago in relation to another event that was taking place and I was quite concerned about that event being held in a stadium in this country," he said, adding that he himself "did predict something what happened this week would happen and it did happen".
Ring: "I saw this coming down the line before you did or anyone else did... I saw the dangers of this sport coming"— Off The Ball (@offtheball) April 12, 2016
Minister Ring also expressed his sympathies to Carvalho and his family.