Today is a sad day for all martial artists as we all mourn the loss of a friend. Francois Besson was an outstanding martial artist; a 7th Dan in Judo. In his active days as an athlete he was known for his sportsmanship and he won many battles by becoming a multiple European Champion. Francois is without doubt the epitome of the martial arts saying that as a beginner, you receive what you take out of the art, yet as an expert, the rewards truly come from all that you have put back in.

After his successful career, Francois became the Sports Director of the International Judo Federation, representing the IJF at all major tournaments, meetings and exhibitions. I had the honour of working with him during the last couple of years in the build-up to the SportAccord Combat Games. His knowledge, advice and the guidance he has given to all thirteen participating martial arts has been an important foundation to this upcoming event. Francois enjoyed life and his sense of humour made an everlasting impression on everyone who crossed paths with him.

IFMA would like to send our heartfelt condolences to his family, the International Judo Federation, and SportAccord. When someone you admire becomes a memory, this memory becomes a treasure. Francois, you will be in our hearts and we are sure that you will be walking in with all athletes at the upcoming SportAccord Combat Games. On behalf of the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur, we would like to thank you for your guidance and on a personal level, I would like to thank you for the moments I was allowed to share with you.

Stephan Fox
IFMA General Secretary