International MMA Federations files lawsuit against WADA

March 12, 2018

The International MMA Federation (IMMAF) has filed a civil lawsuit against the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) in the ordinary Swiss courts in Lausanne.

IMMAF is disputing the rejection of its application to become a WADA signatory on the grounds of infringement to its personality rights according to Swiss law. Although IMMAF meets all WADA criteria, the agency which was founded to independently protect and support participant safety in sport, rejected IMMAF’s application. The sole reason given was rebuttal by other recognised International Sports Federations, mainly combat sports federations.

WADA’s rejection has wide reaching impact on the development of the sport of MMA, including the safety of its competitors and their right to fair competition. It also damages IMMAF’s reputation and MMA’s scope for development since WADA signatory status is a requirement of all sports federations wishing to become members of Global Alliance of International Sports Federations (formerly SportAccord). GAISF is the umbrella organisation for international sports federations, which enables access to governmental support and public funding, and is the feeder organisation to the Olympic Games.

IMMAF CEO, Densign White, said: “I’m disappointed that it has come to this, but I feel IMMAF has been left with no alternative. Attaining signatory status to the WADA code is important to IMMAF, as it validates our work and empowers us to regulate. Without WADA recognition, IMMAF’s sanctions are easily bypassed with a resulting detrimental impact on our athletes, their safety and the sport of MMA. By refusing our application WADA strips IMMAF of its ability to ensure a clean sport, which runs contrary to its purpose.”