The Polynesian Federation of Wrestling and Associated Disciplines, or Fédération Polynésienne de Lutte, d’arts Martiaux Mixtes, Jiu Jistu Brésilien et Disciplines Associées (FPLAJDA), has been recognized by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). The membership was announced at a press conference on October 11, 2019 in Tahiti.
Hiro Lemaire is the current president of the FPLAJDA. The press event recently hosted by the federation featured specialists that included doctors and sociologists.
Hosted by the FPLAJDA as part of its bid for national sport recognition, the press event was part of a one-week programme of seminars and conferences about MMA, its safety, social impact and regulation. IMMAF President Kerrith Brown was in attendance along with French Comity president and IMMAF board director Bertrand Amoussou and IMMAF member relations manager Gosha Malik.
At an earlier press conference on October 8, 2019, French Polynesian minister for sports Christelle Lehartel announced that she would extend the time period for the legalization and recognition of the sport, for which FPLAJDA has applied to be its official national governing body. The extension is to enable further study of the management of the discipline and also to reassure the public.
“We have to be clear, there is no competition with France,” Lehartel stated. “We work in a partnership with the minister’s office in Paris but at a given time, Polynesia will have to make its position clear.”
“But I am more reassured with each passing day and our champions invited me to watch their demonstration,” Lehartel continued. “We have to be serious about MMA now. I see the visit of this IMMAF delegation as an excellent way to reassure the population and our youth about MMA.”
French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France. On June 24, 2019, French minister of sports Roxana Maracineanu initiated the process towards the legalization of MMA following the recommendations of a cross-parliamentary report. Various recognized combats sports federations are due to submit their bids to adopt the sport within their structure on November 27, 2019 with the sports minister’s announcement of the successful applicant anticipated at the end of December 2019.
In French Polynesia, the FPLAJDA is the only federation to have applied for government recognition as the governing body for MMA. If the FPLAJDA’s application is successful, the legalization of MMA in the French territory will still need to be granted by a public service delegation (DSP) with local decrees voted on at the ministry counsel.
However, a ruling could intervene during the next renewal of the DSP after October 21, 2019 or when recognition of Polynesia’s national governing body for MMA is announced by the Sports Ministry on January 1, 2020. Brown said, “We are delighted to welcome another member federation to IMMAF.”
“It shows the global appeal of amateur MMA and I have been very impressed by the approach by the authorities here,” the IMMAF president continued. “While the sport is already very popular with their young population, they are keen to ensure that the governance is exemplary. We will support the FPLAJDA’s application in any way we can.”
French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands namely the Society Islands archipelago, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands and the Austral Islands. Have a glimpse of the beauty of the Tuamotu Archipelago here: