MMA is NOT the Gold Standard.

Written by on January 4, 2022

The recent announcement by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) that it has been awarded WADA Code signatory status by the World Anti-Doping Agency comes as great news for them in their quest to ultimately become an Olympic sport.

But behind all the “huffing-&-puffing” of the various governing body’s statements, what does this all truly mean in the context of MMA right here in South Africa?

Well the short answer is “absolutely nothing”!

Let me explain. 

Back in early 2017 at the MMASA AGM held in Brakpan, the then MMASA Board minuted that random drug testing would be implemented at Amateur events but only after there had been an anti-doping seminar conducted for all clubs and athletes. The plan was to hold the first of these seminars in April of 2017. (SEE Surprise, Surprise mother f*ckers ……..that never happened! 

Since then there has not been a single random drug test at any Amateur event held here in South Africa – ever!

So where does the “harmonized global anti-doping movement” come from that WADA President Witold Bańka made mention of? What was “included [in] the assessment by independent experts of its level of good governance” or the “extensive Code Compliance Questionnaire [used] to demonstrate the quality of their anti-doping program”? There most certainly is no doping governance at all within the Amateur sport on MMA here in South Africa! This is an outright lie!

This must clearly only apply to international events! Surely an international federation should be the sum of its many parts…..clearly not at IMMAF. Just like the structures of MMASA, the laws exist only for them to be used when and where it suits.

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown should not be making statements like “IMMAF can be proud that its gold standard in clean MMA has been formally recognised, guaranteeing transparency, fairness and safety to our athletes and empowering us to implement further improvements in governance.” None of this exists within the structures of MMASA despite the fact that a serving Director of the IMMAF Board sits as the current President of MMASA! It is a joke and shows that what happens at the international level has zero factual relevance to what is happening on the ground around the world.

Looking ahead to 2022, nothing will change on the Amateur MMA landscape. The reason nothing will change is because there is no MONEY. No money to grow the sport, no money to implement random drug-testing and no money to send the National MMA team to the World Championships.

A sport’s future is firmly in the hands of those that look to selflessly build it, mould it and hone it into a viable place for our young children to learn and develop. When politics, ego and power-mongering are the key drivers, that sport is doomed to become one that is driven, financed and developed by parents, friends and family. Nothing more!

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