Mixed martial arts added to 2023 African Games, paving the way for MMA in the Olympics


The 2023 African Games will feature MMA for the first time ever, a move that could ultimately pave the way for an Olympic debut.

Organizers for the event, which was originally scheduled to take place in August until being shifted to 2024, will feature mixed martial arts alongside other debuting sports, including e-sports, speedball, sambo, and teqball. Ben Nunoo Mensah, the President of the Ghanaian National Olympic Committee, confirmed that 25 sports in total will be represented at the games, as 15 Olympic sports will join 10 non-Olympic sports.

 “Adding MMA into the program of sports is a very positive sign that Africa is ready to welcome the newer sports and those sports that have a great global interest. There are many youngsters not only in Ghana but across Africa that are participating in MMA. And these games provide a great opportunity to witness the best athletes in Africa competing in this exciting sport.

“We are absolutely delighted that the organizers have included us as one of the demonstration sports, and we hope that this will be a catalyst for inclusion in other multi-sport games in the future,” GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt said.

MMA in the African Games Could Lead to a Spot in the Olympics

MMA’s inclusion in the African Games could help pave the way for the sport’s arrival in the Olympic Games. Combat sports, including karate, judo, wrestling, and boxing, are already heavily featured during the summer games, with three more sports, sambo, kickboxing, and Muay Thai, receiving provisional recognition for a potential debut at the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

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“The work of our organization, the quality of our athletes, our ability to stage the very best events, and the value of our global community is being recognized by our inclusion, and this event will surely help our sport to continue its rapid growth” (h/t Pulse Sports).

The 2023 African Games will take place from March 8th – 23rd in Accra, Ghana.