Mixed martial arts have been added as a demonstration sport to the re-arranged African Games in Ghana next year ©GAMMA

Mixed martial arts (MMA) have been added to the programme for the re-arranged African Games in Accra, it has been announced.

The event, which was set to take place in August but has been postponed to March 2024 due to economic and infrastructure issues in Ghana, will now see MMA joining esports, speedball, sambo and teqball as part of the demonstration sports announced earlier this month. 

They will appear alongside the 15 Olympic sports already announced, many of which will offer Olympic qualification opportunities Paris 2024, and the 10 non-Olympic sports.

"Adding Mixed Martial Arts into the programme 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," Ghanian National Olympic Committee President Ben Nunoo Mensah said.

"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."

The decision to add the sport has been welcomed by the Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA), who have 24 members in Africa.

The inclusion of MMA follows its recognition last year by the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC).

Mixed martial arts has been growing in popularity in Africa ©Getty Images
Mixed martial arts has been growing in popularity in Africa ©Getty Images

"GAMMA has been doing great work to develop MMA in Africa and we were very pleased to acknowledge that last year with recognition by our organisation," said AASC President Ahmed Nasser.

"Now, the inclusion of MMA in the African Games is another significant step for the ongoing development of the sport across the African continent."

GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt hopes that its inclusion in the African Games will lead to other major multi-sport events considering adding it to their events.

"One of our core missions as an organisation is to ensure we are offering the best competition opportunities for our entire MMA community," he said.

"We are absolutely delighted that the organisers 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.

"The work of our organisation, the quality of our athletes, our ability to stage the very best events, and the value of our global community is being recognised by our inclusion and this event will surely help our sport to continue its rapid growth."