By Caoilte de Barra
From March 4 – 8, the Nigeria Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF) held their National Amateur Championships in Asaba, Nigeria. Athletes competed for the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the 2022 Africa Championships which are being held in Johannesburg, South Africa from April 28 – 30.
It was not only a major week for the athletes but also for the development of officials in Nigeria. During the second and third days of the Championships, judges and referee training courses took place.
The four-day event garnered attention from national television with Lagos TV giving it coverage. Athletes travelled from different states hoping to earn the opportunity to represent their country. It was historical for the Federation as the first female national amateur champions were crowned at the event. Both Beauty A. Timothy and Chinoye Attoh took home gold in their respective division.
Following the event, NMMAF President Amb Henry George explained the event was an amazing experience that saw athletes come from traditional martial arts to pursue MMA.
“It was an amazing experience. The excitement was very high on the side of athletes because most of the fighters are coming from different traditional martial arts and have all made up their minds to make a career in MMA but have little understanding of the main rules of MMA. Under the world governing body, IMMAF, the opportunity to compete in MMA and gain an understanding of the rules was provided.”
Squad selection for the African Championships is not yet finalised, with another phase set in March.
“We are expecting a great outing and preparation. The just-concluded national amateur championship is part of the preparation but also at the weekend of the 24th – 26th [of March] we have the second phase of the national selection for our squad.
“We are blessed with great fighters and so much talent that is unheard of. The Federation is committed to developing our great talents and creating a career pathway for more athletes to live their dreams and to see more Nigerians in UFC”
Following the finalisation of their squad selection, Nigeria will be hoping to display their talent at the 2022 Africa Championships. The full list of medalists from the event is as follows.
Strawweight/Flyweight – Female
Gold: Beauty A. Timothy (Nasarawa State)
Silver: Blessed Romey Jaja (KISONAI-Imo)
Flyweight – Male
Gold: Ogbona Samuel (Ondo State)
Silver: Amaechi Obuah (Delta State)
Bronze: Sidiq B. Sidiq (Kwara State)
Bantamweight – Female
Gold: Chinonye Attoh (Edo State)
Silver: Obanla Joy Ebanda (Ondo State)
Bronze: Okafor Gift (Edo State)
Bantamweight – Male
Gold: Jeremiah Akpan (Bayelsa State)
Silver: Damilare Ayilaran (Ondo State)
Bronze: Musa Tamiu (Ondo State)
Bronze: Usman Ahmed (Kwara State)
Featherweight – Male
Gold: Ismail Ahmed (Ondo State)
Silver: Ibrahim Sodiq (Borno State)
Bronze: David Chinedu (Bayelsa State)
Bronze: Momoh Itopa Zaka (Kwara State)
Welterweight – Male
Gold: Osoba Peleja (Oyo State)
Silver: Ezeofor Uchechukwu (Anambra State)
Bronze: Bright Mmesama (KISONAI-Imo)
Bronze: Ukachukwu Divine (Delta State)
Middleweight – Male
Gold: Ephriam Onwuama (Delta State)
Silver: Osahenoma Thomas (Edo State)
Heavyweight – Male
Gold: Omega Bassey (Bayelsa State)
Silver: Marvis Aighobahi (Edo State)
Bronze: Ebukri Sydney (KISONAI-Imo)