The French Ministry of Sports has chosen the French Boxing Federation (FFB) to oversee the expansion of mixed martial arts (MMA) into the country.
FFB will be tasked with implementing MMA as a legalised sport in the country. Prior to an announcement last year, France was one of the few countries that was yet to recognise MMA as a sport.
In a statement, the Ministry confirmed the news: “Having requested and analysed 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.”
International Mixed Martial Arts Federation’s (IMMAF) President Kerrith Brown stated: “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.
“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 programmes for athletes, coaches and officials.”
As per the French Ministry of Sport, MMA in France will be governed by the FFB for a year, a decision will then be made to either continue the relationship or to create an independent mixed martial arts federation.
Densign White, IMMAF CEO, emphasised: “This is another significant milestone for the sport of amateur MMA. France is a major sporting nation and host of the Olympic Games in 2024, so partnering with boxing will be a massive boost in the growth of MMA in France.
“This is a major step in the ongoing campaign by IMMAF for international recognition of MMA as a sport with Olympic values.”
Other national federations such as the French Wrestling Federation, French Karate and Associated Disciplines Federation, and the French Sports and Physical Exercise Federation were all considered as candidates to oversee the project. Nevertheless, after gathering input from the French Olympic Committee, FFB is the federation they chose.
Insider Insight: Although it feels like the introduction of MMA in France is long overdue and the sport is already well established globally, there may be teething problems, so to task an well-established body like the FFB with overseeing the sport is a shrewd move.
Furthermore, the integration of the sport represents exciting times for European fans, as the UFC has already expressed substantial interest in an event in Paris, whilst Bellator has recently embarked on an expansive European tour.