Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross believes that mixed martial arts needs to be strictly regulated to ensure that there is an absence of brutality from the sport.

Minister Ross voiced his concerns about the nature of mixed martial arts, claiming that certain aspects of the increasingly popular spectacle are “quite disturbing”.

Speaking in Friday’s Irish Daily Mail, he said: “This is something that we have under review. It should be, at the very least, strictly regulated. I find some of the scenes in it quite disturbing.

“I think the rules should ensure that there is an absolute absence of brutality or savagery or anything like it. We are reviewing this, to find the best way of regulating it to ensure it is as safe as any other sport.”

"This is a crazy ruthless business, and I'm in it, and I'm on the top of it" - Conor McGregor

Dubliner Conor McGregor, who is almost single-handedly responsible for the mass interest in the sport in Ireland over recent years, is the UFC lightweight world champion and was recently named RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year for 2016. 

Speaking to RTÉ ahead of the awards ceremony, McGregor made no excuses about the nature of the sport, admitting that it was not to everyone's taste.

"It's a violent, dangerous business," said McGregor.

"I have seen it all and I have witnessed, first hand, the worst you can witness in this business."

McGregor made no apologies about the physicality of the sport, emphasising that UFC was not a sport for the faint-hearted.

"If that's the way you are, then it ain't for you," explained McGregor. "This is a crazy ruthless business, and I'm in it, and I'm on the top of it."

Speaking about MMA last April, following the death of Joao Carvalho after a mixed martial arts event in Dublin, the then Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Michael Ring told RTÉ: "In Ireland every sport, GAA, rugby, boxing, whatever it is, they have national governing bodies that are affiliated to Sport Ireland. We fund many sports in this country and to fund these sports they first of all have to have a code of practice.

"This particular sport is not regulated, has not looked for regulation and has not looked to be part of the Sports Ireland program. They are not getting any funding from the state.”