UFC welcomes legalisation of mixed martial arts in France

Cheick Kongo
Cheick Kongo is a French former UFC fighter who now competes in Bellator

France's decision to legalise mixed martial arts has been welcomed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the sport's leading organisation.

France's minister of sport Roxana Maracineanu said this week MMA will be allowed to take place as an amateur and professional sport from 1 January 2020.

It means French fighters will now be able to compete in their home country.

UFC says it marks the first step towards "integrating the sport into the French sports ecosystem".

"We put our global MMA expertise at the disposal of the French authorities to make this process a collective construction," added senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein.

"We will closely follow the progress of the consultation period and pay particular attention to the respect of the integrity of MMA and preservation of its rules by the host federation."