We are now just days away from the return of Hexagone MMA for the absolutely stacked Hexagone MMA 7 card in Poitiers, France.
The Arena Futuroscope will no doubt be shaken to its very foundations as preparations reach their respective ends and the violence commences on March 11th.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Hexagone MMA’s Co-President Jérôme Pourrut in the build-up to the violent festivities, to gain some insight into what the future holds for Hexagone, and what to expect from their 7th card to date.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today Jerome, and also to congratulate you on the return of Hexagone MMA on March 11th.
“Thank you, it’s a pleasure speaking with you also.”
You’re very welcome, Jerome.
Nearly 2 years have passed since the cage door was closed at Hexagone 1, and what a ride it’s been. We are fast approaching your 7th and quite possibly your most explosive card to date, it must be an incredible feeling?
“Yes, definitely a great feeling. It’s exciting for a couple of reasons. We started the year off in such a good way, with a sold out arena in Zènith in Paris. It was expected, but when you pursue it, it’s a great feeling. On the card we had an exceptional British fighter like Dean Garnett.”
“Coming up, we again have some serious UK talent in Walter Gahadza for the Welterweight belt against Ivory Coast fighter Aymard Guih. We have Norman Parke, a former UFC fighter, former BAMMA champion and former KSW champion. We are focusing on bringing the UK scene to France, and we are very happy to do it. Because those names are putting some spotlight on our promotion and world league, and that’s a good reason to watch Hexagone MMA 7 on BT Sports and DAZN. We will be live on BT Sport at 6.30 pm London time, so you’ll have the opportunity to catch all the great UK names on the card. We also have Shanelle Dyer making her professional debut, who is 8-3 on the amateur scene. and a multiple champion in Junior Thai Boxing, so many reasons to tune in. And of course, we are bringing the best French MMA fighters on the card. Hexagone MMA 7 will be located at the very famous theme park in France called Futuroscope, the arena just opened last year. It’s a very modern arena, we are focused on bringing MMA where you’d least expect it to be. And I think bringing MMA there is a very good thing. We want to introduce MMA to the masses, as it’s a very young sport in France. We had to wait until 2020, I believe there was no reason for that. Our fabulous sport is like a crying baby, only 3 years old, so that’s why we want to bring MMA where it’s not supposed to be, in a very different but unique setting.”
That’s completely understandable, you’ve done an absolutely amazing job. June 24th, 2019 will forever be carved in the history of mixed martial arts as the day the sport was legalised in France. The wait for the legalisation must have fuelled the desire to succeed with Hexagone as being held back for so long?
“Exactly. Personally, I’ve always been around MMA in France and different projects. I worked with Cage Rage back in the day, in the early 2000’s. We want MMA to be mainstream, and I think that watching the UFC this past weekend proves that. We had a headliner representing us in Ciryl Gane against the goat Jon Jones. It’s great to have such a poster fighter like Ciryl Gane, but we also need the French scene to be more active, and active in a good way. That’s why we pride ourselves on bringing MMA to the big arena’s in France.”
You’re making that objective a reality, having a whole host of explosive French talent on the card, definitely. And a huge statement for Hexagone MMA hosting Shanelle Dyer for her pro debut, I think I speak for the entire UK when I say this is a high statement, such a talented individual.
“Yes, exactly. And you wouldn’t expect a French promotion to be the debut for Shanelle Dyer, we want to be full of surprises. That’s why we want to put emphasis on becoming a big European promotion and league, not only a French league. We don’t want our cards to be French vs French and only focusing on our great country, we want fleets from England, from Poland and Europe to be competing at Hexagone MMA, that’s the goal. We want to be like the huge promotion you have in England, Cage Warriors, like OKTAGON MMA in the Czech Republic and KSW in Poland. Those promotions are very localised, but everybody knows in France, we want Hexagone MMA to be a big name in Europe, like those brands. Very strong in their respective countries, but also very famous and established on European soil.”
In my opinion, you are definitely making waves to have those goals come to fruition, definitely.
It’s amazing to see the progression in such a small space of time, due to the dedication by all involved. Each and every card highlights this fact, from the well renowned fighters on the cards, to the dedication put in by your team on a daily basis to solidify yourselves as one of the fastest growing companies in the violent yet exhilarating world of Mixed Martial Arts.
“Thank you very much. In a couple of months we are going to be in France for upcoming cards. For example, on the 3rd of June we’ll be in Bèziers, the card will be at a bullfighting arena, it will be outdoors also, I can guarantee you it will be one of a kind.”
“On the 28th of July we will be in a town called Orange, on the left bank of the Rhône River, north of Avignon at the Théâtre antique d’Orange. It was built 2000 years ago and is a very unique antique location, and will be very special. As we’ve spoken about, we want to bring MMA to places none would expect it to be, we want everyone to experience MMA, we want to introduce the sport to the masses in France, as well as Europe.”
Very unique locations indeed, you can see you are going leaps and bounds to make your cards as exciting as possible.
You have assembled quite a card for the 11th, with all eyes surrounding various fights in the night as we spoke of. From a Co-president standpoint, what are you looking forward to once the violent festivities begin?
“Personally, I’ll be looking forward to it all, as we’ve produced a very strong fight card. On the Undercard we will have some local fighters from Poitiers, it’s very important to us to have the crowd to have these kinds of fighter’s on the card. We have Younes Bouhassoun and Axel Nobou from Poitiers, these two will get a huge reception on the night. We have signed some big French names in the Lightweight division also, Abu Tounkara who has fought at BRAVE CF facing Bruno Conti, we wanted to make this special fight l because it would be France vs Argentina, and I’m sure you know why we did that hahaha. We have Samantha Jean-François who is our Strawweight champion, a great talent from the grappling scene, she will be facing Andressa Araujo Rocha 6-1, who specialises is Kickboxing and Jiu-jitsu and is specialist in finishing opponents, so I think this will be a one of a kind match-up. And of course, we have the debut of Norman Parke, who is world renowned in the MMA Universe. It’s great to have a fighter of his level under the Hexagone MMA banner. We have signed Norman to a multi-fight deal, which is great for Hexagone MMA to have a very strong fighter and is such a great addition to the roster. And of course, the Main-Event will not be one I’d like to miss with Ivory Coast’s Aymard Guih vs former Bellator and very established fighter in the UK Walter Gahadza. There Will be two parts to this night, part one will feature the British fighters live on BT Sports from 6.30 pm to 9 pm. As after part one of Hexagone MMA you will be able to watch the UFC. I’m very happy Hexagone MMA will be shown on BT Sports, it gives the UK fans something else to watch other than the UFC, it’s great to have a taste of different varieties of MMA, like here we have Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 of football hahaha, I think it’s important to watch many different forms of MMA.”
Absolutely, the UFC is amazing don’t get me wrong, but I like to enjoy many other organisations’ cards too. I think it’s amazing that you’ve made a deal with BT Sports for this event also, it gives the fans a chance to watch a different variety of fighter’s they may not have had the opportunity to have seen compete.
“Exactly, fans will also be able to watch Hexagone MMA 7 on DAZN internationally. If you’re reading this in the US you’ll be able to catch the action on DAZN.”
I’m highly looking forward to the evening, I recommend anyone who is able to catch the event to do so.
It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today Jerome, I wish you all the best for Hexagone 7 and I look forward to witnessing the future of Hexagone unfold.
“Thank you very much. And when you are available, please come to our show, you will be our guest.”
That sounds absolutely perfect, I’ll be sure to take you up on that offer in the future.
Last but not least do you have a message for the readers leading up to Hexagone MMA 7 and anybody you’d like to give a message to while looking ahead to Hexagone MMA’s 2023 calendar?
“Absolutely, we are very enthusiastic about 2023. Like I said, MMA is a very young sport in France, it was a very long wait. But we are very hungry to do something special in France, like I mentioned, the special locations for our upcoming events. It is something we have been preparing for years, and we are very happy to make it a reality. We are very passionate about the sport, we know where we want to go and we are very confident we can get there. We are very confident that in the next two years, Hexagone MMA will be followed by the masses, in France as well as Europe.”
Make sure not to miss the many phenomenal warriors taking centre stage at what’s shaped up to be an incredible fight card on March 11th at the Arena Futuroscope in France.
Tickets are available here.
The night will be broadcast on BT Sport, in the UK, and DAZN, internationally (including in the USA and Canada).