Latest Posts

Ciryl Gane, France’s journey to legalise MMA and why UFC Paris will be ‘special’

- Advertisement -

Former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Cyril Gein (Getty Images)
Former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Cyril Gein (Getty Images)

Perhaps there is no better person to lead the first in the history of France UFC event than Cyril Gein.

- Advertisement -

The leading mixed martial arts promotion hasn’t had a large number of French fighters since its founding in 1993, which isn’t surprising considering the nation didn’t even legalize the sport until two years ago, but Gein occupies an intriguing place on the list. Chronology of French MMA.

- Advertisement -

Like many of his combative compatriots, the 32-year-old has spent part of his career playing overseas. But having only started playing the sport in 2018 — the same year he began his professional career — Ghana didn’t have to wait long to return home. However, he more than deserved it.

- Advertisement -

“Bon Gamin” (“The Good Guy”) began his professional MMA career in Canada, scoring two stoppage victories in 2018 and adding another in 2019. ever seen get a contract with the UFC and within two years he won seven fights in a row under the company banner to claim the interim heavyweight title. Gein, just three years after starting mixed martial arts training, became the first French fighter to win gold in the UFC.

Gein’s path, which he walked with exceptional grace for a man of his build, led to Francis Ngannou. A former teammate of Ghane, Ngannou made it to France after numerous failed attempts to cross the European border from his native Cameroon. When Ngannou won the UFC Heavyweight Championship in March 2021, his own unique journey was complete. Some in France even glorified him as the head of the country. in fact first UFC champion. However, five months later Gein would have easily stopped Derrick Lewis. receive the official title of the first French UFC champion, if not the official title of king of the heavyweights.

A huge unification bout between Gane and Ngannou headlined the first UFC pay-per-view event in 2022, where Gane lost to an injured puncher after amazing show of effective wrestling from Ngannou. This defeat – a first for Ghane – could have been a defining moment in Bon Gamina’s career; instead, that moment could come with his historic performance at UFC Paris on September 3rd.

“That’s a really great question,” Gein says, when asked if the arrival of the UFC in France and the legalization of MMA in the country came sooner or later than he expected.

Gein reacts to his loss to former teammate Francis Ngannou (AFP via Getty Images)
Gein reacts to his loss to former teammate Francis Ngannou (AFP via Getty Images)

“I [actually] I do not know at the moment how long it has been legalized! There are a lot of guys, like my coach Fernand Lopez, who have been fighting for this legalization for a long time, and some even more than Fernand.

“I, I just arrived. I started in 2018, had a few fights, then France legalized MMA in 2020. And right after that I had a match with Francis Ngannou. So for me it was very fast, it was a bit normal.

“It’s just like my career, it’s normal for me to only work for four years and be at the top, but some guys have been trying to do that for a long time. But that’s good because we have a lot of fans and fighters in France and [the ban] was a real problem for all these guys.”

Although Gein wasn’t in MMA early enough to campaign in the same way as Lopez and others, he has become the face of French MMA and deserves his place at the top of the card in Paris, where he will face rising contender Tai Tuivasa.

“My style is to touch but never touch, like I did against Derrick Lewis or maybe Jairzinho Rozenstruik, so I think it will be about the same against Tuivasa,” Gein says of the match against the Australian.

“My game plan will be the same, I don’t know if I will do the same. [Lewis and Rozenstruik fights are] help me fight Tuivasa, but I don’t want to say that I prefer [fighting] this guy to that guy because I want to fight and beat everyone.

“With Tuivasa it is really dangerous to keep the middle distance. That’s why I prefer to be far or very close in the clinch, but in the middle range this guy is very, very, very, very dangerous.”

29-year-old Tuivasa (14-3) will arrive in the French capital after five knockout victories in a row. Tuivasa’s string of stops and penchant for celebrating have further boosted the fan favorite’s popularity, but the Parisian crowd are hoping Gein will abruptly halt the Aussie’s progress and ruin his post-fight ritual.

Gein during a stoppage win over Derrick Lewis (Getty Images)
Gein during a stoppage win over Derrick Lewis (Getty Images)

“Maybe after he wants and I want, we [a Shooey] together,” Gein counters. “I would love to, but I don’t know… it’s really unhealthy with shoes,” he laughs. “I guess it would be funny … but [I’ll only do it] if I win.”

After UFC London’s record-breaking night in March – a brilliant event that has already led the promotion to announcing a return to the O2 Arena in July – expectations for the UFC in Paris are high. However, Gein, who is usually collected, is unlikely to be embarrassed by this.

“My first fight in Paris is exactly the same as my other fights,” he insists. “My training camp is exactly the same, I’m really focused on Tai Tuivasa. But yes, it’s a bit special because it’s Paris – the first time in my country, in front of my family and my friends. But it doesn’t put more pressure on me. I’m just happy [about it], no pressure; not now, maybe later…

The success of the UFC in London has brought attention to British MMA talent, but has also provided a platform for that talent to grow, and Gein hopes to see the same effect in France.

“Holding the UFC in Paris will help shed more light on the young [French] fighters,” he says. “It will help us have more French fighters in the UFC, 100 percent.”

For Gein, the “mission” now is to hold onto undisputed heavyweight gold in the UFC. For some in French MMA, the mission was completed with the legalization of the sport in the country. For others, the goal will simply be to fight in the UFC, and UFC Paris will help make that a reality. Gein did his job.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: Tickets for the match GANE vs. TUIVASA will go on sale from 9:00 AM ET on Friday, June 24 through Accor Arena and Ticketmaster.



Source: sports.yahoo.com

- Advertisement -

Latest Posts

Don't Miss