Meeting of June 4, 2019 & the Creation of the French MMA Committee
The French government recently announced its plans to supervise MMA in order to integrate it into the French sports ecosystem. A Call for a Demonstration of Interest (AMI) will be launched by the Ministry of Sports on June 24, allowing other sport federations to apply to host MMA within their organisation.
Representatives of different groups from the French MMA community met for the third time Tuesday, June 4 to lay the foundations of a common vision of the future of MMA in France, including Fernand Lopez, Bertrand Amoussou (President of IMMAF | WMMAA national federation, CFMMA), Stéphane Chaufourier and Cyril Diabate.
This meeting brought together the different parties under a new entity to address the following matters:
• Creation of the French MMA Committee and election of two interim co-presidents, Bertrand Amoussou and Stéphane Chaufourier, as well as members of the board;
• Modalities for the launch of the AMI by the Ministry of Sports;
• Establishment of committees and working groups to structure a common approach;
• Coordination of joint communications
Interview with Bertrand Amoussou and Stéphane Chaufourier “Atch”, Co-Chairs of the French MMA Committee.
After several years of debate, the government is finally legalizing MMA. Why now?
Bertrand Amoussou: It is above all the fruit of years of conviction, sometimes against all odds, with the public authorities and the French sports ecosystem. Thanks to the educational work carried out by many of MMA’s representatives and professional coverage by the media, who have played a crucial role in the changing of minds, this young discipline has gradually emerged as a sport in its own right…. We are reaping the fruits of these years of investment.
Stéphane Chaufourier “Atch”: Education has been essential, it is undeniable. Public representatives have progressively accepted the fact that MMA is a discipline like others, based on values, process, structure and above all a set of trajectories and individual stories. The new generation of elected officials, who are perhaps more sensitive to this craze, have understood the necessity of listening to experts in the field in order to make necessary decisions.
What do you consider to be the conditions for success for AMI?
S.C .: For more than 10 years, many representatives have been working individually to structure MMA and for its recognition in France. They have finally gathered under the French MMA Committee to advance the sport and to pool skills. Notably, we initiated substantive work, piloting around 14 commissions led by groups of experts, as our contribution. The key to success will lie in the quality of the work and the value provided by the skills that we will make available to the future entity in charge of structuring French MMA.
B. A.: The structuring work will be decisive. However, after all these years of activism and being so close to the goal, we will be particularly vigilant that respect is given to the integrity of our sport. MMA is based on coherent and specific rules as well as on an international, unified progression system, as the result of some remarkable work….. There is no doubt that MMA started in France in a rawer form. Then, do not call it MMA and start from scratch!
What do you see as the future challenges of MMA in France?
BA: At first, the priority will be structural: organizing the new federation, identifying all the national representatives, setting up appropriate training, certifying coaches and taking into account all participants. The next step will be to advance MMA competition.
S. C .: The structuring of MMA education, based on what has already been achieved despite the lack of resources and recognition so far, remains the top priority. When this project has reaped its first fruits, it will enable us to deliver more professionally and efficiently.
Pictured: French MMA Committee co. interim President, Bertrand Amoussou, who stands as IMMAF | WMMAA Board Director and President of the French national MMA federation, CFMMA