EFC ready to host live events behind closed doors
Africa’s premier mixed martial arts promotion, the Extreme Fighting Championship has applied for approval to start hosting live professional MMA bouts again, following the worldwide lockdown, all sporting events were brought to a grinding halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic forced the South African government to institute a nationwide lockdown, restricting movement and activities on all levels and across the spectrum.
However, since various sporting leagues such as the German Bundesliga, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship and K1 Soccer League (South Korea) have restarted their engines, the EFC is keen on delivering a platform for fighters and fans to once again enjoy the sport of MMA within the necessary regulations.
With SA President, Cyril Ramaphosa implementing level 3 of the lockdown, restrictions have since eased.
The current rules set by the SA government don’t allow for professional contact sport to resume, as Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said Thursday that non-contact sports would only be allowed under Level 3 lockdown regulations, paving the way for cricketers, golfers, tennis players and track and field athletes to resume training, while observing social distancing measures.
However, the EFC promotion has applied for approval to start hosting live professional MMA bouts again, while adhering to the strictest Covid-19 safety protocols such as testing, screening and the wearing of personal protective equipment.
The bouts would be behind closed doors, with a minimum crew and no spectators.
EFC - which last hosted an event in March (EFC84) would leverage its TV broadcast platform to continue to reach millions of viewers from across the globe, it said in a statement released by the organisation.
“An application to the South African government has been made and we are awaiting a formal response, however we are really hopeful, as based on our safety procedures being stricter than just about any other sport or industry, there is no reason for EFC not to be given the go-ahead to resume,” EFC president Caro Howarth said.
“Times are incredibly tough for people right now, but we are in a position to help kickstart the economy, in the safest possible way, and keep an entire industry and community working. There are great international examples on how to conduct MMA bouts safely amid this pandemic, we have learned from these, and
EFC can provide much needed income and relief to many athletes and support staff, plus live entertainment to sport fans.”
The UFC has taken the lead on being the first sports promotion to host live sports, hosting three live fighting events so far with another to come this weekend.
Closer to home, the PSL are awaiting feedback from the government on whether they can complete the 2019-20 season as well.
To date (May 28, 2020), the Covid-19 numbers are as follows in SA: 25 937 positive cases with 552 deaths and 13 451 cases of recovery.@JulianKiewietz