South African Mixed Martial Arts regulatory body MMA SA PRO has clarified their decision to fine Yannick Bahati and Dricus du Plessis, whilst warning that the two EFC 62 headliners could face ‘harsher reprimands’ should any further instance arise.
Bahati and du Plessis will meet in the main event of EFC 62 in Johannesburg in a fight which is billed as champion vs. champion. The Englishman will defend his middleweight title against South Africa’s own du Plessis, who holds the welterweight belt.
Both fighters have engaged in stern diatribe against one and other in the lead up to the fight; this finally spilled over when they came face-to-face at EFC 62 media day on August 12.
This public meeting resulted in physicality when Bahati slapped the chin of his rival. Following the incident, the MMA SA PRO promised to deal with the matter ‘harshly’.
On August 16, EFC Worldwide informed members of the press that MMA SA PRO had fined both Bahati and du Plessis for their ‘language used in a public space, and for the physical altercation at the official EFC 62 Media Day last weekend’.
Following that statement, MMA Plus reached out to representatives from MMA SA PRO for further comment.
“Currently both athletes have been fined for swearing during the media day event while children have been present. Yannick Bahati was fined for slapping Dricus du Plessis during the face off,” explained MMA SA Association spokesperson Anneen Mangiagalli.
“Dricus was fined for provocation of Yannick Bahati by pretending to slap him which in turn lead to Yannick Bahati retaliating with the slap.”
Mangiagalli confirmed that current EFC and BAMMA middleweight champion Bahati was fined more than his South African opponent, with the reason that the Englishman made actual physical contact.
The MMA SA PRO was unable to disclose the amounts that both athletes had been fined, due to one currently being contested for re-evaluation. They could not confirm whether it is Bahati or du Plessis contesting their fine.
Asked about whether or not they could face further punishment, Mangiagalli said, “Yes they can face harsher reprimands should any further issues arise during this event.”
It was also clarified that actions distributed by the MMA SA PRO are decided by a collective body of associated members.