The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has established its Anti-Doping Disciplinary Committee ©IMMAF

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) has announced that its Anti-Doping Disciplinary Committee is now officially up and running.

It comes with the sport locked in a bitter battle to gain recognition from the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), a step required in order to sign the World Anti-Doping Code.

IMMAF chief executive Densign White described the GAISF as a "gentleman's club" after the umbrella body refused the sport's latest application for acceptance last week.

The IMMAF has applied regularly since 2016, while there is also ongoing legal action against the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Michele Verroken, who chairs the IMMAF Anti-Doping Committee, recommended the creation of the Disciplinary Committee which will cover rule violations and disputes.

British-based barrister Max Shephard will chair the new body and its decisions can be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Verroken, a global expert in anti-doping and sports law, has created and managed the IMMAF's anti-doping processes.

Michele Verroken chairs the IMMAF Anti-Doping Committee ©IMMAF
Michele Verroken chairs the IMMAF Anti-Doping Committee ©IMMAF

"Chairing IMMAF's Anti-Doping Committee is a privilege as well as a challenge," she said.

"I want our programme to reach beyond the current anti-doping requirements to further the well-being of IMMAF members, athletes and their support personnel. 

"We would welcome interest from like-minded people to assist our work.

"It is essential to our mission that IMMAF becomes a signatory to the WADA Code, to demonstrate the preparedness of the sport to achieve fair and clean MMA.

"Being able to work in a coordinated way with the support of other anti-doping colleagues will serve our athletes better, ensure we attract the right support personnel to our sport and safeguard the well-being of MMA. 

"For those who aspire to professional MMA, we set the foundation for doing it right and for those who aim to participate as amateurs, they can compete and train with confidence that the sport is protecting their interests too."