French Anti-doping Agency makes surprise call in on Amateur MMA team trials


The national team tryouts in France for the 2016 IMMAF World Championships took a surprising turn when the French Anti-doping Agency arrived unannounced to test the athletes. Hosted by the Commission Française de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA), the team trials took place last weekend on Sunday 31 January at Paris Fight Team headquarters at 16 rue capron. As MMA competition is not permitted in France and its legality contentious, the team selections were made through assessed training sessions. The selection day was open to applicants from all across France. According the CFMMA President, Bertrand Amoussou, they were taken aback by the arrival of Anti-doping officials just 15 minutes before the start of training, at 7:45am. “I think it is good news and we support the step, but I was very surprised given MMA’s status in France and that we have not been accepted into the sporting system, of which Anti-doping control and funding forms a part. I was surprised again, as we were not holding a competitive event but a training day, and attending applicants included unknowns who may not yet have been educated about doping risks or have an awareness around the WADA banned list. However, in line with CFMMA’s work to develop best practice in MMA and in our quest to see the sport recognised, drug testing is something we wholeheartedly support.” IMMAF carries out WADA compliant doping tests at all its championship events and the French team will expect to be tested alongside other teams at the 2016 World Championships, which is billed to take place in Las Vegas this summer. IMMAF  is also currently working for official recognition from WADA and to develop an out-of-competition testing programme for its athletes. IMMAF President, Kerrith Brown, commented: “IMMAF can not comment on the specific procedures taken on this occasion or their integrity, as the agency that carried out the testing did not inform or involve IMMAF. However, IMMAF fully supports drug testing in MMA, and all IMMAF’s member federations subscribe to our Anti-doping policy.  While MMA remains unrecognised and unfunded in many places, the key obstacle to national federations wanting to carry out Anti-doping tesing is cost. We open our arms to any such support from government agencies in improving safety and practice within our sport.  

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