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Senegalese Traditional Wrestling in Africa

Senegalese Traditional Wrestling in Africa

Mbeurkatt is the Wolof word for a wrestler, wrestling is a very popular national sport in Senegal.



The traditional sport of Senegalese wrestling is a grassroots that started from the villages versus global, football handed down from the colonial authorities. The mighty Senegalese wrestler Tyson Tyson was the innovator of Senegalese bling rockstar wrestling from 1995 to 2002.



Senegalese wrestlers fight with bare hands and without any protection however in traditional wrestling there is no punching, kicking or striking. Senegalese wrestling does not traditionally allow striking blows with the hands but since the 1990’s it is standardized with the Lutte Traditionnelle Sans Frappe and Lutte Traditionnelle Avec Frappe for the striking version. Traditional Senegalese wrestling was designed to measure the strength of men and designate the champion of the village. 

Mbeurkatt is the Wolof word for wrestlers
Mbeurkatt is the Wolof
word for wrestler


Traditional Wrestling in Africa


Senegalese wrestling purists have issues with the Lutte Traditionnelle Avec Frappe striking version and advocate for Senegalese wrestling to return to the more conventional Greco-Roman style wrestling. Today Senegalese wrestling resembles the WWE and MMA rolled into one sport more popular than soccer in Senegal. 

However, Senegalese wrestling has evolved into a widely televised, money-making event and its champions have rock star status. Becoming a popular wrestler, king of the arena and making money is why so many young men enter the sport wrestling for hours a day. Sponsors and developers are willing to pay big money to athletes. 

Mouhamed Ndao alias Tyson Tyson was the star par excellence of Senegalese wrestling from 1995 to 2002. By itself, Tyson Tyson phenomenon is just like Hulk Hogan of the former WWE, he was the most popular fighter in the history of the sport. 

Early WWE superstar Kamala “The Ugandan Giant” was born and raised in the US State of Mississippi, not in Uganda Africa. Promoted as a cannibalistic headhunter from the African jungles, Kamala was one of the most terrifying villains of the WWE during the '80s and '90s, today Kamala who real name is James Harris is living life as a double amputee. 

Senegalese wrestling looks like a simple contest between two big strong men fighting in the sand dressed in loincloths but no wrestler regardless of his strength or technical abilities will enter the ring without his marabout. The marabout in Muslim Africa is believed to have supernatural power. The wrestling competition has many mystical rituals, which are supposed to instill bravery into the wrestler and fear into his opponent.


Mouhamed Ndao alias Tyson Tyson was the star par excellence of Senegalese wrestling
Mouhamed Ndao alias Tyson Tyson of  Senegalese wrestling
The mystical ritual ceremonies are to ward off bad luck before each fight. Before each confrontation, the mbeurkatt engages in "Baccou" of singing prowess to intimidate the opponent and seduce the audience dancing to the rhythm of drums. 

Songs, also sung by griots and the appointed cherries, was then called "Ndawrabine". Under the watchful eye of three referees, a fight lasts a few minutes up to 45 minutes and can include a few 5-minute breaks. 

The wrestlers fight with bare hands and without any protection however in traditional lamb there is no striking. The winner is whoever puts his opponent on the ground, whether on his back, butt, stomach, or a combination of hands and knees.  

King of the Arena


Tyson is the arena name of Mouhamed Ndao, a superstar Senegalese wrestling athlete. Born in the Kaolack region of west-central Senegal, he spent his childhood in Pikine, in the suburbs of Dakar. Tysons first major victory on July 4, 1999, came against Manga II, indisputably the greatest Senegalese wrestler of all times.

On December 25, 2002, Tyson finally loses his title to Bombardier arena name of Serigne Ousmane Dia also known as B52by. Tyson defended his title twice being king of the arena for two and a half years however, he forever changed the sport of wrestling into a profitable money-making business. 

The traditional sport of Senegalese wrestling is a grassroots that started from the villages versus global, football handed down from the colonial authorities. Traditional Senegalese wrestling was designed to measure the strength of men and designate the champion of the village. 


Senegal wrestling athletes belong to stables, the same as football and baseball players belong to teams. There are well over 80 stables as Senegalese wrestling is a cultural and commercial phenomenon event selling out huge arenas. 

Wrestlers are bigger stars than their footballing equivalents, and thousands of young boys dream of a lucrative career in the ring. Indeed, it is often said that wrestling has overtaken football in popularity and status


Did you know
WWE is very popular throughout the world. The WWE Network will be available in the Middle East and North Africa; there is a loyal following in South Africa. 


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