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Mixed Martial Arts gaining popularity in Africa

Mixed Martial Arts gaining popularity in Africa

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Loud and fast paced, it is the Extreme Fighting Championship and Africa’s answer to the world’s famous ultimate fighting championship, the American Mixed Martial Arts tournament.

Created in 2009, the tournament has been a launchpad for the careers of a new crop of African fighters.

The sport has drawn over 100 athletes from Zimbabwe, Angola, Senegal, Nigeria Ivory Coast, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

You know, the funny thing is that I did not grow up wanting to become a professional fighter, I just love the sport because the challenge is great.

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, from a variety of other combat sports and martial arts. Various mixed-style contests took place throughout Europe, Japan and the Pacific Rim during the early 1900s.

“You know, the funny thing is that I did not grow up wanting to become a professional fighter, I just love the sport because the challenge is great. In my country, the support is quite enormous, it’s amazing to get recognition from back home,” said a fighter.

The growth of professional Mixed Martial Arts in South Africa has elevated the sport from backyard obscurity to the global stage, creating new champions in a continent where football dominates.

It obviously remains modest compared to the powerful UFC Championship (Ultimate Fighting Championship) based in the US.

Live television rebroadcast battles attract up to 1.5 million viewers.

AFP