By Goodluck Ikiebe
The Nigeria Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF) has conferred an Honourary MMA Black Belt Award on the former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, in recognition of his achievements and immense contribution to the growth and development of MMA and other sports in Nigeria.
At the occasion held in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, stated that the Federal Government has approved the recognition of Mixed Martial Arts Federation (NMMAF), as one of the National Sports Federations under the control and supervision of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development following series of interfaces between the Federation’s Board and the Ministry and “having satisfied the condition precedent, pursuant to NMMAF’s acceptance to abide with the Code of Governance of all National Sports.”
Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, added that the recognition has also saddled the Federation with the responsibility to develop, regulate and ensure the safety of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as a thriving Sports in Nigeria in line with global best practices.
The Permanent Secretary stated further that the award being Conferred on Mr Dare is commendable, especially as he played a vital role in ensuring that Mixed Martial Arts has become one of the leading sports in Nigeria.
Alhaji Ismaila therefore called on the Federation to work towards discovering and developing talents from the grassroots for the game so as to ensure that Nigeria Mixed Martial Arts attend world class status not only through the development and maintenance of strict rules but also adhering strictly to its standards.
“Let me urge you as a Federation to make the present administration led by President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all Nigerians proud by ensuring you record maximum podium during all competitions.
“We, as a ministry, will continue to ensure full implementation of the programmes, projects, and policies of government with the view to providing our athletes golden opportunities in all competitions for maximum podium performances”, Ismaila noted.
Speaking earlier, the President
Nigeria Mixed Martial Arts Federation, Ambassador Henry George, commended the former Minister, Mr Sunday Dare for giving sports, especially the Mixed Martial Arts, a face-lift in Nigeria.
He stated that NMMA will ever remain grateful to the former Minister, having played a vital role in ensuring the game has come to stay in Nigeria and can now also feature at international competitions.
“Your name will be cemented and appreciated by our athletes forever,” he added.
Responding, the former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, thanked the Nigeria Mixed Martial Arts Federation for the MMA Black Belt Award Conferred on him saying, “I dedicate this award to all the stakeholders in the sports industry and to the Top Management and Staff of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development in particular, for creating the enabling environment for me to succeed”, Dare said.
Also present at the event are Vice President Mario Wanny, NMMAF, Board Members, and the Ministry’s Top Management Staff.