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IMMAF chief calls French Judo Federation’s MMA ban 'a characteristic abuse of power'

IMMAF president, Bertrand Amoussou fires back at the French Judo Federation's decision to ban its' coaches from teaching MMA.

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The head of the French Judo Federation, Jean-Luc Rouge, imposed a ban on its members from coaching its pupils in MMA, this week. This decision has drawn a number of notable critics, most notably Dr. AnnMaria De Mars, a former judo world champion alongside her superstar daughter, UFC champion Ronda Rousey.

Now, another prominent member of the mixed martial arts worlds has spoken out in condemnation of Rouge's statements. Bertrand Amoussou, the current president of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, has responded to Rouge's outlandish claims that MMA is a sport for people "stupid enough to kill each other in front of everyone in a cage".

"The latest statement made by the president of the French Judo Federation, Jean Luc Rougé, threatening to ban judo coaches from teaching MMA in France, is a characteristic abuse of power" said Amoussou in a press release.

Mr. Amoussou makes an interesting point, that Jean-Luc Rouge's interest in banning FJF's coaches from teaching MMA isn't about safety, it is just a subtext to hide his ongoing dispute with Judo athletes, trying to stop them from competing in MMA and BJJ tournaments:

"For some time, Mr. Rougé has made it his mission to fight MMA on every front: Firstly he has forbidden world ranked judo athletes from competing in other disciplines. Then he worked hard to break the sponsorship deal between the UFC and British Judo for the forthcoming European Judo Championships, resulting in the removal of the championships from England. Now this latest announcement really raises questions about the motivations of this individual to persecute a sport which is garnering more and more followers worldwide."

It remains to be seen how the European Judo Federation will react in light of Jean-Luc Rouge's comments, the Judo world has received a substantial amount of criticism from onlooker as of late, firstly by refusing the UFC's sponsorship of the European Judo Championships and then by moving the championships from Scotland at the last minute.

Bertrand Amoussou's name might be familiar to some. Before becoming the IMMAF president, Amoussou was a French national judo champion, a European Championship medalist, and an MMA fighter who dedicated the latter part of his career to coaching his brother, former Bellator title challenger Karl Amoussou.