The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the all-powerful mixed martial arts (MMA) league, organized its first event in France this September 3, 2022 in Paris. Africa will have to wait until at least 2024 to host a UFC event.
Over the years, Africans shine in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) with champions like Cameroonian Francis Ngannou or Nigerian Israel Adesanya. More and more fighters linked to this continent are joining the top mixed martial arts (MMA) leagues in the world. Yet, it has yet to organize an event on African soil.
On the sidelines of the first UFC gala in Paris, Francis Naginno thus exudes a hint of fatalism. ” At least from a strategic point of view this is not a forthcoming planHe slips to rfi.fr. Geographically, the UFC is probably closest to Africa in Paris. But strategically, it’s not that close. It needs to be recognized that there is still a lot of work to be done in Africa and that the UFC is not appealing to them “. The king of the heavyweights added about the American company: “ Three or four years ago, I started a conversation with the UFC in Africa, and I understood that it was not going to be easy. It is possible but not easy, especially if you want to do things the right way. »
Targeting the Nigerian and South African markets
Despite lobbying from Nagano, Adesanya and former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, we will have to wait a little longer. Lawrence Epstein, the UFC’s vice president, confirms that there is still work to be done before his organization moves to the last continent it never was. But he assures us that we are not far off the mark. ” It won’t be in 2023He explains to rfi.fr on the sidelines of a conference organized by the French-American Foundation. But we have been working over the last few years to organize the first UFC event in sub-Saharan Africa. We really want to go there. We have inspected the broadcast rooms and infrastructure [en Afrique, Ndlr]. There are a few challenges. But we think markets like Nigeria and South Africa are getting much closer to actually having the infrastructure to host an event. “. He concludes: ” I expect to organize our first event there in 2024. »