The Nigeria Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF) has said official recognition of the sport by the Ministry of Sports will spur the federation’s efforts to unearth and develop young talents from the grassroots.

NMMAF President, Heney George, told The Guardian, at the weekend, that the federation has increased efforts to develop the sport at the amateur level with the aim of churning out more talented fighters in Mixed Martial Arts.

George added that NMMAF is also collaborating with its African and world body to expose and train Nigerian fighters on the sport.

“MMA was a demonstration sport in last year’s sports festival at Asaba. Now, we are working towards growing the sport at grassroots level and also enlightening parents and their children on the secure nature of the MMA.

“Nigeria has many talents that can make MMA one of the greatest and money making sports in the country. We are making plans to host the African Mixed Martial Arts tournament later this year and other championships as a mark to showcase to the world that Nigeria is a force to reckon with in MMA,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Battle of the Gladiators, which ended at the weekend in Lagos, has thrown up more talented MMA fighters for the country. Put together by Akalaka Spirit of the Warrior Promotion, Ghana’s champion, Richard ‘King Boyka’ Asiedu, silenced home fans at The MUSON Centre with a hard fought split decision win over Nigeria’s Richard Onem ‘The Black Panther’ in the lightweight category of the event.

In one of the co-main fights, fast rising sensation, Tiger Ebere, who is from the Spirit of the Warrior stable, fought to an entertaining stalemate with his Ghanaian opponent, Jerry Gaza Quansa.

However, Opara Goodluck opened a floodgate of knockouts with a vicious demolition of Abel Emmanuel in the featherweight category, while ‘The Working Machine,’ Emmanuel Nworie, scored another knockout victory over Daniel Appah in the welterweight division.

In the ladies’ category, another co-main event, national judo champion, Terlumun ‘The Woman King’ Doose of Benue State knocked out her Togolese opponent, Cynthia Jibidar, in the bantamweight class to improve her career record to 2-1.

For her sterling efforts, Doose received $150 from former American MMA champion, D’Juan Owens, who also rewarded the Nigerian Army paratrooper, Uchejim Onyeka Chinaman, and Ghana’s Edmond Galaxy Akhator with $50 dollars each for their sterling performance on the night.

The organiser of the championship, Dr. Ebere Bernard, who doubles as NMMAF’s Director of Youth Development, promised a calendar of exciting events this year from his promotion.

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