Dricus du Plessis and SAMMAAF are doing their part to bring our future stars to Kazakhstan
CAPE TOWN – Mixed martial arts are in a particular phase of their growth in South Africa.
We have so many South African and South Africa based athletes reaching the pinnacle of sport across the world.
In just a few short weeks, Dricus du Plessis and Don Madge will proudly display the Mzansi flag on the world’s most popular mixed martial arts platform, the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Dricus will share a fight card with sports biggest star, global icon and highest paid Forbes athlete, Irishman Conor McGregor.
In just a few short months, another South African MMA star, Dalcha Lungiambula of the DRC, will honor UFC Octagon for the fourth time.
These are just a few of the names that are making waves across Mother Earth.
Like any top athlete, woman or businessman, things are not always easy, especially for mixed martial artists in South Africa, as the sport is not yet supported by the government, although it is one of the most watched sports. in South Africa and Africa.
There are so many talented young MMA athletes rising through the ranks.
I think back to this year’s South African National Mixed Martial Arts Championship, with figures like Kiara Willemse, Bhubezi Kruger, Toufeeq Khan, Banele Nxumalo, Demi-Lee van Zyl, Terence Balelo, Sibusiso Sovendle and Jason MacKay making their mark. .
And that is why the South African Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Fund (SAMMAAF) was created.
The non-profit KZNMMA Athlete Fund operating as SAMMAAF NPC aims to help build a foundation and support athletes of the present and the future.
“SAMMAAF was born to meet the financial needs and guidance of aspiring MMA athletes,” said President and Co-Director Justin Ferrier.
“We started this NPC because of our love for the sport and the goal of finding and nurturing the raw talent South Africa is quickly known for,” adds Justin who is one of the three directors. and someone who has not only been in MMA for years but has also worked at the highest levels in various capacities.
While the NPC was being formed, administrators in a private capacity had already joined in and helped a handful of athletes from across the country make their way to national championships or sponsor their rashguards and medical exams.
Just last week, Mixed Martial Arts South Africa sadly confirmed that the South African youth team will not be attending the Youth MMA World Championships to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria in July, after that the country has banned South Africans and a handful of others from traveling. African nations due to the increase in Covid-19 cases.
“President Raymond Phillips today received a call from IMMAF President Kerrith Brown to inform South Africa that Bulgaria has imposed a travel ban on most African countries at present.” , said Jason Brown, CEO of MMASA.
With the Junior and Senior World Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan at the end of the year, the SAMMAAF NPC will now devote all of its attention to helping as many athletes as possible by hosting exciting fundraisers during the year.
“It’s terrible what happened to the Youth team, but let’s look at the positives, they still have years ahead of them and there will be opportunities next year and years to come,” said Justin.
MMASA has confirmed that things are still on track for the junior and senior teams to travel to Kazakhstan.
Looking towards the end of the year, the bright side is that there is some breathing space for fundraising as it is estimated that R35,000 will cover each athlete (travel, accommodation, competition, etc.).
While MMASA and some of the athletes Independent Media spoke to are working to secure funding, SAMMAAF is also busy with exciting projects to help bring Mzansi’s athletes to the dance floor.
“We are organizing a grappling seminar at the CMH Mazda dealership in Umhlanga on July 31st. Our guest coach will be none other than UFC star Dricus du Plessis, ”said Justin.
“Dricus is such a fine man. He said yes to the initiative before I could even finish my sentence. The man even offered to pay his expenses (flights and accommodation) from Pretoria to Durban.
Dricus – who will be offering his time and expertise at the seminar – understands the value of helping to develop the sport that brings him so much in this life. You can see how important giving back is to him just by the way he mentors his protégé and future South African MMA athlete, Cameron Saaiman.
The seminar will cost R250 per person and all proceeds will go to the Athletes Fund.
“The entire South African team selected for the world championships will receive free entry,” said Justin.
As for how the funds will be allocated, Justin confirmed that an open dialogue with MMASA will need to take place.
SAMMAAF has more exciting plans, one of them being Submission Kings / Queens and Kids which is slated for August 28 and October 2 if all goes according to plan and subject to pandemic lockdown regulations. coronavirus. The entry fee for these tournaments will be R350 per person and again all proceeds will go to the Athletes Fund.
Regarding young athletes who miss active competition, MMASA said:
“We have discussed youth development events with the regional subcommittee chairs, but at the moment all amateur events under MASA (mixed martial arts) are on hold. We will be revisiting the idea of a youth tournament once the restrictions on events are relaxed from the current level 3. “
As recently as last week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa brought South Africa back to a Level 3 lockdown in light of rising Covid-19 infections.
“Since I last spoke to you just over two weeks ago, the average number of new infections per day has doubled. Then we had about 3,700 infections a day.
“In the last seven days, we have recorded an average of 7,500 infections daily,” Ramaphosa said on July 15.
If you would like to donate or contribute to SAMMAAF, you can email them on [email protected] or contact +27 (0) 82 740 9195.