Three of the United Kingdom’s most prominent MMA promotions have come together in an effort to further regulate the sport in the U.K.
The British Association of Mixed Martial Arts, Ultimate Challenge MMA and the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship jointly announced on Thursday that effective Jan. 1, 2013, any fighter wishing to compete for them must first become a member of a newly created non-profit organization called SAFE MMA.
Headquartered in London, the non-profit will establish a confidential database of fighter medical records. Beginning Jan. 1, the aforementioned promotions will only use fighters who have been cleared through the database in an effort to promote fighter safety.
SAFE MMA aims to provide fighters with affordable, regular medical and blood testing through the use of annual fees, which will be used to fund the program. Fighters joining the organization will pay an annual registration fee of £235 ($379), while new promotions will pay £600 ($967). Fees for gyms registering with the program will vary from £60 to £240 ($97 to $387).
"It’s been a long time in the making, but at last steps are being made to make MMA safe in this country,” said UCMMA Director Dave O’Donnell. “Fighters want it, trainers want it and so do promotions. SAFE MMA is the best thing to happen to this sport in years. UCMMA and I are behind this 100 percent. It's going to take time, and it is not going to be easy, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, let's get building and bring this sport to the next level.”
In addition to the founding promotions and medical professionals, the initiative will be advised by flyweight competitor and osteopath Rosi Sexton, as well as veteran referee Marc Goddard. According to the official release, SAFE MMA will also log anonymous statistical information on fighter safety, injuries, rehabilitation and performance that may be useful in the future if a promotion falls under investigation or a serious injury occurs in competition.