London – IMMAF, the World Governing Body for the sport of amateur Mixed Martial Arts, has resumed legal action against the World Anti-Doping Agency. The case between IMMAF and WADA will be heard at the Tribunal d’Arrondissement in Lausanne on 14th January 2020.
IMMAF is challenging the decision in the ordinary Swiss Courts because IMMAF’s application to WADA for signatory status has been rejected.
IMMAF CEO Densign White, said: “At the end of August 2019 we accepted a request of WADA to postpone our court case (scheduled for 4 September) to allow them more time to review the current procedure for a sport organisation to become a signatory. But now WADA has asked for a further 5 months extension which the IMMAF Board of Directors has unanimously rejected.”
“We regret that we have to take legal action, but it seems to be the only way to force this issue. WADA should be a fully independent body but maintain that they need a green light from GAISF to accept IMMAF as a signatory. We continue to wait for GAISF to consider our application for Observer status. As a WADA code compliant sport, we should also be a WADA signatory. Without this status IMMAF’s sanctions are easily bypassed to the detriment of our athletes, their safety and Clean Sport.” said White.
IMMAF first implemented an anti-doping policy based on the World Anti-Doping Code and Standards in 2015. In-competition testing was introduced at its international Amateur MMA tournaments, commencing with the 2015 IMMAF World Championships. IMMAF works with the internationally renowned expert consultancy, Sporting Integrity Ltd, headed by Michele Verroken, to develop its anti-doping policy and programme.
“IMMAF’s application to WADA is a crucial part of being recognised by the Sport Movement. Signing up to WADA means promoting development, open access to funding, professional services and our authority to safeguard participants,” said White. “As we start 2020, we are resolute in pursuit of international recognition which benefits our member federations and our athletes.”