Elite MMA athlete, Karl Amoussou, has today renounced his French nationality following a back-door decree by France’s Sports Minister on Sunday to disallow key elements of MMA competition, as reported by Onlike.
The decree has come as a shock to the MMA community in France since a parliamentary review of the sport has been underway with a verdict due next month on 8th November. Although MMA has been banned in practice, it has never been technically illegal forcing it into a grey area beyond the reach of regulation. Parliamentary rapporteurs, MPs Patrick Vignal and Jacques Grosperrin held a recent meeting with the Sports Minister in which they reported a favourable view of the regulation of MMA following 170 hours of interviews with “Coaches, social scientists, athletes, doctors, federal presidents, local politicians and senior officials”. The Sports Minister’s out-of-hours decree came as a shock to them also, with Vignal saying that he only learnt of it via social media, while Grosperrin has heavily criticised the “clear lack of respect for the parliamentary work underway.” Onlike has described the decree as an ‘insider job’.
Today, Karl Amoussou, who has 32 professional MMA matches to his name and has competed internationally on Bellator, Cage Warriors, Venator, Euro FC and M1-Global, issued the following statement:
“After a long night of reflection following the announcement made by the government on banning MMA competition in France, I’ve made a decision myself. As a patriot, I have always been proud of representing my country on an international level and to always try to honor it through my success, but it doesn’t stop there – to also honou it with my values of respect, dignity, courage and fair play, the values that are omnipresent in my sport.
I’ve fought; we fought for the recognition of this sport that we practice, that we love, or by which we are simply passionate. I’ve never accepted and will never accept to be dragged through the mud; I have never accepted being insulted.
Now, the decision that has just been taken is a direct insult to the entire MMA community. Extremely incoherent things have been said about MMA over the years, about the potential damage/harm to human dignity that this sport can cause to us athletes.
What exactly do you take us for, a bunch of blood thirsty savages? A parliamentary inquiry took place. Doctors, sociologists, lawyers, coaches and fighters were heard. I have no doubt as to the content of their comments because they know the sport and that beyond the technical mastery that this sport requests, there is evidence that MMA is safer and less damaging than boxing.
Politicians visited MMA gyms. Were they shocked to see kids enjoying themselves while practicing this sport in such a playful atmosphere? For these reasons, I know that this mission was in vain and that the final nail had already been put on the coffin.
Despite these barriers, France is worldwide represented at the highest level in MMA, counting several fighters among the top 100 and even top 50, with some of them being part of the most prestigious organizations throughout the world and in Europe, and all this without any support from their country.
MMA is a sport that requires incredible technical mastery; the best MMA fighters can potentially fight at world championship level in wrestling, boxing, muay Thai, grappling, etc.
Where French fighters should be congratulated for their performance, they are looked upon with suspicion and disdain by the French governing body. I have been insulted enough, so I’ve decided to no longer represent France in MMA!
Having both French and German nationality, I will from now on represent Germany. If the French government’s position changes, I may reconsider my stance in a few years; meanwhile, I will fight for a country that respects me as a fighter and top athlete.
I am not jumping ship; take this as an act of protest. I strongly believe that in life you have to be respected, and in order to be respected you must refuse to being submissive. I will not put up with it, so it’s time for me take a stand.”