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UFC applauds movement toward legal MMA in France

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UFC Fight Night: Camacho v Dariush Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The UFC hopes to work with French regulators as the sport moves toward legalization.

The industry-leader applauded the country’s Ministry of Sport after selecting the French Boxing Federation to oversee the regulation of MMA in the next year.

“Although the recognition process for MMA still involves several stages, we’re excited about the prospects for eventually bringing a live UFC event to France,” UFC COO Lawrence Epstein said Monday in a prepared statement.

France has remained a holdout in the UFC’s international expansion efforts. A ban on the sport pushed it underground until this past year, when the Ministry chief Roxana Maracineanu announced a committee that would select an oversight body that would oversee legalization. At least six organizations applied, including those that regulate savate, French boxing and Thai boxing. The FBA ultimately won a one-year term for the job.

“FSGT (The Sports and Gymnastics Federation), FFKMDA (Kick Boxing, Muay Thai, Pancrase), Wrestling, Karate Savate and French Boxing.

“We’re also looking forward to collaborating with the FFB, with which MMA shares many values and a sport we already have such close ties to in the U.S., to help develop MMA in France,” Epstein stated.

The UFC has several fighters with French roots, most notably onetime heavyweight title challenger Francis Ngannou.