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Nigerian MMA Federation Soars After African Games Success, Sets Sights on Olympics




The Nigerian Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF) is riding high on the heels of a triumphant performance at the recent African Games in Ghana.

This success comes as Namibia prepares to host the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Africa Championships later this year, where Nigeria will be a strong contender.

President Henry George and Technical Director Victor Akhimien, speaking with reporters in Lagos on Monday, outlined plans and the ultimate goal of achieving Olympic inclusion soon.

Reflecting on African Games Glory

President George expressed his deep satisfaction with the results in Ghana, highlighting the crucial support from the Ministry of Sports Development.

The Ministry funded the participation of four athletes, all of whom secured medals: Blessing Onyeali (gold), Martins Aziba (silver), John Obeya (bronze), and Freddy Destiny (bronze).

“I’m incredibly happy,” Mr. George said. “Winning medals at the African Games is a huge accomplishment, even more so than the National Sports Festival.

The Ministry did a fantastic thing by including us in the African Games and approving funding. All four athletes we sent won medals in their respective categories. This is a major achievement for us, and it fills us with excitement and national pride.”

Building on the Momentum

Technical Director Akhimien, while celebrating the Ghanaian success, emphasized the Federation’s commitment to continued growth.

“We’ve invested significant effort in training and development,” Mr. Akhimien explained. “This includes training for athletes and coaches, and even bringing in American instructors to conduct practical seminars. Our athletes are well-trained and well-educated, which is reflected in their performance.”


Olympic Dreams Within Reach

While inclusion in the upcoming Paris Olympics is no longer possible, both George and Akhimien believe Olympic inclusion is on the horizon. The IMMAF is actively lobbying for MMA to be recognized as an Olympic sport, and Nigeria is well-positioned to meet the established criteria.

“Our international governing body is actively working towards gaining Olympic recognition,” George said. “There are specific criteria that need to be met, and we already fulfill those requirements. The IMMAF is at the forefront of this effort to get MMA recognized as an Olympic sport by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”

The NMMAF, alongside international bodies, plays a crucial role in coordinating the sport within Nigeria. Other organizations can only operate as affiliates under the NMMAF’s umbrella.

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