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  • Martial Arts Pushes for GAISF Membership


    (ATR) GAISF has left the door open for the joint membership of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and World Mixed Martial Arts Association after refusing to grant ‘observer status’ in February.
    IMMAF-WMMAA Asian Open Championships Amateur MMA was last week in Bangkok (IMMAF-WMMAA)

    On the sidelines of SportAccord in the Gold Coast, GAISF interim president Raffaele Chiulli suggested that there may be new developments on the matter this week.

    Mixed martial art’s application, through IMMAF, was denied in Bangkok last April during SportAccord, blocking the pathway to becoming an Olympic sport. The IMMAF and World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) merged later last year in a fresh bid to gain GAISF membership – but it is still yet to be approved.

    “We are openly and constructively discussing the rules of being part of our family and the conversation with mixed martial arts. I’m sure open and constructive dialogue will continue, so let’s wait until the end of the week and we will tell you more,” Chiulli, who will be confirmed as GAISF president this week, told reporters.

    “The process is clear. You must have 40 national federations with certification, if you want to achieve this and this it is not done in a week nor a month.”

    The mixed martial arts federation claims to have 80 national federations.

    GAISF director Philippe Gueisbuhler explained the recognition process further: “Some federations have been applicants for five or six years before they can become members of GAISF. It’s [the delay since negotiations dating back to 2017] not something which was new.

    “The latest federation to join was the World Arm Wrestling Federation and they had been applicants for five years. It is something that is usual.”

    Last month, world mixed martial arts federation president Kerrith Brown said he was “bemused” by “pop-up MMA federations” seeking Olympic recognition.

    Brown issued a statement to head off a major rift in MMA sports which could impact his federation’s long-running quest to join the Olympics, which could only start with GAISF recognition. His concerns relate to a new organization, Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA), and ONE Championship's recent statement of support for the group and its goal of getting mixed martial arts into the Olympics.

    GAISF Won’t Interfere in SUP Conflict

    Chiulli said GAISF would not try to mediate and involve itself with the dispute between member federations International Surfing Association and the International Canoe Federation over ‘ownership’ of the quickly developing sport of stand up paddling (SUP).

    Stand up paddling is claimed by both ISA and ICF (ATR)
    The two bodies have been claiming governing rights for several years and a case is being built for consideration by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    Both international federations hope to adopt SUP before its likely inclusion in the Olympic Program as early as the Paris Games in 2024.

    The International Surfing Association (ISA) has said history is on the side of surfing in its conflict with the International Canoe Federation (ICF) claim of stand up paddling as a discipline. The ISA recognized SUP in 2008 and in 2012 it organized the first world championships.

    The ICF launched its efforts to bring SUP under its wing in 2016. The federation has said that the use of the paddle for propulsion makes stand up paddling a canoe sport.

    “The CAS is the only body that can give an answer to the dispute,” said Chiulli. “Both bodies believe they have legitimate rights and duties and they couldn’t find an agreement amongst themselves.”

    Reported by Neil Cadigan at SportAccord in Gold Coast

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