” A lie is half-way around the world before the truth has a chance to put on it’s trousers “
I was going to wait another day or two to start writing about this but unfortunately both Newstalk and the Journal.ie have decided to run stories that tell a version of a story that is not alone of questionable veracity – but pretty one-sided. So allow me to shed some light on the other side.
First of all let’s take this statement attributed to Minister Shane Ross in the Journal.ie
” Ross said that it was brought to his attention by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council that the emergency medical services at the planned event, Battle Arena 56, “would have fallen far short of the recommendations of the Dublin Coroner in the inquest following the death of Joao Carvalho ”
First things first. The journal.ie should have questioned Minister Ross on exactly WHO the proposed emergency medical providers were before publishing the erroneous and disingenuous quote from the Minister. Because that lie is at the heart of why this event is not running at the weekend.
The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) did not Licence the company Northern Ireland Medics chosen for this event. N.I. Medics have confirmed to me that they sent in a written application to become CPG licenced in early February 2019.
In March 2019 Ricky Ellis of PHECC warned NI Medics in writing that they were not licenced to cover events in the Republic of Ireland and specifically reference the Battle Arena event in Carrickmacross in that correspondence..
Code Blue are a company that other MMA promotions in the South use for emergency and Medical event cover and are PHECC approved. It was felt that Glenn Ellis’ dual role of being a medical consultant to IMMAA the other MMA association in the Republic and Event Support Manager for Code Blue was a complicating factor for the organisers in using that company. The clubs competing in the Battle Arena event were by and large from IAMMA affiliated clubs the competing MMA association in Ireland.
Glen Ellis is listed on the IMMAA Linkedin Page as a medical consultant to IMMAA and his own Linkedin Profile also lists himself as Event Support Manager of Code Blue.
PHECC categorically say that they did not receive an application (July 4th 2019).
N.I. Medics Categorically say that they submitted an Application ( July 4th 2019).
Another reason a Northern Ireland company was chosen was due to all the pressures exerted over various bodies and venues when Battle Arena were trying to run their event in September 2018. The feeling of the organisers was that a Northern Irish provider would be less influenced by the political wranglings in South.
As the event was drawing closer the Battle Arena promoters, eager to have the proper medical cover reached out to the Red Cross who already have PHECC approval. Now surely to god Shane Ross doesn’t have an issue with the RED CROSS providing emergency medical cover and Event medical cover – but not to worry though – pressure was applied to this organisation not to provide the necessary medical cover to Battle Arena.
From Minister Ross’s statement you would be forgiven for thinking it was a bunch of transition year students with a one day first aid course under their belts – that Battle Arena were proposing to provide cover. He should be forced to publicly apologise to the Northern Ireland medics for the inference that they were not capable of providing the standard of cover required.
Is Minister Ross saying that Northern Ireland Medics are not good enough to provide cover at an MMA event BUT are qualified to work at other sporting events in the Republic ?. Because Northern Ireland Medics have provided cover at numerous events in the Republic including a recent event sporting event. I don’t think the absurdity of the Red Cross situation needs any further explanation.
Now just who was frustrating the attempts of Northern Ireland Medics to get licenced for the event?. Who was pressurizing the Irish Red Cross? All I can say at the moment is the usual suspects from the last time around. Although I do know they didn’t cover their tracks as well this time and have left some damning evidence in their haste to shut this event down. I hope they are forced to pay for their folly in that regard.
Here is what the Minister for sport had to say about other MMA organisations as published in the journal.ie.
Ross said: “To be fair, there are some MMA event promoters who have ensured their events are as safe as possible and have ensured that their events abide by the recommendations of the Dublin Coroner in the inquest following the death of Joao Carvalho.”
For anyone that cares – the exact same level of medical cover was going to be provided at this event as was provided by CAGE LEGACY one week ago at their event in Neptune Stadium in Cork. They are the only MMA promotion currently running, amateur competing events in the Republic, so it is fair to assume they are who he is talking about.
Cage Legacy are very familiar with Keith Cooper, the guy running this Battle Arena event. In fact Battle Arena were renting the Cage to be used in the event from Cage Legacy. I think the decent thing for them to do would be to come out and publicly state that the only difference between a Cage Legacy event and Battle Arena Ireland’s proposed event is that their amateur athletes have had a one-off brain scan. They should specifically make clear that the emergency medical cover and the Event medical cover would have been on a par to what they provide. And that Keith Cooper would have it no other way. They would do well to remember that Shane Ross is a fickle, fair weather friend.
The long and the short of it is this – various official government agencies and others MADE sure that Battle Arena couldn’t provide adequate cover at the event by frustrating their efforts to get medical cover licenced and pressurizing the venue . These were the methods being used to shutdown the event. It should surprise no-one that this is how things work in Ireland. Backroom Politics.
The people crying about inadequate medical cover are the very ones frustrating attempts to provide it. Tony Soprano would love this. The Hit man outraged by the murder….he eh…. just committed.
The reason the Gardai became involved was because “persons unknown” informed them that there was a very high likelihood that there would be a public order and Safety issue at this event. They then of course were duty bound to make enquiries with the hotel. The hope being that the hotel would get freaked out and cancel the event.
Treacy’s Hotel – the venue holding the event were put under huge and continuous pressure to cancel the event. My initial investigation on this aspect of the saga revealed that the hotel was more than happy with how co-operative the promoters were to addressing and meeting the list of criteria they had drawn up to ensure the event was lawful and safe. Again various government bodies were exerting pressure here.
NOBODY – NOT GARDA, MONAGHAN COUNTY COUNCIL, THE DEPARTMENT OF SPORT or ANY OTHER PARTY ARE ABLE TO PROVIDE A LEGAL REASON WHY THIS EVENT COULD NOT GO AHEAD. FOR A SECOND TIME IN 9 MONTHS.
As of today they still cannot do this.
You may be wondering why so many important people care so much about a little ole’ run of the mill MMA event.
Sports Ireland, in the coming days, are going to receive an application from the Irish Mixed Martial Arts Association to have mixed martial arts recognised as a sport. The amateur athletes and clubs taking part in this Battle Arena event are not members of IMMAA the proposed new governing body of MMA. Are you beginning to get the picture.
Everybody in the Sports Council and IMMAA wants to pretend these clubs and people don’t exist. That their rights and the legality to hold their own events don’t exist. Unfortunately it is probably going to cost a shit tonne of money to go up against the powers that are lined up against them and prove their point.
As can be seen from the quotes from Shane Ross in this piece, poor Joao Carvalho’s name gets used and in my opinion abused by many different people and organisations in this country. Hopefully he is resting in a far better place in peace. If the event he participated in was unsafe and this was a contributory factor in his death I hope his family get justice for it.
The Inquest and Coroners report into his death get’s bandied about in this country as if it is Law. It is not law. It is a series of recommendations. End of story.
I have seen recent email correspondence from a person involved with SAFEMMA in this country that points the finger of blame in his death at ‘poor promoter planning’
Maybe that’s true. Maybe that is false. Maybe there were a number of contributory factors. I honestly don’t know, but again another curiosity raises it’s head about that event when you look into it, one that nobody ever seems to mention. If SAfe MMA were nòt the safety organisation used for the event why was Dan Healy giving evidence at the inquest?
At the Inquest into his death the SAFE MMA co-founder Dan Healy is quoted as saying the following
” Mr Silva indicated that there was a limited budget for the Event and the safety standards required were not possible”
Were these concerns of SAFE MMA issued in writing and recorded?
What specifically were the safety standards of the time that were not followed?
The word ‘indicated’ in the above quote is what I find troublesome. It doesn’t say Mr Silva SAID there was a limited budget. It doesn’t say that Mr Silva wrote to him that there was a limited budget.
It doesn’t actually say that Mr Silva said any of that. It merely infers that he said. Mr Cesar Silva’s response to what SAFE MMA have attributed to him as having ‘indicated’ is not on record. Did he respond to these allegations?
Is there evidence that these safety standards that were missing played a part in his death. I am genuinely asking that. There is no evidence that I have seen that Mr Carvalho had a pre-existing brain condition. It is recorded that he received 40 significant strikes to the head in the fight. This can be legitimately questioned.
The official verdict ‘ was death by misadventure’ – which is a common verdict in the UK and Ireland when the death is ruled as a result of an activity the deceased was voluntarily engaged in.
I understand there may be ongoing court proceedings into the matter and hopefully they will shed some light and finality on the subject if this is the case. Maybe also, people will stop using the death of a professional MMA fighter to club amateur MMA fighters with and frustrate genuine people who seek to run amateur, safe MMA promotions in this country. The only safety difference between the two sides in this war is a very simple one. Brain Scans. It should, as I have said many times be easily overcome with a bit of dialogue. But I guess you have to admit that there is an opposition before you can do sit down and talk with them. And as we have seen again this week IMMAA are still pretending there isn’t one. So to the Department of Sport and the Sports Council.
Hmmmmmm…..It all would make you wonder really. I know one thing Mr Cooper. Official Ireland and Official MMA Ireland don’t seem to want you and your band of warriors. At this moment in time that is a badge to be worn with no little honour.
Barack Obama once famously said that the Original Sin of American Independence was slavery.
Well the Original Sin of Irish MMA as a recognised sport will always be Battle Arena.
I am printing in full the official response of James Price the CEO of Battle Arena UK – In response to the events of the last couple of days. He kindly agreed to allow Combat Arena to re-publish it here
Having read and attempted to digest what I can only describe as a potentially libellous and deliberately error strewn statement from members of the Irish Government, I can only shake my head in disbelief at the duplicity of supposes public servants.
Having been provided with copies of the threatening and factually incorrect emails that were sent out to various suppliers of Battle Arena 56 in a calculated attempt to shut down a legitimate enterprise, I can categorically refute item after item of today’s press release. Currently emails sent from Mr Ken Spratt, Assistant Secretary General – Board of Sport, are sat with our legal advisors and will be accompanied by today’s statement from Mr Ross. Over the coming days we will decide on the course of action we wish to take.
We are once again disappointed that the government have acted purely on hear say and at no point contacted us direct to find out what measures we had put in place. surely they should do this? We would like to know if every mma show , combat sports show or sport that includes impact in Ireland such as rugby is scrutinised in this way? Its hard no to feel that we are being targeted for some reason. also in the media the government keep highlighting the tragic death in 2016 at an mma event.
It would be interesting to know the serious injury figures ( particularly head, neck and spinal injury figures) and fatality figures for all sports in Ireland over the last 25 years so and true a fair comparison is being used. Battle Arena would like to thank the stream of support that we’ve received from the Irish MMA community.
A community of honourable men and women who are tired of the monopoly that seems to have been formed for not wholly honest purposes. We at Battle Arena would also like to send our condolences to the family of Joao Carvalho, who’s memory is being weaponised by those who are not fit to use his name. As the promoter of over fifty events, spanning five separate countries, with an impeccable safety record; I, along with the wider MMA community know the standard of events that we promote. We will return with another top quality event in Birmingham on June 8th. This is a dark day for Irish MMA and Irish politics.