By Caoilte de Barra
It has been quite the year for Mixed Martial Arts Federation Mauritius (MMAFM) so far. First, they kickstarted their year by entering the 2021 World Championships in January. The month of April then marked history when the sport was officially recognised after a lengthy application process. This was topped off by Geraldo Moïse taking bronze at the 2022 Africa Championships.
The federation has remained active and continues to make strides in growing the sport in the country and now find themselves planning ahead for the next set of World Championships.
Monthly trials are hosted in different regions for talent identification and encouraging practitioners. Once trials have concluded, selected athletes will be chosen for the national championships and the national team. Therefore, the trials are a platform for athletes to showcase their abilities, which in turn could lead to them representing the nation internationally.
The platform is not closed to a certain level of experience either, with MMAFM welcoming athletes of all levels to attend the trials. However, each athlete must meet certain criteria, such as being a member of an affiliated club and training under a coach recognised by the federation. Athletes must also meet all the medical and insurance requirements.
Since the sport is still at a developmental stage in Mauritius, the federation prides itself on allowing the athletes to make the step up in competition in a safe environment with qualified officials and a team of medical staff present. For experienced competitors, more intense match-ups are organised.
Speaking on the importance of the trials for the development of the sport and the growing interest in the sport, President Ramotoul Avinash said:
“At the building stage, it is important to have a well-established development plan providing a competitive platform helping to develop athletes from grassroots to elite levels. Trial programs help athletes to cross internal resistance, jump into the art of combat and showcase their talents. It also makes athletes more responsible at training and on various levels (nutrition, weight management, medical, etc.) as they will encounter challenges regularly.
“MMA in Mauritius is very promising, as people, especially the youth, are showing lots of interest. Every week we are having lots of new adherents in our regional clubs. The Mixed Martial Arts Federation Mauritius, duly recognized by the Ministry of Youth and Sport, follows the guidance of IMMAF for developing MMA in the most professional way with much humility, honour and respect. We believe in our vision and objective of bringing MMA to its highest level in the country.”
The developmental plan in place will be key for MMA in Mauritius as they look to build upon the work they have already done. The sport is already growing at a rapid pace, and interest from the youth is picking up. Five more trial sessions are planned for the remainder of the year. National Championships and team selection will follow to determine who will represent the nation at the World Championships.