MMA takes root in Namibia
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has officially been recognised as a Namibian sport code by the Namibian Sports Commission (NSC).
This announcement was made last weekend at the Vale Tudo Gym in Windhoek’s Avis suburb.
In accordance with the Namibia Sports Commission’s rules and regulations, MMA Namibia may now host international events.
MMA fighters can also receive national colours and represent their nation at international events.
MMA has grown exponentially across the globe in the last few years and giving the full-contact sport the status of an official sport code in Namibia was the logical consequence, according to MMA Namibia member Carlos de Sousa.
“It’s very big in South Africa and some of our fighters have participated at the Fight Stars events,” he said.
“But to be able to get a shot at the EFC Africa competitions – the biggest in Africa – we needed to be a recognised sport code. Now we can go ahead and dream big,” a clearly delighted De Sousa said.
There are currently two affiliated clubs in Namibia with some 90 fighters among their ranks.
These are Vale Tudo in Windhoek, owned and operated by two-time world champion De Sousa, as well as the Swakopmund Fight Club of MMA Namibia president Martin Gunther.
The two encourage all clubs to affiliate with the governing body as soon as possible to help MMA grow.
Other board members are Zack Pienaar (vice-president), Priest Jansen (treasurer) and Joma O’Kill (member of Swakopmund Fight Club).
The newest member of the local sports fraternity has set itself high goals.
“We want to continue sending our fighters to different events in South Africa like Fight Star and the Cape Fighting League (CFL).
“We are also in talks with the organisers of EFC Africa to fight there and possibly to bring some of their events to Namibia.
“Furthermore, we got invited to the GI, No-GI and MMA world championships in the USA next year, which is another aspect we want to look into,” De Sousa said, adding that MMA Namibia has made the local growth of the sport another priority.
Namibia has no professional fighters yet but a number of them are making inroads internationally.
Armand Steyn, who boasts six wins in seven matches at Fight Star events, is on his way to making his professional debut while Iris Rodriquez and Josemar Octavio are two more athletes making a name outside Namibia.
To effectively increase participation and skills among current and future competitors, Gunther and De Sousa are planning coaching clinics and local fight nights.
They underlined that the sport is open to anyone.
The Vale Tudo (meaning “everything goes”) club has the lion’s share of MMA fighters, with some 65 fighters learning the trade in Avis.
Its focus is primarily on MMA itself, with boxing classes also being offered.
“My fighters are still young and inexperienced. There is a lot of raw talent in Namibia only waiting to be developed,” De Sousa said.
Swakopmund Fight Club with Gunther as head coach is a fully equipped gym offering a variety of activities, including Krav Maga, K1 Kickboxing (full contact) and Karate.
Gunther and his team also offer self-defence classes. Special training for law enforcement is also available.
Kids Krav Maga is offered to help juniors handle bullying at school and increase self-esteem.
MMA is a combination of multiple martial arts principles applied in a single fight and employs the best types of attacks and defences from martial arts like Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling.
Arne Putensen Namibian Sun