It has been a very interesting fortnight in the world of international judo. Firstly, The UFC was forced to revoke its sponsorship of the European Championships in Scotland, and then the European Judo Union decided to relocate the tournament completely, partly due to the British Judo Association’s affiliation with the UFC. That was only the tip of the iceberg, as today the French Judo Federation joined the EJU’s crusade against MMA, banning all Judo coaches in France from teaching MMA.
According to the president of the French Judo Federation, Jean-Luc Rouge, Mixed Martial Arts and Judo have no place together. Speaking in French magazine, L’Equipe, Rouge had some strong words to say about MMA.
“Anyone (in judo) caught teaching MMA (Mixed martial arts), will be removed from the French Judo Federation. MMA is illegal in France. All those who teach do not have the right and are liable to be written off. They put the Federation in trouble and if there is serious injury, it will be my fault.”
Rouge’s issue seems not to be just about the possibility of the Federation being liable for any injuries caused by their coaches training students in MMA, but also with the sport in general.
“These new combat sports (MMA) seem like they come out of a video game. These guys are stupid enough to kill each other in front of everyone in a cage and they are well paid, so they would accept. Sport is not war! We must be able to shake hands and go have a beer together in the end.”
While these views are extreme, what is more worrying is that the people holding these views are highly influential. Rouge’s federation has over 500,000 members in France and it could potentially rule out the possibility of MMA being legal in France for the foreseeable future.
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