‘No, Mr. Rougé’: IMMAF President corrects Jean-Luc Rougé on misleading MMA rhetoric

IMMAF President Kerrith Brown (pictured) took to Twitter on Monday in response to comments made by the President of the French Judo Federation (FJF) and General Secretary of the International Judo Federation (IJF), Jean-Luc Rougé.

For years, Mr. Rougé has been one of MMA’s most vocal opposers, particularly in France as the sport is pushing to be legalised and regulated in an effort to provide mandatory safety standards for its participants. In previous interviews, Mr. Rougé has stated that MMA practitioners are ‘stupid’ and in 2015 was reported to have described MMA as a ‘haven for jihadists’ with ‘no spiritual values’.

Most recently, in an interview with La Nouvelle République, Mr. Rouge continued to express misleading, anti-MMA rhetoric, drawing the ideals of Mixed Martial Arts as a sport into question, based on dated misconceptions such as use of the ‘cage’ competition area, ignoring its fundamental safety aspects.

The IMMAF President, himself a former World and Olympic judo medalist, presented corrections in response to the distorted perspective. See more below.

International judo heads are understood to be obstructing the progress of recognition for MMA, allegedly for commercial reasons in a campaign to preserve their own sport’s interests. Registered judo practitioners have been threatened with expulsion, should they become involved with Mixed Martial Arts. Boasting over 600,000 registered participants, judo is the biggest combat sport in France, even dwarfing the number of boxing licence holders, as reported by BloodyElbow.com.

French UFC contender Tom Duquesnoy explained to Blood Elbow that multiple persons from within the FJF occupy influential positions with the nation’s Ministry of Sport, whose order to ban MMA is currently being challenged by the French MMA Federation  – Commission Française de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA) in the courts.

In February, IMMAF’s President highlighted the potential ground breaking benefits of IMMAF working on a ‘united front‘ with the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and its membership bodies such as the IJF. He highlighted the multi-sport success of Olympic bronze medal winning judoka and former UFC champion, Ronda Rousey, as an example of the triumphant career paths that can be achieved by transitional athletes.