With the legalization and professionalization of MMA in Sierra Leone back in November 2019, the sport has rapidly increased its visibility across the country, thanks to the hard work of former MMA athlete and promoter, and now president of the Sierra Leone Mixed Martial Arts Federation (SLMMAA), Saidu Sesay.
Securing the support of the Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Authority was the first step in gaining recognition and membership with the relevant governing bodies and becoming a member of the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA).
Limited outside funding has not prevented the association from growing as it delivers on a strategy to promote and enhance the visibility of MMA throughout Sierra Leone. With office space and a training facility situated in the east part of the country’s capital, Freetown, the SLMMAA has already organized four events which are offering new opportunities for young people to show their sporting potential and to become competitive at international events in the future.
Sesay, and his colleagues working in combat sports, have been instrumental in establishing the Ultimate African Fighting League (UAFL) which aims to grow the professionalism of combat sports in Africa by hosting international events. Plans are advancing to host the league’s first championships in Sierra Leone.
The leadership team of the SLMMAA are doing great work to promote and to showcase the popularity of MMA in Sierra Leone. It is bringing together many young people from diverse backgrounds who are looking to experience a new sport and learn new skills with a possible pathway to forging a career in mixed martial arts.
The future is bright for MMA in Sierra Leone. For more information and collaboration opportunities, visit the SLMMAA Facebook page here.
Thanks go to Amara Thoronka for information.