France has produced such fighters as Cheick Kongo and Karl Amassou, and it even has a presence on the current season of The Ultimate Fighter, but did you know that the Land of Croissants and Pain du Chocolat has kept MMA illegal for all these years? It’s true. Also true: The country hosted its first-ever MMA event this past weekend, and the cops didn’t shut it down. Hooray!
Bellator vet Amassou headlined the event and won via submission.
Here’s the official release from the Commission Francais de Mixed Martial Arts:
“For the first time an event reported to the authorities was held under the Unified Rules of MMA. This sets a legal precedent. We now expect a reaction from the government. However last night it was shown publicly that the fighting is regulated, structured and sanctioned; that the fighters are professionals trained in the various techniques, including those used on the ground; that the audience are people who attend in a spirit of friendly sportsmanship. It is for these reasons that the CFMMA requests again that the state and its highest representative, Francois Hollande, legislate to recognise the existence of this sports discipline, and for it to be permitted under federal guidelines.”
The CFMMA believe that the event, which was sponsored by Adidas Combat Sports, marks the beginning of a new era for MMA in France and predict that the breakthrough may encourage other promoters to hold Unified Rules MMA events. This in turn will make government recognition of mixed martial arts as a sport essential, in order to enable the necessary sanctioning of events.