There is now a clear direction for the beginning of legalized MMA in France.
The French Sport Ministry announced Tuesday that it has tasked the French Boxing Federation with supervising the development of MMA in the country for its first year. The French Boxing Federation was vying for the opportunity along with other existing federations for karate, judo, muay Thai and kickboxing.
“Having requested and analyzed all relevant information received from a number of combat federations who were interested in welcoming MMA, we have decided, by an official Ministerial Decision, to delegate the sport of MMA to the French Boxing Federation,” read a statement from the French Sport Ministry.
The relationship with the French Boxing Federation is only temporary. After the first year, the Ministry will determine whether MMA is ready to become an independent federation in France. For years, the ban on MMA in France has been believed to be the work of the French Judo Association, as ground strikes, elbow strikes and competing in a cage were all illegal in the country. The ban was upheld as recently as 2016.
“We are delighted to see that Boxing will now be the partner of MMA in France, where it has extremely well established and respected structures,” said International Mixed Martial Arts Federation president Kerrith Brown. “Above all, we believe that by partnering with boxing, MMA will show that it shares a willingness to create the right culture and values, especially in membership and education programs for athletes, coaches and officials.”
Prominent fighters – both active and retired -- with ties to France include Francis Ngannou, Cheick Kongo, Nordine Taleb, Tom Duquesnoy, Karl Amoussou, Christian M’Pumbu, Cyrille Diabate and Francis Carmont, to name a few.