Mixed Martial Arts gets green light
In accordance with the Sports Commission’s rules and regulations, MMA Namibia may now host international events, fighters may receive national colours and represent the nation at international events abroad. MMA has grown exponentially across the globe over the last couple of years and giving the full-contact sport the status as an official sport code in Namibia was only the logical consequence, according to MMA Namibia’s member Carlos de Sousa.“It’s very big in South Africa and some of our fighters have participated at the Fight Stars events. But to be able to get a shot at the EFC Africa competitions, the biggest in Africa, we needed to be a recognised sports code. Now we can go ahead and dream big,” said de Sousa.There are currently two affiliated clubs in Namibia with some 90 fighters among their ranks. The Vale Tudo in Windhoek, owned and operated by a two-time world champion de Sousa, as well as the Swakopmund Fight Club of MMA Namibia’s president, Martin Gunther. The pair encourages all clubs to affiliate themselves with the governing body as soon as possible to help MMA grow. The Vale Tudo club has the lion share of MMA fighters, with some 65 fighters learning the trade in Avis. Its focus is primarily on MMA itself, with boxing classes also being offered. “My fighters are still young and inexperienced.
There is a lot of raw talent in Namibia only waiting to be developed,” de Sousa explained.Swakopmund Fight Club with Gunther as head coach is a fully equipped gym, offering a variety of activities, including Krav Maga, K1 Kickboxing and Karate. Gunther and his team also offer self-defence classes, where participants are trained on pressure points, knife fighting. Special training for law enforcement is also available. Kids Krav Maga is offered to help juniors handle bullying in schools and increase self-esteem.“We want to continue sending our fighters to different events in South Africa like Fight Star and the Cape Fighting League (CFL). We are also in talks with the organizers of EFC Africa to fight there and possibly to bringing some of their events to Namibia. Furthermore, we got invited to the GI, No-GI and MMA world championships in the USA next year which is another aspect we want to look into,” said de Sousa.Currently Namibia has no professional fighters. Yet, Armand Steyn, who boasts six wins in seven matches at Fight Star events, is on his way to make his professional debut soon. Iris Rodriquez and Josemar Octavio are two more athletes making a name for themselves outside Namibia.
To effectively increase participation and skills amongst current and future competitors, Gunther and de Sousa are further planning coaching clinics and local fight nights and underlined, that the sport is open to anyone.