(L-R) – WMMAA president Vadim Finkelchtein, WMMAA vice-president Joel Bouzou and WMMAA honorary president Fedor Emelianenko
Four-time French Olympian Joel Bouzou, president and founder of Peace and Sports (www.peace-sport.org), has been appointed Vice President of World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA).
Bouzou captured a gold medal at the 1987 World Championship Modern Pentathlon, in addition to representing France in 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1994 Olympic Games, winning a Bronze Medal in 1984 as a team member.
Peace and Sports is a neutral international organization based in Monaco, under the patronage of Prince Albert II, founded in 2007 to promote the use of sport to foster dialogue and reconciliation everywhere it’s needed.
WMMAA’s goal is to be the official world governing body for Mixed Martial Arts. A non-profit organization founded in 2012, WMMAA is on a mission to develop a standardized and regulated organization, including competition, training, officiating, testing and growth when necessary. More than 400 countries have been granted WMMAA membership.
The head of WMMAA is President Vadim Finkelchtein, also the president of M-1 Global, the largest MMA group in Russia and Europe. WMMAA’s honorary president is legendary Fedor Emelianenko, considered by many to be the greatest MMA fighter of all-time.
Bouzou’s start in MMA was through an introduction by his wife to Finkelchtein. “Interest in collaboration was mutual,” Bouzou explained. “Vadim does very much for the development of MMA in the whole world and is interested in popularization of this sport. I see enormous peacemaking potential in mixed martial arts. We had a conversation during which we found the points of contiguity and drew up a plan of our collaboration. Both is us – Vadim and I – analyzed carefully all pros and cons. And as a result we decided that collaboration has to take place.
“The first important steps for MMA development have already been done. The national MMA federations already exist in many countries. Tutors, seminars and master classes are being conducted all over the world. Fighters are excellent role models for our society. There are two fighters, two opponents. Each of them has his own story. One is a winner, the other is a loser. But they respect each other. If there is no opponent there is no fight. And you can be a hero, real winner and a good fighter, only if you are a good opponent. To respect the rules and your opponent is important here. It unites sportsmen and it is an example for society.”
Last October, WMMAA hosted the inaugural World MMA Championships held in St. Petersburg, Russia, which made history as amateur MMA fighters from all over the world competed for national pride in front of an audience of millions via television and internet broadcasts. The second annual World MMA Championships is scheduled to be held this September in Minsk, Belarus.
“I’m sure one of the basic tasks for us is to increase the interest of MMA in government,” Bouzou continued. “For this purpose it is necessary to develop master classes, seminars and conferences. Also, we will conduct different social programs in partnership with the Peace and Sports organization. Presenting MMA through collaboration with Peace and Sports, we will show to governments and society that mixed martial arts can be a very useful type of sport which can help with the solution of social problems.
“I consider it is important to carry MMA’s philosophy to the people. It is the philosophy of respect to the opponent and following rules. It is not just a show. It is a prime example that even irreconcilable rivals can unite for a general aim.
“The social side of sport – education, developing programs, competitions, popularization of sport among children and youth – is important to the state. If government is sure MMA can play an important role for society, that fighters can become excellent examples for people, they will support development of this sport. Fights, tournaments, and shows are spectacular and exciting, but it goes more to business. My goal is to show that MMA also has a strong social side.”
For more information about WMMAA, please visit www.WMMAA.org.