By Ross Patterson
The island of Mauritius lies 2,786 kilometres East of the African Continent. MMA has been taking huge strides as a sport in the small island nation, under the leadership of Ramtohul Avinash – the Federation’s President. They have selected their team for the 2022 IMMAF African Championships, which take place on April 28-30.
Mixed Martial Arts Federation Mauritius (MMAFM) is the governing body of MMA in the country. They are focused on developing the sport and bringing opportunities to as many Mauritians as possible. Mixed martial arts is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people. There are now 15 clubs throughout 4 regions partnered with the federation. The MMAFM has set up a variety of commissions, including Women, Youth, Referee and Judges, Coaching, Athletes, Anti-Doping, Compliance & Ethics, Regional Development and Medical, among others. The sport is being developed as an elite sport and for everyone through the ”MMA for Everyone” project. The federation now has a YouTube channel, and will soon launch a quarterly newsletter and website.
Due to COVID, the MMAFM was not able to hold a competition to select their team for the 2022 Africa Championships. However, they had a number of “test fights” under IMMAF rules to build their squad. Regional clubs put forward their athletes, and Avinash said,
“The people were full of motivation and enthusiasm. We had amazing fights and everyone was eager to be in the national team. Initially, we planned to select five athletes, but finally, we selected four athletes only. The preparation is going very well under the control of our Technical Director, Mr Moussa Cisse.”
Terrence Nagamootoo will be looking to build on his success from 2018, where he won a bronze medal in the Lightweight division.
As the President of the MMAFM, Ramatohul Avinash is committed to building MMA into “one of the best sports in Mauritius.” He expanded:
“At the developing stage, we need to focus a lot on the educational part of MMA, especially at grass-root level. People should understand that amateur MMA is under set rules and regulations with rigorous training methods thus protecting athletes from any kind of unnecessary injuries.
We standardize our practices by adhering to good governance policy, athlete safety, as well as developing clean and safe MMA.”
The federation recently attended a blood donation event organised by the Blood Donors Association in Quatre – Bornes. They were able to help with the event and spread the word about the benefits of MMA for the community.
Last year, the MMAFM signed a collaboration with the Junior Chamber International to bring MMA to deprived communities. Opening opportunities for the youth to join their professional structure. They provide training and follow-up assistance, shaping their development and experience. Avinash believes:
“These ventures will allow us to enter more regions and create high-performance athletes in the near future. We are planning to enter other regions henceforth bringing MMA in every part of the country.”
Mixed Martial Arts is going from strength to strength on the island of Mauritius. Under the strong leadership of Ramothul Avinash, the Mixed Martial Arts Federation Mauritius is bringing the sport to women, young people, and the wider community. They will bring a strong team to the 2022 Africa Championships and look to build on their already impressive success.