“Mixed Martial Arts – The first event of a discipline not recognised in France should not have been held on Saturday in Paris.”
“I do not like to be ridiculed” Thierry Braillard, Secretary of State for Sport
A translation of the article in today’s “The Parisian” newspaper by Thierry Raynal*
Nothing was hidden. The MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) event – a discipline born in the 1990s and combining several martial arts and combat sports -that was held on Saturday evening at the Cirque d’Hiver (Paris) was intended as a surprise by the organisers who wanted to stage a great coup. The ten fights on the Cage Encounter 4 card (the three previous editions have occurred abroad ) took place in a mesh cage and under rules allowing strikes on the ground. None of this is authorised on French soil. General astonishment was abound in the Parisian venue (1600 spectators).
A strong annoyance to the Sports Ministry
“We wanted to make history by achieving a political coup for things to finally advance,” declared Ferdnand Lopez, co-organizer of the event in association with WWFC (World Warrior Fight Championship), a Ukrainian promotion headed by Vladimir Teslyer. “We wanted the government to realize that things can play out seriously and safely when done well. When one talks of MMA one talks of a sport that has that has invaded the world. There is no good reason why our country is one of the last to recognise it.” But this view is at odds with those of the Minister of Sports, who expressed strong annoyance, on having learned of the forced occurrence of the event. “My services will conduct an investigation,” announced a very irritated Theirry Braillard, Secretary of State for Sport. “We already know that the documents provided regarding the rules of this competition were in a foreign language and only mentioned a martial arts meeting, without specifically mentioning MMA. Furthermore the organising of an MMA event was not mentioned. One must be affiliated to a federation and this was not the case. Therefore it turns out that people have obviously wanted to circumvent the sporting code, which no one is supposed to ignore. I do not like to be ridiculed.” The article 331-L2 of the French Sporting Code in fact prohibits holding a demonstration when there is risk of damage to the dignity, physical integrity and health of the participants. The organisers themselves are are relying on the expert opinion of lawyers that no law can ban them from holding an event. “I do not like cheating,” continued Theirry Braillard, with the same firmness, “and I have also read provocations on social networks. I will not sit with my hands in my pockets, believe me. Our investigation will result perhaps in sanctions. We will do what it takes.” Police officers were in any case in attendance on Saturday night to check documents produced by the organisers. They were received during the gala in response to requirements and even invited to watch the last fights. A further snub? “There is a debate around MMA and I am very open,” continued the Secretary of State for Sports. “It is a phenomenon to which we are not blind. But mixed style fights already exist in France. This is Pancrase, where submissions are authorized but not strikes on the ground. MMA is not recognized as a discipline. The state proposes even to toughen the regulation on some combat sports events.” On Saturday night, the organisers of Cage Encounter 4 already envisaged organising a next event in France in the coming months. Only this time with the state as supporters, there being nothing further to be gained from surprise. *We are open to improvements and revisions to this translation with a view to best accuracy. Please contact: [email protected]