Brutal and merciless. MMA, legalized in France since 2020 only, has a bad reputation. For the first time, the UFC, the main organization of this sport invites itself to Paris on Saturday September 3rd. The 15,000 spectators expected at Bercy will be able to witness a deluge of blows and armbars. Several rules have nevertheless been put in place to guarantee the safety of participants in UFC Paris.
First, contrary to the idea we have of the discipline, which brings together all the existing martial disciplines, not all blows are allowed. It is possible to strike with the hands, legs and knees, as well as to throw his opponent on the ground and subject him to submission techniques, submission keys, even to strike him with his fists once he dropped.
Boxing, wrestling, grappling
This set of techniques comes from the most used sports in MMA: English boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and grappling. However, it is forbidden to hit your opponent with a head butt, or a blow behind the head. The private parts are also off limits. Fighters cannot use their feet or knees or elbow downwards against their opponent on the ground, nor insert their fingers into their holes or scratch them.
Also, like boxing, MMA fighters are split by weight to even out fights. The men are split into eight categories, from flyweight (under 56.7kg) to heavyweight (under 120.2kg) with a super heavyweight category with no weight limit. As for women, they are classified from strawweight (under 52 kg) to featherweight (under 66 kg).
Participants compete in a ring, often an octagon, surrounded by a fence. This “cage” protects them from projections that could send them beyond the combat space.
Doctors are also present on the edges of the ring. They are notably put to use by a new rule, which stipulates that fighters who receive a shot in the eye can get five minutes to recover. At the end of this period, the doctor decides whether the fight can continue.
As early as 2016, a parliamentary report called for the legalization of sport precisely to better regulate it and improve the safety of combatants. The UFC today claims 3.8 million fans in France, making it “the second most important country in Europe on social networks” for the organization, despite the criticism that MMA faces. In 2015, the president of the judo federation claimed in a controversial exit that he was “a refuge for jihadists” and “an invention for doing business” without “educational aspect”.