Francis Ngannou, PFL to launch African MMA series in 2025

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The Professional Fighters League (PFL) will introduce an African series in 2025, with Francis Ngannou named as the chairman of the new league.

The USA-based mixed martial arts promotion currently operates American and European circuits.

Cameroonian fighter Ngannou, 37, aims for the new league to “shape the very foundation of African MMA.”

“As we have seen there is a great wealth of talent in Africa just waiting to be given a global stage,” Ngannou said.

“I am so very proud to give back to my homeland and to provide great content to a region with such a passionate and diverse fanbase.”

Ngannou signed with the PFL last year but has yet to debut for the MMA promotion, having engaged in two boxing matches in Saudi Arabia.

The heavyweight is a former UFC champion and is among several Africa-born fighters who have won UFC world titles, including Nigerians Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya.

South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis is the latest African to win a belt in the UFC and is set to defend his middleweight title against Adesanya on August 17.

While the PFL has not yet had an African-born champion, it does feature several fighters with African roots, such as 2023 light-heavyweight champion Impa Kasanganay of the United States, who was born in Florida to Congolese parents, and 2022 welterweight champion Sadibou Sy of Sweden, who has Senegalese heritage.