Irish Amateur Pankration Association now recognised under IMMAF


The IAPA (Irish Amateur Pankration Association) and are now officially recognised under IMMAF and will be supported by the UFC.

The IMMAF (International Mixed Martial Arts Federation) is the international democratic governing body and association for the sport of MMA.

The UFC are major supporters and have worked closely with the IMMAF in helping getting the IAPA in place in Ireland.

For the IAPA to get recognised by the IMMAF they had to do a number of things which they have done like appointing a board and more. Under the IMMAF they can now use and implement consistent amateur rulings for fights in Ireland that are used around the rest of the world.

The creation of the IAPA should help MMA get further recognised by the minister for sport and the government.

UPDATE: (2nd April 2015) IMMAF have confirmed the news via this statement.

“The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation is pleased to officially confirm the recent affiliation of the Republic of Ireland under the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA). The news was broken yesterday by Irish media outlet, Severe MMA , as revealed by UFC Senior Vice President and General Manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa, David Allen, during the UFC’s visit to Dublin to promote UFC 189: Aldo vs McGregor.

Ireland consists of two political regions, Northern Ireland, which forms part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland in the south. The former Mixed Martial Arts Federation of Ireland (MMAFI) which aimed to oversee MMA in both regions, re-launched as the Ulster Amateur MMA Association in January of this year with its remit narrowed to the governance of Northern Ireland only.  While the MMAFI had maintained the support of the Northern Irish government, the MMA community in the southern Republic faced a different political landscape. For this reason it was concluded by MMA community leaders from both regions that the North and South of Ireland needed separate governance.

The Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) was formed in late 2014 with the stated purpose of “creating a framework where Irish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and its associate clubs, coaches & fighters, would become recognised as a legitimate sport in Ireland…under the all-encompassing umbrella of the Irish Sporting Council (ISC).”

Its founders firstly worked to create of a National Body of Associated Clubs, and then a National Governing Body focused on the Amateur and recreational sides of the sport. The movement has won great support from gyms and coaches across the Republic of Ireland. This was well illustrated by the impressive turnout at January’s “Injury Prevention in MMA” event in Dublin, part organized by IAPA founder and president John Kavanagh. Kavanagh is best known as a world leading MMA coach at Ireland’s Straight Blast Gym, with names that include Conor McGregor, Gunnar Nelson and Aisling Daly among his roster.

The new organisation has taken its name from its association with the 60 year old Irish Amateur Wrestling Association (IAWA). The IAWA is Ireland’s National Governing Body for wrestling and associated grappling arts, including Pankration. It was through a positive working relationship with the IAWA that the Irish Amateur Pankration Association was enabled to form a MMA sub-committee.

IAPA spokesperson Deano Sullivan commented:

“’The Irish Amateur Pankration Association is delighted to have officially become a member of the International MMA Federation. We hope to work closely with our international colleagues to promote and support the development of MMA during these very exciting times.”

IMMAF CEO Densign White said:

“We are happy to welcome the IAPA to IMMAF and very much look forward to seeing the Republic of Ireland represented at the IMMAF World Championships of Amateur MMA in Las Vegas this year.””


Here is a post with more details on the IAPA from their Facebook page back in December 2014

“The Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) was formed in the second half of 2014 with the express purpose of creating a framework where Irish Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and its associate clubs, coaches & fighters, would become recognised as a legitimate sport in Ireland. While many might argue that MMA is without question already a recognised sport, unfortunately under then-present Irish sporting legislature it was not considered a sport under the all-encompassing umbrella of the Irish Sporting Council (ISC).

The ISC itself was created in 1999 to regulate ALL competitive and recreational sports in Ireland. Unfortunately, up until now MMA fell outside its jurisdiction! This quite obviously was potentially problematic re issues such as insurance, sports and local council support, and general sporting recognition and achievement. Then, with the recent mainstream exposure prompted by the great success of Irish MMA athletes such as Conor McGregor, Neil Seery, Norman Parke, Paddy Holohan, Ais Daly, Cathal Pendred & Chris Fields, something obviously needed to be done that granted Irish MMA recognition as a sport and created a framework where MMA could be insured like any other sport, regulated like any other sport, and supported at both governmental and local council level, just like any other sport. All of these things are essential to protect both athletes and coaches, and to ensure that MMA is allowed to grow to its full potential here in Ireland. As such, the very first step in this process was the creation of a National Body of Associated Clubs, and then a National Governing Body (NGB) to get the ball rolling. Thus, the IAPA was formed.

As a quick aside, the word Pankration refers to the very first historical form of Mixed Martial Arts, which was practiced over 2000 years ago in the Olympic Games. Olympic Boxing and Wrestling are both well-known sports, but there was also a mixed sport where both striking and wrestling were used by athletes and this sport was called Pankration. Because of the soon to be explained association between the IAPA and the Irish Amateur Wrestling Association (IAWA) it was decided that using the term Pankration was poignant and appropriate at this time.

(The IAWA is the NGB for wrestling and associated grappling arts, including Pankration ( For more information on just how the NGBs work, read here – (

Through our good working relationship with the IAWA we were able to form an MMA sub-committee under their guidance to govern the ever growing number of clubs/athletes with an interest in Wrestling, Pankration and Amateur MMA. It is a great honour for us to have the support and backing of one of the oldest associations in Ireland, itself with an Olympic sporting history stretching back over 60 years.
Clubs interested in joining the Irish Amateur Pankration Association must meet a number of criteria:

1) Acceptance of the IAPA/IAWA constitution
2) Affiliation with the IAWA
3) Adequate, up-to-date insurance
4) A Level 1 coaching license from the IAWA (or an undertaking to sit the course at the next available opportunity)
5) Fully Garda vetted coaching staff (or an undertaking to have all coaches vetted immediately through the IAWA)
6) Active participation as a club in amateur full rules MMA events

Coaches and clubs interested in joining the IAPA please FB Message here or email me at [email protected]

All relevant forms and documents will be sent to applicants asap…

John Kavanagh (President IAPA)

Deano Wade (General Secretary IAPA)”

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