UFC to host first event in France in September

The UFC has announced it will stage its first event in France on Sept. 3 at the Accor Arena in Paris after a decade-long battle with French authorities.

President Dana White said on Tuesday: "I'm so excited to hold our first event in Paris this September. It will be an unbelievable night of fights and an epic historic event for the athletes and fans."

White highlighted the growth of the UFC -- which is headquartered in the U.S. -- in Europe, claiming there are 3.8 million fans in France.

The mixed martial arts brand hosts events in London -- and previously in Germany in Cologne until 2009 -- and said it has been working on getting a fight in France for almost a decade.

For much of that time, the UFC has tried to obtain official recognition by French authorities of MMA, which it gained in 2020.

"In the coming months, UFC will continue to work closely with the French Boxing Federation and the French Mixed Martial Arts Federation to promote the positive impact of MMA as a sport," the statement added.

France already has athletes competing in the UFC, including Ciryl Gane, who became the first French-born athlete to fight for the UFC heavyweight title, against Francis Ngannou. The country also has Manon Fiorot from Nice in the flyweight category, as well as Benoit Saint-Denis and French-Russian fighter Nassourdine Imavov.