Bellator is the first MMA promotion to return to France, resulting in cumulative sighs of relief from fans and fighters alike.
In 2016, France banned the sport of MMA. The government said that they would consider the sport as legal only when an existing sports federation takes it over. The French Minister for sports, Roxana Maracineanu, during June of last year, announced via Twitter that France would accept applications from existing sports federation to host MMA events in the country.
From January 1, 2020, MMA once again became a recognized sport in the country. While many UFC fighters hail from this region, most notably Heavyweight superstar Francis Ngannou, the UFC, or any other promotion could not put up shows in France.
The application process for federations to host the first event in France started in September 2019, and a decision had to be made by December 1. This was reported by Le Parisien. The French boxing commission was tasked with regulating the sport.
Fast forward to September 2020, and the Bellator is reportedly headed to France. As reported by Ariel Helwani, Bellator will hold an event on October 10 at France.
Moreover, in what can be described as a power move, Bellator beat its main rival and the biggest MMA promotion in the world, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, to be the first to the French market.
This is the first major MMA event for Bellator in France, and they would love to make a good impression. Now, the biggest question is, who will be the headlining card? The first name that pops up is 45-year-old Cheick Kongo, a true pioneer for the sport in his country. Not having Cheick on the card will be criminal. Kongo’s last fight was a no-contest accidental eye poke against Ryan Bader.
Bader then lost his belt against Vadim Nemkov, so a rematch for a belt is not possible. Cris Cyborg versus Arlene Blencowe is also scheduled to take place before the end of 2020. The Aforementioned fight could also be an addition or headliner for Bellator’s debut in France.
All this, however, remains speculation at this point as neither is it confirmed yet by the Bellator, nor is any fight announced at this point in time.