IMMAF supports CFMMA legal challenge to France MMA “ban” regulation decree
The Commission Française de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA) recently mounted a Dec. 22 legal challenge to the Oct. 3 French decree banning mixed martial arts in the country of France.
The challenge was filed at the Council State, which is the Supreme Court equivalent in France.
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“I have confidence in the ultimate success of our recourse,” CFMMA president and IMMAF board director, Bertrand Amoussou said. “MMA is a natural development in martial arts history, which cannot be stopped. It is rather the position of the ministry which should be condemned, for trying at all costs to forbid a discipline authorised in almost all countries of the world, for the vested interests of particular groups.
“The work of the CFMMA, under the banner of IMMAF, promotes the safe and regulated practice of recreational and amateur MMA which should on no account be a cause of concern to governmental authorities,” Amoussou clarified. “Our priority is the safety of our members and a mandate must be given to us so that we are enabled to ensure this under the best conditions.”
MMA was not technically illegal in France previously, but with the French Sports Ministry in their “Decree relating to technical regulations and security for public combat sport events” press release banning essential techniques like ground strikes and the physical cage, the sport was effectively outlawed.
Instead of cages, rings with three or four sports are mandated instead.
The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) is publicly supporting the CFMMA’s efforts to have the decree overturned.
“Challenging this decree is a duty as it causes unprecedented damage to the freedom of people to practice the sport of their choice in a country in which human rights are revered,” sports law specialist Tatiana Vassine said in a IMMAF press release. “MMA is a sport and must be treated as one, without any discrimination based on subjective and unjustified reasons. One positive result of this decree is that MMA will be able to defend its position on equal legal terms and challenge its detractors.”
The French state’s “security” measures in the decree, combined with “procedural irregularities” and the inability for people to practice the sport of their choice are a “misuse of powers,” according to CFMMA.
“IMMAF is concerned with the development of safe structures for the practice of MMA worldwide,” IMMAF president Kerrith Brown added. “Where the sport remains unrecognised, unregulated and unsupported, its participants remain at risk – as with any sport. In light of the sport’s growth and popularity, it is the social responsibility of governments and their sports administrations to enable the same protective structures and benefits as afforded participants of other recognised sports. To abdicate this responsibility amounts to discrimination. For the French State to issue a ban on the sport constitutes an unnecessary and aggressive assault on civil liberties.
“This assault on MMA’s practitioners echoes a familiar pattern globally, in which we are repeatedly seeing MMA’s bid for recognition blocked by the vested commercial interests of other martial arts organisations,” Brown continued. “IMMAF will continue to fight this injustice and prejudice that marginalises our sport’s practitioners and undermines its safe development.”
The CFMMA was founded in 2009 and is recognized by the IMMAF as a governing body for MMA in France.