The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation, the only global governing body for MMA recognised by WADA, will be returning to South Africa in April for the fourth edition of its Africa Championships and its first tournament on the continent since 2019.
Hosted by national federation, Mixed Martial Arts South Africa (MMASA), and in partnership with the EFC Performance Institute, the continental championship will be broadcast live from EFC’s studios in Johannesburg between Thursday 28 and Saturday 30 April 2022 on immaf.tv. Africa’s homegrown EFC is renowned globally for its live, professional MMA events. With over 120 contracted athletes on its roster the promoter has sold out some of the biggest arenas on the continent.
IMMAF’s return to Africa demonstrates the world governing body’s intention to continue investing in the development of grassroots MMA in the region. Affiliated African nations include Algeria, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as IMMAF has continued its expansion throughout the pandemic.
Team South Africa has enjoyed success on the IMMAF global circuit and was sitting in the Top 10 of the World Amateur MMA Rankings in 2019, prior to travel restrictions.
The 2022 Africa Championships will be IMMAF’s first closed tournament on the continent, open only to amateur athletes from African nations.
Registration will open week commencing 21 February 2022. Athletes wishing to participate should contact their IMMAF affiliated, national federation.
MMASA President and IMMAF Director for Africa, Raymond Phillips, said: “The IMMAF Africa Championships is the elite international showcase for Africa’s amateur MMA talent. As an IMMAF Director and President of MMASA, I welcome all our national teams from across Africa to join us in Johannesburg to show the world that we are a force to be reckoned with.”
EFC CEO Cairo Howarth said: “We are excited to be hosting the 2022 Africa Championships at the EFC Performance Institute. EFC has signed multiple past IMMAF competitors and champions, and we are looking forward to seeing the next batch of top upcoming talent from the continent.”
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “It feels good to be returning to Africa and providing the opportunity once more for its amateurs to compete on IMMAF’s international platform. This follows two difficult years of restrictions and challenges for the sport across the region. In that time, IMMAF has welcomed new member federations including from Algeria, Angola, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Historically, Africa has provided top ranked athletes for IMMAF alongside huge talent potential. We look forward to seeing competition intensify through the participation of newcomer nations and the emergence of new rising stars.
“Also, since the last time we were in Africa, IMMAF has become the only MMA governing body to be awarded signatory status by the World Anti-Doping Agency, recognising our legitimacy and authority based on our standards of good governance. And so it is with pride that we return to the continent to hold our first tournament there under the auspices of WADA.”