Following the announcement of IMMAF’s official international amateur rankings, no.1 ranked flyweight Iurie Bejenari expressed his enthusiasm for the ground-breaking development and how he hopes it will better the understanding of Mixed Martial Arts in his home nation of France where the sport is currently illegal. Bejenari won the gold medal this year at IMMAF’s World Championships of Amateur MMA in July, which took place in Las Vegas, USA. His victory contributed to France coming out strongly in the IMMAF rankings, not only with Bejanri ranked no.1 in the world at flyweight in the competitor rankings, but in the team rankings France as a whole is officially the 5th best nation in the world. “I am very happy that finally we can have a rank for amateurs,” Bejenari explained. “I think it’s motivating for athletes and eases the task for promoters to search for new fighters. Regarding France I am proud of the result and that I have been in the team, I hope this will help to legalize MMA in France. “For my personal result I am fully satisfied and I will continue to maintain this position as long as possible if I do not turn professional.” Despite MMA’s status in France, native athletes have still achieved success across European promotions as well as in the UFC. France has a strong history of martial arts including kickboxing, judo, and wrestling, and this has provided foundations for athletes to develop with knowledgeable coaches from various disciplines. However, Bejenari also feels that the French law against MMA has streamlined the most determined and experienced competitors by sparking their sense of competition and inspiring their passion to succeed outside of France. “As MMA is prohibited in France our fighters are forced to go elsewhere to fight, it is hoped that things will change, but as a matter of fact only the most motivated and prepared are taking part in competitions. Most of our fighters come from other sports and are already familiar with competition. We benefit from good physical preparation and strategy. There is a real potential with us.” MMA competition may be effectively illegal in France, but training is not, and the IMMAF flyweight champion explained that the sport is fast growing. “MMA is growing fast. There are more and more MMA clubs which open and you can still see newcomers. People are interested in our sport because it is a complete art. It also has the opportunity for more exposure through channels that broadcast the UFC and Bellator. There are also some French organizations which organize pancrase rules events in France (MMA without strikes on the ground) and they provide a good start for athletes to gain experience and get themselves known.” Iurie is pleased by the work of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF ) and its French affiliate national body, the French Commission of Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA), lead by President Bertrand Amoussou. Bejenari believes that IMMAF and CFMMA offer the best opportunity for developing French talent. “IMMAF and CFMMA do what nobody else does in France, that is to say they give the opportunity for amateur MMA fighters to earn a place at European and World Championship events and to live these moments. The CFMMA is organized as a true federation; Bertrand Amoussou is a French pioneer of MMA and is seen as trying to legalize the sport in France. I am sure he will achieve this. The opportunity of international competitions pushes amateurs to the CFMMA. It is also putting in place training for amateurs, and for French referees on the rules of IMMAF.” Iurie Bejenari also discussed his journey to the IMMAF flyweight championship, click HERE for the full article.