On 15 July 2016, profesional and amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters came together in Dakar, Senegal in an effort to promote the world’s fastest growing sport. Local talent joined by foreign fighters from the USA, Costa Rica, France, the United Kingdom, and Thailand participated in one of the first major regulated MMA event in the small West African country.

The MMA event attracted numerous professional Traditional “Laamb” Wrestlers  and several hundred local spectators who the time were exposed to modern MMA. Most fights had commentators explaining the techniques and positions over the sound system. GoorFit Fighting Championship was produced by JK&J, and promoted by Radio Live SN and 2STV media networks. This event brought local attention to the LionHeart vision to lift deserving and talented athletes from poverty by driving a long-term development of MMA in Africa with the aim of creating local and international opportunities for young athletes to excel in the world’s fastest growing sport and mainstream entertainment. A unique strength of the LionHeart Initiative is its ability to motivate volunteers and connect experienced martial artists with talented athletes in Africa. Over the years, the MMA for Africa movement, which grew out of the LionHeart Initiative, has led to dozens of volunteer instructors worldwide traveling to Africa and offering free seminars in MMA or underlying grappling and striking arts. In return, these foreign visitors are afforded a life-changing experience in training with local martial artists and being exposed to the rich culture and traditions of African communities.

While continuing short-term projects led by foreign volunteers to grow MMA and underlying martial arts (thereafter cited as MMA) in Africa, but recognizing its limitations, the LionHeart Initiative will also fund long-term MMA travelers to live and train in African communities. Concurrently, LionHeart will promote and support pan-African exchanges for African MMA fighters to travel to neighboring countries to share their skills, which represents a cost effective and sustainable long-term concept of operation. Additionally, LionHeart will help organize competitive circuits and collaborate with local promoters to hold MMA events, which will serve promote the sport locally, motivate aspiring pro-fighters, and alter the local martial arts landscape.


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