EFC middleweight champion Yannick Bahati is grabbing the headlines in South Africa, making his tirade against Dricus du Plessis physical by slapping him at a press conference ahead of their Carnival City showdown on August 19.
The bout is being promoted as the biggest in the South African promotion’s history, with Bahati putting his title on the line against welterweight champion du Plessis, who looks to reign over two divisions.
The pair were scheduled for talk show appearances over the past week, but on both occasions, Bahati – who is also the BAMMA middleweight title holder – declined to appear at the last minute, explained a press release from EFC.
Bahati and du Plessis came face-to-face for the first time on Saturday, during a media day for the EFC 62 event.
EFC released a video of the interaction, which saw the South African swing his hand at Bahati, who retaliated with a clean palm to the chin of du Plessis.
In response to the incident, EFC has informed media that the regulatory governing body, MMA South Africa PRO, is reviewing the incident.
“We have already received communication from the association governing the sport in South Africa (MMA SA PRO) regarding the altercation,” stated EFC matchmaker Graeme Cartmell. “He has been reprimanded and will be up for review. I promise you, he will be dealt with harshly. This is why we have brought in private security.”
This occurrence comes just a few days after the promotion announced that they would be providing the English fighter with security for all EFC media engagements, after Bahati’s recent actions and comments left South Africans angered.
UTC trained Bahati’s volatile relationship with South African EFC fans began at the start of his championship reign. Upon claiming the EFC belt from South African JP Kruger in May 2016, “Black Mamba” celebrated by flipping off the local crowd.
Should Bahati come through this fight unscathed, he will defend his BAMMA title against Michael Shipman in London on September 15.