Mixed Martial Arts made its official debut in Nigeria on 7 January as part of an initiative by World Champion Kamaru Usman to create opportunities for local youth.
The inaugural “Face-off Fight Night” was held at the Lagos Continental Hotel in the Nigerian capital and featured 10 professional athletes competing in five bouts.
US-based Usman, the UFC Welterweight Champion, partnered with 5Five 4Four Limited, the owners and producers of African KnockOut (AKO) Show to stage the historic. AKO Show, which was supported by the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) in the development of its reality MMA TV show that shone a spotlight on MMA talent from across Africa, has now launched an official MMA event promotion arm aimed at taking its mission to the next level.
“We must remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to get the formula right,” Usman said. “We’ve got future plans. It’s not just about doing a show. We want to do big things with this event, we want to be able to change the culture. We want to be able to change the way things are right now. We are not only creating those opportunities, but we want to do it for future generations to come.”
The Lagos State Sports Commission, which sanctioned the fight, said it intends to establish an MMA regulatory body.
“We have big plans to continue all this, and we want to create infrastructure to build things that are not only going to attract tourists to our great country but things that are going to bring economic stability to all of Nigeria and, eventually, to all of Africa,” Usman continued.
A long overdue MMA revolution appears to have kicked off in Nigeria and the future looks brighter than ever for MMA athletes in the continent.
Watch the five docu-series on Usman as he promotes and presents MMA on a whole new scale in his native land in Nigeria:
Episode 1: Pay it forward
Episode 2: His Royal Majesty
Episode 3: The Unified Rules
Episode 4: Welcome to Unilag
Episode 5: MMA History in Nigeria