The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) announced today the recognition of the Polynesian Federation of Wrestling and Associated Disciplines (FPLAJDA).
According to an IMMAF press release, the FPLAJDA’s membership will be announced at a press Nov. 11 conference in Tahiti.
“We are delighted to welcome another member federation to IMMAF,” IMMAF president Kerrith Brown said. “It shows the global appeal of amateur MMA and I have been very impressed by the approach by the authorities here. While the sport is already very popular with their young population, they are keen to ensure that the governance is exemplary. We will support the FPLAJDA’s application in any way we can.”
French Polynesia is a territory of France, consisting of 118 islands stretching over an area of over 2,000 kilometres. While the overseas territory enjoys local assembly and government, mainland France still administers several areas of autonomy, including defence, education, justice, and university education.
Amateur sports is another area.
French Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu initiated the process of MMA legalization on June 24. The various recognized combats sports federations are due to submit their bids to adopt the sport within their structure on Nov. 27. Minister Maracineanu will then announce the successful applicants at the end of December.
The FPLAJDA has applied for national recognition for the sport of MMA as its governing body and held a press conference a week ago attended by IMMAF president Kerrith Brown and other federation officials. The French Polynesian Minister for Sports, Christelle Lehartel said at the conference that she will extend the time period for legalization and recognition for MMA.
The extension is designed for further study of the “management of the discipline and also to reassure the public.”
A successful FPLAJDA application is not an automatic legalization of the sport in French Polynesia. A public service delegation’s (DSP) stamp of approval is then needed with local decrees voted on at the Ministry Counsel. There is also the possibility that “a ruling could intervene during the next renewal of the DSP after Oct. 21 or when recognition of Polynesia’s national governing body for MMA is announced by the Sports Ministry on Jan. 1, 2020.”
In other words, the IMMAF’s recognition of the FPLAJDA is a small step in a long process towards national recognition.