Mixed Martial Arts to debut in 2023 African Games

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) will feature in the wider sports programme in the 2023 African Games in Ghana, the organisers said on Monday.

The event, which was set to take place in August but has been postponed to March 2024 due to economic and infrastructure issues, will now see MMA joining e-sports, speedball, sambo and teqball as part of the demonstration sports.

They will sit alongside the 15 Olympic sports previously announced, many of which will offer Olympic qualification opportunities for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and the 10 non-Olympic sports.

“Adding MMA into the programme of sports is a very positive sign that Africa is ready to welcome the newer sports and those sports that have a great global interest,” said President of the Ghanian National Olympic Committee Ben Nunoo Mensah.

“There are many youngsters not only in Ghana, but across Africa that are participating in MMA and these games provide a great opportunity to witness the best athletes in Africa competing in this exciting sport.”

The news has been welcomed by the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) which has 24 member federations in Africa.

“We are absolutely delighted that the organisers have included us as one of the demonstration sports and we hope that this will be a catalyst for inclusion in other multi-sport games in the future,” GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt said.

“The work of our organisation, the quality of our athletes, our ability to stage the very best events, and the value of our global community is being recognised by our inclusion and this event will surely help our sport to continue its rapid growth.”

The 2023 African Games will take place from March 8-23 in Accra, Ghana.