Monday, June 24, 2019, was a historic day for the mixed martial artists from France. The European country made a huge step towards legalizing the sport of MMA.
Roxana Maracineanu, the French minister of sports, announced on Twitter the country will take applications from existing sports federations to be the one that organizes MMA in the country. She wrote that on Jan. 1, 2020, MMA will be a recognized sport in France at the professional and amateur level.
— BRAVE CF (@bravemmaf) June 26, 2019
Mixed martial arts was banned in France back in 2016 when the government said that the sport will be legal only once it was taken over by an existing French sports federation.
By the end of 2019, it should be determined which federation will oversee MMA in the country. Among the candidates are the current federations for muay thai and kickboxing, karate, judo, French boxing, and wrestling.
UFC was quick to chip in on the case.
“UFC welcomes today’s announcement by the Ministry of Sports, which is the first step in officially recognizing MMA and integrating the sport into the French sports ecosystem,” UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein said in a statement.
“We will closely follow the progress of the consultation period and pay particular attention to the respect of the integrity of MMA and preservation of its rules by the host federation. We put our global MMA expertise at the disposal of the authorities to make this process a collective construction.”