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June 14, 2024

4 mins read

Africa's premier MMA championship gets a big boost as Moniepoint powers Kamaru Usman’s AKO series 

by Bemigho Awala

Africa’s fastest growing financial institution, according to the Financial Times, Moniepoint Inc. has thrown its heavy weight to support the growth and development of the Mixed Martial Arts, MMA across the continent.

Moniepoint AKO MMA collabo.jpg

This is signposted by a season-long partnership with the promoters of African Knockout Championship, Africa’s pioneering MMA promotion, which features the amateur MMA reality TV production “The AKO Show,” and a series of professional MMA fight nights branded “Face Off.” 

The partnership, which embodies the shared values of grit and powering dreams, which are at the core of both Moniepoint's mission and the spirit of MMA, comes at a time when the sport even though dogged by a lack of fight tournaments and sufficient talent is gaining significant traction in Africa, with 19 countries having recognised it as a national sport. 

Mixed Martial Arts, also known as cage fighting, is a full-contact compact sport that incorporates elements from various combat sports and is based on striking, grappling & ground fighting. Africans leading the charge include Usman 'Nigerian Nightmare' Kamaru, the first African-born champion in the UFC welterweight division, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya, another champion in the middleweight category, and Cameroonian Francis Ngannou, a heavyweight champion have been very instrumental to the popularity of the sport such that it’s been dubbed the fastest-growing sport on Earth, measured in participation and audience.

Speaking to the rationale behind Moniepoint’s sponsorship of African Knockout Championship (AKO4), which is set to make history with its first live event in Abuja on Saturday, June 15th at the Abuja Continental Hotel, Group Chief Executive Officer, Moniepoint Inc, Tosin Eniolorunda noted that the financial powerhouse is buoyed by the opportunity that the platform provides to power the dreams of young MMA fighters and showcase their grit and fighting prowess to the world. 

“As humans, the quest to fight is in our DNA, and progressively, society has moved forward when we fight and surmount challenges and obstacles. We are excited to partner with AKO to support the rapid growth of MMA in Africa. This collaboration aligns perfectly with our commitment to powering dreams, fostering resilience and demonstrating guts and grit. Together, we will create opportunities for athletes, fans, and businesses in the MMA ecosystem to thrive, flourish and boost a growing subculture across the continent." 

Eniolorunda continues, “At the intersection of finance and sport, we see a powerful opportunity to uplift Africa. Our solutions have been critical to breaking down barriers in the financial services industry and deepening inclusion, much like how Mixed Martial Arts breaks down barriers between fighting disciplines. This partnership to develop MMA across the continent is an eloquent statement about African potential and innovation.”

With playoff spots up for grabs, the AKO Championship 4 event, which features 10 African countries, will showcase about nine thrilling bouts across various divisions, including featherweight, middleweight, lightweight, and women’s bantamweight, with the headline fight between Nigeria’s own knockout athlete, Daniel Emeka and Congolese division standout, Flex Munwe. In the women's bantamweight division, a Nigerian sensation who's looking for her second win and a playoff spot, Jane Osigwe will square up with Beninosie grappler, Jibidar Cythia. 

Commenting on the upcoming event, UFC legend and AKO co-owner Kamaru Usman expressed his excitement, saying, “I am thrilled to see the growth of AKO and the talent that will be on display at AKO4. This event marks a significant milestone for African MMA and I am confident that the fighters will deliver an unforgettable show for the fans.”

With this Moniepoint and AKO partnership, MMA is set to be elevated as a major sport in Africa, offering a platform for young talents to shine on the global stage while providing fans with a unique and electrifying viewing experience as the battle for survival, progression and supremacy comes to the fore.

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