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Cage Warriors on board with SAFE MMA

25/10/2012

(SAFE MMA press release: London,October 25, 2012) The Centre of Health and Human Performance at 76 Harley Street, London, is proud to announce the launch of SAFE MMA.

SAFE MMA is a not-for-profit organisation established to improve the safety of MMA fighters in the UK. Under the SAFE MMA banner, the medical centre provides a secure, centralised and confidential database for fighter medical records, and coordinates affordable, standardised blood and medical tests for all registered fighters. Additionally, SAFE MMA members will have access to advice from leading world experts in sports medicine.

UK promotions Cage Warriors, BAMMA and UCMMA united to help found the project and have agreed that from January 1, 2013, all fighters on their cards must be registered to SAFE MMA and undergo annual medical tests and bi-annual blood tests. The promotions have agreed only to use fighterswho are deemed medically safe to fight under the SAFE MMA (green light) system and not to use fighters who are suspended due to injuries, such as concussion, or who are overdue for blood tests, for example.

Additionally, the promotions have pledged to have medical professionals carry out pre- and post-fight tests with all results to be submitted to the confidential medical database at 76 Harley Street. Medical data will never be transmitted to anyone but SAFE MMA will be able to give a rapid and all-hours service to inform authorised promotions of who is medically safe to fight and who needs to be rechecked, at the time of enquiry.

Nominal annual registration fees for fighters (£235 + GP medical), fighters’ gyms (£60 - £240) and new promotions (£600) cover the running costs of the project, which is not for profit; and annual accounts will be published publicly on the SAFE MMA website. All other UK promotions will be able to apply for Safe MMA membership.

The British Medical Association now wants MMA banned. 76 Harley Street will speak out in defence of SAFE MMA promotions. The SAFE MMA project involves the collation of anonymous statistics for medical research into fighter safety, injuries, rehabilitation and performance. If a severe accident or fatality occurs and a promotion falls under investigation, statistical back-up via the SAFE MMA database can be drawn on, appropriate safety measures can be shown to be in place and medical expert opinion can be sought.

SAFE MMA is run on a voluntary basis, headed by leading experts from the world of Sports Medicine. Professor Greg Whyte is the preeminent authority on Physiology, Sports Performance and Rehabilitation in the UK. Alongside Clinical Director, Dr Jack Kreindler, Professor Whyte specialises in optimising athletic performance for Olympic and extreme sports.

Dr. Michael Loosemore provides medical expertise to the Amateur Boxing Association of England and has travelled extensively with national squads to Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and World and European Championships. Loosemore is the Chief Medical Officer for the Commonwealth Games. 76 Harley Street attracts a host of elite international and celebrity sports names that include, among many others, Usain Bolt and David Williams of London’s recent Thames Swim.

Alongside the founding promotions, MMA advisors to the project include top world ranked flyweight fighter and osteopath, Dr. Rosi Sexton, and internationally renowned referee, Marc Goddard, both of whom have been involved in the British MMA scene since its inception and active in the promotion of fighter wellbeing. Marc Goddard runs the only accepted MMA referee course in the UK. Additional support to the project has been provided by Cage Warriors commentator John Gooden and Izzy Carnwath (BAMMA PR).

SAFE MMA is working closely with the newly-formed UK MMA Federation, with Marc Goddard and Rosi Sexton having interim membership to both boards.

Benefits to SAFE MMA members include:

• yearly medical & six-monthly blood tests
• active confidential database for fighters well-being and current medical status
• member promotions using athletes found only within the confidential, medical database and whose gyms are SAFE MMA registered
• listed promotions enforcing medically advised suspensions to athletes under the register
• an affordable cost
• access to sports-based medical advice that fighters can trust

Cage Warriors, BAMMA and UCMMA urge all fighters, UK promotions and gyms to register to the project and help establish health and safety standards for MMA in the UK.

Cage Warriors director Graham Boylan said: “This initiative is a huge step in the right direction for MMA in the UK. The sport in this country is still in its infancy to an extent so we at Cage Warriors welcome the introduction of SAFE MMA and we’re very pleased to be involved.

“The safety and well-being of fighters is our utmost priority. We’ve always endeavoured to do things the right way for the good of fighters’ health. Last year we introduced mandatory blood-testing, which one is just one example of what needs to be done.

“Fighters sacrifice so much and really put themselves on the line, so the onus is on the likes of us to introduce measures to ensure that it’s possible for them to showcase their talents in as safe an environment as possible.

“The introduction of SAFE MMA will bring UK MMA another step closer to where it needs to be and I would urge all fighters, gyms and promotions to get involved. This really is essential for the future of our sport. As long as this is in place and supported well it will be a game-changer for MMA in this country.”

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