London: The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is celebrating MMA’s achievement of two first events in France following the sport’s legalisation earlier this year: International promoter Bellator sets the precedent this Saturday, October 10 at the Accor Arena, with a major event in Paris; while tonight’s local event, MMA Grand Prix, provides a debut for regulated MMA competition at the Palais de Sports de Vitry-jsur-Seine, broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.

Government recognition of MMA in January came after more than a decade’s campaigning by IMMAF’s national federation in France (CFMMA), headed by IMMAF Board Director Bertrand Amoussou, alongside other stakeholders and supported by the international federation.

Following an open tender process among national combat sports federations, the French Sports Ministry granted the French Boxing Federation the responsibility of supervising the first phase of development of the sport and establishing a new national MMA federation under its auspices.

The new French MMA Federation (FMMAF) is affiliated with the IMMAF and has been working closely with the international federation to establish training pathways, coaches’ and officials’ licensing, and rules, regulations and protocol for the sport. It is the only organisation that can hold National MMA Championships in the country and manage a national MMA team for IMMAF international tournaments.

It is also the FMMAF that has the mandate to sanction this weekend’s MMA events, and all future professional and amateur MMA events in France. Part of this role includes the training and licensing of officials.

Speaking of the FMMAF’s work with Bellator, as first global MMA promoter on French soil, French Boxing’s Administrative Director, Jean Baptiste Marsaud, said:

“Bellator 248 is a great promotion of MMA in France. The FMMAF is delighted to have been able to collaborate with Bellator, through a professional and intelligent collaboration.”

IMMAF Board Director Bertrand Amoussou commented: “This is what we have been fighting for all these years, for the right to hold regulated MMA events in France and for the sport to be recognised. I wish the promoters good luck and hope that the French public will appreciate the show.”

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown commented: “This week’s MMA events in France, and the welcoming of an international promoter, mark a new era for the sport in the country. I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of French Boxing to put a structure around the sport for the deliverance of a gold standard for all its participants, from the recreational up to professional,  making it a safe, accessible and beneficial sport for all.”

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