MMA may be one of the world’s fastest growing sports, but despite its skyrocketing popularity, there are still some surprising locations where it’s illegal. New York only ended its ban on the sport in 2016, and currently, many aspects of MMA (including competing in a cage, elbow strikes, and ground strikes) have made it effectively illegal in France as well. While the French ban was upheld in 2016, it looks like it will finally come to an end at the beginning of 2020.
Minister of Sport Roxana Maracineanu announced earlier this week that she would be putting together a committee to oversee the legalization of MMA in the country, which will go into effect on January 1 of this coming year. French athletic federations in the sports of judo, kickboxing/Muay Thai, wrestling, and French boxing (savate) will be submitting proposals to oversee the sanctioning of amateur and professional MMA.
In addition to allowing MMA to expand within France, the change would open opportunities for large MMA promotions — such as the UFC — to host events within the country. Considering that France has already produced some significantly talented MMA competitors (such as Francis Ngannou, who will compete against Junior dos Santos in the main event at this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night), we could see the addition of numerous skilled fighters to the existing pool once this decision takes effect.