France now has an oversight body for the regulation of legal MMA.
After a one-month delay, the French Sport Ministry on Tuesday announced the selection of the French Boxing Federation to facilitate the regulation of the sport, according to a release today from the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).
The selection of the committee brings France one step closer to legal MMA after a ban shut out the sport. The IMMAF heralded the announcement as a major step.
“This is another significant milestone for the sport of amateur MMA,’ IMMAF CEO Densign White stated in the release. “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 the country. This is a major step in the ongoing campaign by IMMAF for international recognition of MMA as a sport with Olympic values.”
According to the IMMAF, the Boxing Federation’s selection is a “temporary arrangement” that will expire after one year, after which the Ministry “will decide whether MMA is ready to become an independent federation in France.” Originally, a two-year term was announced by the Ministry.
As previously reported, at least one MMA promotion doesn’t plan to wait for the official selection of a sanctioning body. Aries MMA has announced a March 21 date in Paris at a venue to be determined.
The UFC has long sought to hold an event in France and has lobbied extensively to remove regulatory barriers to legalization. Several current UFC fighters are from the country or have roots there, including Francis Ngannou, Nordine Taleb and Tom Duquesnoy.