MMA Finally Makes a Return to France for UFC Paris
UFC PARIS DATE, START TIME
- Date: Saturday
- Main card: 3 p.m. ET
- Main event cagewalks (approx): 5:30 p.m. ET
- Channel: ESPN+
Mixed Martial Arts has had a long and topsy-turvy history with France, despite producing such incredible quality in kickboxing through the years.
The country banned television rights to the UFC, and banned it nationwide in 2016. This happened as MMA was growing in popularity it had never before reached.
UFC Gets on TV, then Sanctioned
The French Media Regulatory Council did, however, lift the 15-year ban on televising MMA in 2020, which, although keeping the sport illegal to participate in the country for a while, allowed French TV to show MMA events outside of the country.
Then, a 10:30 p.m. watershed was introduced, along with an 8:30 p.m. cut-off point on pay-TV channels. Viewers must also be older than 16 to tune in.
In 2016, the government said MMA would only become legal if it was taken over by an existing French sports federation.
That body would then have a contract to regulate MMA in France for two years and beyond, if they wish to keep things going.
UFC in Paris a Reality
Now, two years after France decided to recognize MMA on professional and amateur levels as a sport, the UFC finally gets its dream of hosting an event in Paris.
Bellator was the first to do it, with an event there in May, but with COVID-19 now taking a backseat and worldwide travel now allowed, the UFC and the City of Light will finally meet with one another.
UFC Finally Gets to France, and Norway
There was a time that France and Norway were leading the charge to get MMA off the map in Europe.
Both countries refused to recognize MMA until 2029 when the Norwegian MMA Federation (NMMAF) was acknowledged under the Norwegian Sports Federation.
This is ironic given how Jack Hermansson of Norway and Cyril Gane of France continue to represent their countries so well in the sport.
Nevertheless, MMA is now off and running in France, and with it will come an array of spectacular athletes over the coming years.
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