MMA Senegal is now an observational member of the IMMAF ©Getty Images

The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) Board of Directors has granted MMA Senegal observational membership - something the national body hopes will "give us more legitimacy".

MMA Senegal is a non-profit governing body recognised by the Senegalese Ministry of Interior.

It is led by Pape Demba Kane, a former MMA athlete, and is said to be planning to collaborate with the country's wrestling tradition to establish thousands of MMA licenses and help athletes transition from wrestling to MMA.

"All the staff and I are very happy to be part of this international body, the IMMAF," said the MMA Senegal President. 

"On behalf of the entire Board of Directors I would like to thank IMMAF. 

"This will give us more legitimacy to participate, teach and train MMA in Senegal. 

"Senegalese youth are very dynamic and very athletic, and this will open up more possibilities for them to express their positive energies which will constitute development for the Ministry of Sport in Senegal and will undoubtedly put provisions in place for the success and a definitive membership of Senegalese MMA at the international level."

MMA Senegal's workforce includes volunteers and a Board with experience in finance, martial arts, club management, the media and coaching.

There are now 18 IMMAF members in Africa, after the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and Angola also joined the IMMAF ranks last month.