Promoter explains why Nigeria should host MMA, boxing world title fights
Nigeria has produced many world champions such that it should be thinking of hosting international championships, a sports promoter, Dr. Adrian Ogun, has said.
Dr. Ogun, who is the chairman of Streamcent, a digital platform, which streams sports and entertainment videos and live shows with an African perspective, said with three world boxing champions of Nigerian origin, the country is ripe to host some of the bouts.
Aside from World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua and top-rated knockout specialist, Efe Ajagba, also boasts Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) champions in Francis Ngannou (heavyweight), Israel Adesanya (middleweight), and Kamaru Usman, who currently holds the belt in the welterweight category.
Ogun, in 2001, promoted a fight, entitled ‘Thunder in Africa’ between former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The promoter said he was encouraged to bring the fight to South Africa then by late Nelson Mandela and a local boxing partner, Rodney Berman, adding that when Anthony Joshua successes are added to the above, Africa deserves to host one of the title fights.
Ogun, who revealed that the CEO of UFC had in the past said, “I want to do a fight in Africa,” added that it would be a deserved honour to UFC titleholders of African descent if the continent hosted a title fight.
Ogun said: “I know that Nigeria’s world champions like Kamaru Usman, Israel Adesanya, and Anthony Joshua are eager to host at least one of their fights back home in Nigeria. What’s more, I know how to emulate international standards and how to adapt the western pay-per-view fight model.”
It will be both profitable to foreign networks and affordable to the average Nigerian, thereby making hosting a world title fight in Nigeria feasible and a win-win situation for TV networks, combat organisations, the pugilists, and more importantly, adoring Nigerians.”
He said he had reached out to UFC headquarters in Las Vegas, U.S., and expressed Streamcent’s interest in staging a UFC world title in Africa, adding, “I hope to hear back from them after Kamaru Usman’s UFC world title defence against Jorge Masvidal on April 24 at Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.”
He said the plan to host a fight in Africa, includes streaming live shows in conjunction with UFC fight pass and DSTV at prices, which will be affordable to the masses across Africa.
Ogun recalled he was to bring to Africa, Floyd Mayweather’s 50th fight, but for local politics, which derailed it.
“When Floyd Mayweather Jnr wanted to host his 50th fight on the African continent, I was contacted by US TV networks to promote the fight because of my past experience in hosting a successful world title boxing show in South Africa,”
he said, regretting that the plan was thwarted by boxing politics.