The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) announced today the creation of its first Area Committee in Africa.
According to the IMMAF, the Committee is a group of local representatives designed to “help deliver IMMAF strategy and goals more effectively at national level.”
“This is a key strategic development for IMMAF and proves that our organisation has reached a mature stage of its development,” president Kerrith Brown said in a press release. “Our African Committee, made up of representatives from IMMAF African member federations, under the supervision of IMMAF Africa director Raymond Phillips and Avinash Ramtohul as chairperson, will work with us to develop the sport in that continent. The local needs and priorities of MMA are best understood by those on the ground. IMMAF will support each new committee as they develop their own structures and plans.”
Amoung the priorities of the committee are the promotion of amateur MMA in Africa, development of training methodology and pathways for coaches and officials, administrative and communication support for national recognition, the origination of African events and competitions, and development of an ethical framework of good governance.
The official committee statues, along with the leadership team, communication platforms and logo are being finalized.
The interest in Africa comes at a time when stars like Nigerian UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, fellow colleague Sodiq Yusuff, and UFC heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou are gaining worldwide attention. UFC president Dana White is acutely aware of the popularity of the sport on the African continent.
“Actually what’s crazy—and most people might not know this—but the sport has been big in Africa for a while,” White said in August 2019. “I mean that’s why these guys are popping up, because we had a television deal in Africa for a while and then they have another organization over there, EFC (Extreme Fighting Championship), that’s pretty popular and does well, and between those two things, it helped build a market there, and it’s real.”
“I am very excited to see a shared vision and goals for the development of our sport in Africa,” Brown added. “The creation of our first area committee is just the start. IMMAF is looking forward to rolling out our programme around the world in 2020.”