London: The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is proud to announce that it has been awarded WADA Code signatory status by the World Anti-Doping Agency, becoming the first organization to do so under the revised Policy for Acceptance of New Signatories that came into effect at the beginning of 2021.
IMMAF’s application was reviewed under the revised policy, which was approved by WADA’s Executive Committee in September 2020 and came into force at the same time as the revised Code on 1 January 2021.
WADA President Witold Bańka commented: “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 said: “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.”
IMMAF CEO Densign White said: “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.”
IMMAF Anti-Doping Consultant, Michele Verroken, of Sporting Integrity said: “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 IMMAF President and CEO were united in thanking WADA President, Mr. Bańka, and WADA director Sébastien Gillot and team for their support throughout the application process over the previous two years. They thanked the IMMAF board and administration team for their work, and most notably IMMAF Anti-doping Consultant Michele Verroken for her commitment to raising IMMAF’s Anti-doping practice to a world-class level and seeing the application process over the line, despite challenges. The leadership thanked sponsors UFC and Green Hill for their belief in IMMAF and thanked UFC COO Lawrence Epstein and team for their ongoing support.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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