By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran
Last week IMMAF Board Member and former President, Bertrand Amoussou, received the rank of 6th Dan of Judo, courtesy of Jean-Michel Dracos. The incredible life achievement saw him presented with the honour of wearing the white-red belt, synonymous with the rank (pictured below).
The French MMA pioneer and stakeholder in the sport expressed his dedication and continued commitment to Judo via social media: “I am particularly happy because it shows that martial arts have no borders,” he stated. “This for me is the most important message today. Yes, I am an MMA coach today, but the blood of Judo still flows in my veins.”
IMMAF.org followed up to further discuss his Judo roots, of which opened a pathway towards a future career and second passion within MMA as a pioneering competitor, coach and French speaking UFC analyst.
“I began my martial arts journey with Judo and spent 10 years in the French national team. At that time I could not imagine that I would have other martial arts experience and surely not MMA, but here we are now, life is really incredible.”
Born in Dakar, Senegal in 1966, Amoussou is the son of a Beninese instructor of Judo and Karate. He is a former MMA competitor who in 2004 was victorious under the iconic banner of Pride Fighting Championships, at Pride Bushido 3 in Tokyo, Japan. In 2008 he became the President of France’s governing body for MMA, the Commission Française de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA). He served as President of IMMAF from September 2013 through to June 2015.
“I remember first fighting in the international Vale Tudo in Rio in 1995 and not knowing what was going on. I also had to compete the following weekend for the European Cup with my team, PSG Judo. Judo was my life and my education, this is something I cannot forget.
“I’ve had the privilege to train throughout my life in Judo with legends like David Douillet, Christophe Gagliano, Darcel Yandzi and Djamel Bourras. I can add a further 20 names of this same calibre to the list. I also had the chance to train some awesome Judo Champions like Lucie Decosse or Teddy Riner. Judo is important for me.
“As some may know, I’m not in very good relation with the French Judo Federation, since I’m involved with MMA. The consequences are that they will not grade me anymore. So, I’m very happy that the WIBK federation based in Switzerland gave me the surprise to award me the 6th Dan of Judo. I’m very honoured with that.”