European Throwdown: France Comes to the Party


There was a collective sigh of relief throughout mixed martial arts circles in France last Sunday when news broke that the government had legalized the sport after a long struggle. The country was the last of the major European nations that still banned MMA.

After months of supreme efforts by fighters like Jess Liaudin (Pictures) and Cyrille Diabate (Pictures) as well as movie directors like Paul Beletre and Omar Bouhelal, the government department for heath, youth and sports softened its tone and made major concessions to one of Europe's major fighting nations.

As of Jan. 27, French promoters are allowed to hold events under Shooto rules. The only restrictions are the use of elbow strikes to the head of a downed opponent, which remains illegal. Referees are also advised to immediately stop any bout in which a fighter takes three clean shots to the head on the ground, regardless of the competitor's experience inside the ring.

To speed up the organization and regulation of new shows, French fighters have created an MMA commission. PRIDE Bushido veteran and Fightsport magazine founder Bertrand Amoussou has been appointed president of the commission, which immediately joined the French Federation of Full Contact Sports.

The legalization of MMA in their home country will give French fighters, who are already considered among the best in Europe, even more opportunities to improve and display their skills. Fans around the world can look forward to more exciting fighters in the mold of Samy Schiavo (Pictures), Moise Rimbon and Cheick Kongo (Pictures).

Unlike Sherdog.com, which chose Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as the strongest performer of 2007, readers of the German Web site groundandpound.de have voted for Anderson Silva as the successor of Mirko "Cro Cop" (2006) and Mauricio Rua (Pictures) (2005) as fighter of the year.

The 32-year-old Brazilian, who successfully defended his UFC middleweight championship three times last year, snatched 46.2 percent of the votes. Quinton Jackson (Pictures) (30.8 percent) and Randy Couture (Pictures) (17.1 percent) finished second and third respectively.

The Ground & Pound Awards, which were given out for the third consecutive year in 2007, awarded prizes to fighters, fight teams, fights, promotions and events. Fans, fighters, managers, promoters and trainers from all over the world decided on winners in 16 categories.

Complete results:
Fighter of the Year: Anderson Silva (Brazil)
Female Fighter of the Year: Tara Larosa (Pictures) (USA)
Fight Team of the Year: Xtreme Couture (USA)
Rookie of the Year: Thiago Silva (Pictures) (Brazil)
Most Improved Fighter: Robbie Lawler (Pictures) (USA)
Best Young Fighter: Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (Pictures) (Cameroon)
Cult Fighter of the Year: Jason Miller (USA)
German Fighter of the Year: Dennis Siver (Pictures) (Mannheim)
Boxer of the Year: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (USA)
Kickboxer of the Year: Semmy Schilt (Pictures) (Holland)
Grappler of the Year: Marcelo Garcia (Pictures) and Roger Gracie (Pictures) (both Brazil)

Fight of the Year: Takanori Gomi (Pictures) vs. Nick Diaz (Pictures) (PRIDE 33)
Knockout of the Year: Gabriel Gonzaga (Pictures) vs. Mirko Filipovic (Pictures) (UFC 70)
Submission of the Year: Nick Diaz (Pictures) vs. Takanori Gomi (Pictures) (PRIDE 33)

Best Promotion: Ultimate Fighting Championship
Fight Event of the Year: PRIDE 33 "The Second Coming"

A group of three European fighters will be in action Friday in Canada at Hardcore Championship Fighting's "Destiny" event.

The most prominent spot on the card features Armenia's "Young Vagabond" Gegard Mousasi (Pictures) squaring off against grim Chute Boxer Evangelista Santos (Pictures). The bout against "Cyborg" will be Mousasi's first of two bouts within 30 days, as the well-rounded 22-year-old fighter has another match coming up against Dutchman Dave Dalgliesh on March 2 in Holland.

Not quite as busy but faced with an equal challenge is Croatian kickboxer Damir Mirenic, who lost his North American debut against Mousasi last October. The 33-year-old middleweight takes on Team Quest fighter Mike Pyle (Pictures). "Quicksand," as the very experienced Pyle is dubbed, went 3-3 in the IFL and in EliteXC over the past two years.

Also on the card is Miodrag Petkovic. The 39-year-old Serbian submission specialist is set to make his HCF debut against undefeated Canadian King of the Cage champion Tim Hague. Even though he had a rough spell recently, dropping four of his last five fights, they don't call Petkovic "Pele" for no reason: The 6-foot-2, 250-pounder has knocked out Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic's sparring partner Igor Pokrajac twice.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

  • 17 days ago
  • 3 views

Retired mixed martial arts (MMA) superstar and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Wanderlei Silva is calling for less hate in the world following a violent shooting attack in Fr read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 10 views

Jon Jones is the greatest mixed martial arts fighter in the history of the sport. A combination of carefully honed skill and innate physical tools, he's run roughshod over one of the UFC's glamour di read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 7 views

CM Punk will hold his first mixed martial arts training camp at Roufusport, UFC President Dana White revealed Tuesday on Fox Sports Live. read news >>

  • 26 days ago
  • 13 views

It's tempting to think that mixed martial arts has reached its final form. Once dominated by specialists of one fighting style or another, the sport has evolved to require at least a basic understand read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 26 views

MMAmania.com resident fighter analyst Andrew Richardson breaks down the mixed martial arts (MMA) game of UFC 182 headliner Daniel Cormier, who will look to overcome light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jone read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 15 views

Bleacher Report lead mixed martial arts writers Jonathan Snowden and Jeremy Botter have decided to band together—much like The Avengers or the Mega Powers, except better looking and with no tights—an read news >>

  • 23 days ago
  • 23 views

Mixed martial arts is new to the DraftKings scene, but it won't take long for fans to catch on to the newest fantasy sports twist. UFC 182 on Saturday from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is a perfect eve read news >>

  • 22 days ago
  • 31 views

Mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters say the darndest things prior to stepping inside the Octagon. MMAmania.com looks back at a handful of UFC 182 pre-fight remarks to find out who talked the talk -- an read news >>

  • 22 days ago
  • 0 views

Women’s mixed martial arts continued to make its mark on MMA’s biggest stage in 2014, but a few women's performances stood above the rest. read news >>