Above: 2016 IMMAF Africa Open Men’s Bantamweight Champion, Luthando Biko. By IMMAF.org lead writer, Jorden Curran As Africa’s biggest celebration of MMA’s grass roots, its flourishing youth and amateur talent, the IMMAF Africa Open Championships could soon see itself become a Mecca of the sport for the entire continent. The 2017 Africa Open sees the competition return to Johannesburg from 28 August to 2 September, welcoming competitors from all IMMAF member nations, hosted by the IMMAF and Mixed Martial Arts South Africa (MMASA). “MMA in South Africa is a growing sport and is being established as one of the premier combat sports locally,” explained MMASA president Bertus Coetzee. “MMASA will ensure growth here and make sure the talent being offered to the world is of great standard. We have many young eager fighters that will showcase their talent to the world. We are super exited for these athletes and we cant wait for this opportunity to come.” Following the inaugural Africa Open in 2016, the MMASA president looks forward to showcasing how the foundations have been built upon with great attention paid towards continental growth, local exposure and community participation. “The MMASA team has been working non-stop to secure larger sponsors, media coverage and visit the African countries for development to ensure growth on the African continent. The first Africa Open Championships gave a taster what MMA in South Africa is able to achieve and we will showcase that further this year. Every step we take in each event improves the growth locally and through the knowledge we gain and what we are able to do here in Africa. “Our community has shown massive support leading up to this event. Community involvement will increase upon last year and I hope the international community will again support us as they did in 2016.” In 2016 the South African hospitality drew admiration from around the world. From excellent local food to skydiving, national teams enjoyed memorable experiences and MMASA has embraced the challenge of making this an exciting new tradition. “2017 is a new year with new expectations. we will ensure we meet those expectations. Many things are planned for the international contingent coming over and we will make sure they have a great time and experience that will last them a life time.” For information on participation and registration click HERE. You can read and subscribe to the IMMAF Newsletter HERE.