IMMAF WADA, MMA Federation files lawsuit against World Anti-Doping Agency, Densign White

IMMAF CEO Densign White

IMMAF Receives WADA Code signatory status as chase for IOC recognition resumes

A big hurdle in the Olympic mission has been crossed for the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). Announced today, IMMAF has been awarded World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code signatory status. This means that IMMAF has put in place proper drug testing that is recommended by the International Olympic Committee. This is a step towards recognition by the IOC and will allow IMMAF to move on to the next hurdle on joining the Olympic Games in 2028 as their goals are stated.

The president of WADA, Witold Banka, is happy to announce the joining of IMMAF by WADA and says that the process that the organization has gone through is just as strenuous as the other 600 sports part of the WADA Code.

“WADA is pleased to welcome the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation into the Clean Sport community. In signing the Code, it joins the more than 600 sports organizations that have already pledged their support to the harmonized global anti-doping movement. We would particularly like to acknowledge the efforts that have been made by IMMAF to bring this to fruition. In order to gain approval under the terms of the revised policy, the federation needed to go through a stringent process. This included the assessment by independent experts of its level of good governance, a review of its application by WADA’s newly created Signatory Expert Group – which is independent from WADA Management – and the completion of an extensive Code Compliance Questionnaire to demonstrate the quality of their anti-doping program. This is a positive step for IMMAF and its athletes, who will now enjoy the protection afforded by the Code.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown on WADA

The president of IMMAF, Kerrith Brown, speaks on the historic first by the IMMAF and WADA being the first international organization to receive recognition by the agency. While the accolades are nice, Brown says the mission is ultimately about the athletes.

“As the first international sports governing body to complete WADA’s new application process, we have set a new benchmark not just for MMA, but for sport. Today, IMMAF can be proud that its gold standard in clean MMA has been formally recognized, guaranteeing transparency, fairness and safety to our athletes and empowering us to implement further improvements in governance. This sees IMMAF become the only international federation for MMA with WADA signatory status, following six years adherence to WADA compliant anti-doping regulation. Today’s result is not only a significant achievement for IMMAF but also for our national federations which have contributed to this journey, and it will surely strengthen their bids for national sport recognition.”

Densign White, IMMAF’s CEO, touts the long journey through the process and is proud of all that the organization has done. He says, “It’s been a long journey these past years to achieve the standard required for signatory status. This recognition sets a benchmark for our sport and also marks a historical step change in WADA’s recognition process, with IMMAF being the first international federation to be accepted under the new WADA Code as revised in January. The new code sets new higher standards in protecting athletes and creating the level playing field we all want. This will also be fantastic news for all our national federations as it validates their credibility as members of an international federation that has sport integrity at its heart.”

Michele Verroken, who is IMMAF’s Anti-Doping consultant, talks about the prioritizing IMMAF has done to make the sport a clean one. “Achieving WADA Code signatory status has been a genuine team commitment across the whole organization. This demonstrates just how serious IMMAF is about clean and safe MMA for amateur athletes and how doping has no place in our sport. I am truly grateful to be working with an international federation that prioritizes athlete welfare and the integrity of competition.”

The Path To The Olympics

The path to the Olympics has been rough for IMMAF but this recognition by WADA has been in the makings for years. IMMAF has had to take WADA to court over the policies it used to police and accept athletic foundations and they to have come to an agreement with each other.

Next up for Brown, the IMMAF and the sport is to become recognized by the IOC, who holds it’s next meeting in 2023. Much like kickboxing, Muay Thai and Sambo just before the 2020 Olympic Games, the IMMAF is hoping to have it’s sport recognized by the IOC as the next step to joining the Games in 2028. If IMMAF can accomplish this, it would only be a matter of lobbying for Los Angeles in 2028 and making sure the sport lives up to the ambiguous IOC Olympic Charter. How that happens is a mystery and will take more than one sit down meeting with the IOC to get in compliance with.

Stay posted to My MMA News for all the latest surrounding the Olympics, IMMAF, and WADA. Thanks for reading!

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Blaine Henry
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it.