VOYAGE in MMA ’14 by Issa Seck


On 26 Jun and 29 June 2014, pro-MMA fighter Issac Seck led events in Dakar, Senegal under “Voyage in MMA”, a new LionHeart project to introduce full-spectrum mixed martial arts (MMA) to West Africa. Issa is a highly decorated striker, MMA fighter, and instructor, who has a competitive record of 30-0 kickboxing and 6-1 in MMA.

Issa held a two class MMA seminar, open to all and free, at Budo Club Cité Khadim in Dakar, graciously hosted by Master Alassane Thioube. These seminars will introduce students to the history & evolution of modern MMA, rules & restrictions, and the principles of multi-dimensional combat. Demonstrations and training focused on striking in MMA,  takedowns, takedown defense, clinch fighting, use of the cage, ground-strikes, and the nuances of transitioning between striking, clinch, and ground-fighting.

This project contributed to the LionHeart vision to lift deserving and talented athletes from poverty by driving a long-term development of MMA in Africa with the aim of creating local and international opportunities for young athletes to excel in the world’s fastest growing sport and mainstream entertainment. A unique strength of the LionHeart Initiative is its ability to motivate volunteers and connect experienced martial artists with talented athletes in Africa. Over the years, the MMA for Africa movement, which grew out of the LionHeart Initiative, has led to dozens of volunteer instructors worldwide traveling to Africa and offering free seminars in MMA or underlying grappling and striking arts. In return, these foreign visitors are afforded a life-changing experience in training with local martial artists and being exposed to the rich culture and traditions of African communities.

“Reaching the LionHeart endstate will be a hard journey, but we will travel it one project at a time because it is absolutely worth it” – Issa Seck 

While continuing short-term projects led by foreign volunteers to grow MMA and underlying martial arts (thereafter cited as MMA) in Africa, but recognizing its limitations, the LionHeart Initiative will also fund long-term MMA travelers to live and train in African  communities. Concurrently, LionHeart will promote and support pan-African exchanges for African MMA fighters to travel to neighboring countries to share their skills, which represents a cost effective and sustainable long-term concept of operation. Additionally, LionHeart will help organize competitive circuits and collaborate with local promoters to hold MMA events, which will serve promote the sport locally, motivate aspiring pro-fighters, and alter the local martial arts landscape.