2016 IMMAF EUROPEAN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
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Yesterday marked a seminal event in the unfolding history of MMA in France, where mixed martial arts competition is in practice prohibited, as cross-parliamentary politicians Patrick Vignal and Jacques Grosperrin presented the results of their research into the sport.
It was understood that on the back of a census and 170 hours of interviews with stakeholders and medical and social professionals, the politicians were in favour of legalization. However, tensions escalated just over a week ago when a decree was issued by the Sports Minister, Thierry Braillard, further outlawing MMA competition. Earlier today the Sports Minister tweeted his thanks to Vignal and Grosperrin for their report, stating that it will engender results. He also tweeted that Amateur MMA exists in France and so education and structure were needed but that his position on professional practice remained constant. [A full report of yesterday’s events is to follow.]
Against this backdrop, the French Amateur MMA Team, under CFMMA, has registered 2 competitors for the 2016 IMMAF European Open Championships which takes place in less than 2 weeks in Prague (22- 26 November).
Returning medallist, Alan Guichard, earned a silver medal for France in the Heavyweight division at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships at UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas. He scored silver on defeating the 2015 IMMAF European Heavyweight, Daniel Galbarov (Bulgaria).
Guichard previously earned a Bronze medal for France at the 2015 World Championships, beating Galbarov en route to ultimately losing to Travis Edwards (USA). There is a strong chance that Guichard, who trains out of Kmred Gym in Belocq, will meet Bulgarian prospect Galbarov for a third time at the 2016 European Open Championships.
Also attending the IMMAF Open from France, is Henri Dimitri, who is making his European Open debut and trains at the Platinum Hybrid Training Center, Paris. Dimitri competed in the 2016 World Championships to lose on day 2 of the preliminaries.
Despite French athletes being at disadvantage in full contact Amateur MMA competition, due to restricted competitive experience in their home country, they have achieved unexpectedly well. Iurie Bejanari won the IMMAF World Flyweight Championship Gold medal for France in 2015 and the national team currently ranks at 13 in the IMMAF World Amateur MMA Rankings.