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French uphold ban on UFC
Despite intense lobbying, the French Sports ministry has confirmed the ban on Mixed Martial Arts will remain, blocking hopes that UFC could make inroads in the country.
Last year, UFC chief executive Lorenzo Fertitta called France a "massive opportunity" and showing outstanding cultural stereotyping added he was "encouraged that you'll be eating croissants watching the UFC pretty soon".
But the French ministry reconfirmed its stand. "The policy … has not changed and remains clear. The practice of MMA is not allowed and its events/shows are not permitted."
The stance was welcomed by Carole Bretteville, the president of the Women's Committee for Federation Francaise du Sport d'Entreprise.
"France works very hard to promote equality in all aspects of life, especially in sports," she said. "I was appalled to find out how UFC was lobbying in France, especially when [told] how UFC has tolerated derogatory statements and attitudes against women. We cannot allow such an organisation to destroy all the work we have done to promote equality through French sports."