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Six national federations in France vying to oversee mixed martial arts

(Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images)

A total of six national federations in France are vying to oversee mixed martial arts as the sport prepares to become officially recognised next year.

France’s Ministry of Sports has unveiled the list of six candidate federations as it prepares to lift the ban on the practice of amateur and professional MMA.

The six federations on the list include the French Boxing Federation (FFB), the French Wrestling Federation (FFL) and the French Karate and Associated Disciplines Federation (FFK).

Also included are the French Federation of Kickboxing, Muay Thai and Associated Disciplines (FFKMDA), the French Federation of French Kickboxing and Associated Disciplines (FFSBFDA) and the French Sports and Physical Exercise Federation (FSGT).

The French Judo Federation (FFJDA), which initially fought against the legalisation of MMA in France before expressing a desire to oversee it, withdrew from the race.

France is currently one of few countries in the world that does not recognise MMA as a sport, making it impossible for the hugely popular UFC series to hold an event in one of Europe’s major markets.

A commission headed by State Councillor Laurent Touvet is to interview each candidate federation before a decision is expected to be made in February after gathering input from the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF).

The national body that will oversee professional and amateur MMA in France is set to be decided in February. The timeline will be a delay to the long-awaited introduction of the sport in France after it was initially scheduled to be given the green light on 1 January, 2020.

In justifying its decision last year to recognise mixed martial arts, the Ministry noted that it is estimated that the sport has around 40,000 practitioners in France, adding: “The practice of MMA, at least at the amateur level, is a reality in France and is developing especially for young and female audiences.

“We can no longer overshadow this reality, we must be able to frame and structure it. Moreover, professional practice exists and is regulated in almost all other states.”