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Organisation hold MMA event to promote peace, unity in Nigeria

The Nigerian Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF) says it is organising an International Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event to promote peace and unity in the country.

Ebere Benard, the Youth Director of NMMAF, said the event was geared towards promoting peace and the safety of lives and property in the country through sports, dialogue, and entertainment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event will witness 16 professional martial artists trading blows and kicking against each other in eight intense bouts on Saturday at the Mo Arena in Abuja.

Benard, who doubles as the CEO of Akalaka Spirit of the Warrior, an MMA organization and sponsor of the event, said the Abuja MMA Fight Night, tagged “The Battle of Paikokun Mountain,” was inspired by one of the mountains located in the FCT.

He noted that recent happenings in the country in the last few months have not been pleasant, ranging from one issue of insecurity to another.

“So, as an organisation, we thought of how best to reach out to the public and send out a positive message in spite of all the challenges being faced by Nigerians.

“It happens that Abuja is surrounded by a lot of fortresses and mountains, one of which is Paikokun Mountain.

“Historical narrative has it that the first settlers in the Bwari area of the FCT were warriors and hunters who came from Maiduguri and found peace and refuge at Paikokun Mountain.

“But due to civilization, they now live on the plains. So, our goal is to re-echo and invoke the spirits of our ancestors to ensure that peace permeates the whole of Abuja and its environs.

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“The event thus has a hashtag #a safer Abuja together, and last week, as a build-up to this event, we organised a hiking exercise that featured over 500 participants,” he said.

He thanked all the major hiking groups in the FCT who participated in the exercise, as well as the police, whom he noted played a vital role.

He also commended the IG of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, as well as AIG Zone 7, Ogundele Ayodeji, who received the group in his office and promised to be a special guest of honour at the Abuja Fight Night.

“Indeed, his presence will really add colour to the event, as combating crime is a collective effort. Everybody has to be involved, and whatever you see, you report.

“That is why the event taking place tomorrow is very important to every well-meaning and peace-loving Nigerian, not just in the FCT alone, but across the country,” he said.

He added that the Ministry of Sports had been very supportive of the organisation’s activities, noting that just last year, the Minister granted recognition to MMA as a Federation.

He also said that MMA featured at the just-concluded African Games in Ghana, with the Nigerian contingent giving a good account of themselves.

Agamaye Rowland, President of Apex Fighting Championship (AFC) and a consultant for the event, said the female fighters were not left out, as two of the best fighters in the country were on the event’s cards.

He said the event was coincidentally taking place in the month of March, which is dedicated to celebrating women internationally and to advocating for more inclusiveness as well as equal pay.

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He added that the organisers have ensured that the female fighters will receive pay equivalent to that of their male counterparts.

Chuma Mencity, the public relations consultant for the event, said that Fight Night would feature two international bouts pitting Nigeria against Cameroon and DR Congo.

He explained that the idea behind involving other African countries was to showcase Nigeria as a strong MMA powerhouse.

He stressed that the goal was also to send a strong message to the rest of Africa that we are ready to take the lead and drive the game in the continent.

NAN also reports that the main and co-main events of the evening will see Nigeria’s Vincent Ebenezer, a.k.a. “the Iron Fist,” do battle against Octave Ayinde of Cameroon in the -77kg weight class

Nigeria’s Yahaya Yahuza will engage  Christopher Molly of DR Congo in the -84kg weight class. (NAN)

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