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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 14: UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (L) punches Colby Covington in their welterweight title fight during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena on December 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Usman retained his title with a fifth-round TKO. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

'I’m More American Than Him,' Says Nigerian UFC Champion Kamaru Usman After Crushing MAGA-Supporting Opponent

Ahead of the match, Usman promised to make his opponent feel "the wrath of every immigrant in this country," and he delivered.

On Saturday, Nigerian-born fighter Kamaru Usman, also known as "The Nigerian Nightmare," won the the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) welterweight title after he dealt a crushing blow to his MAGA-supporting opponent Colby Covington.

Covington, an over-confident Trump devotee, went as far as to tell the president that he would deliver the champion belt to the White House in his honor. He sported the infamous red cap to press appearances and on the day of the match, and even poked fun at Usman's Nigerian heritage, asking "What has [Usman's] family ever done for America beside serve in the Federal penitentiary?" Unsurprisingly, the fighter garnered the full support of the president and his white supremacist following.

Usman, however, got both the last word and the last blow—which he delivered directly to Covington's jaw—during the UFC 245 match. Following his knockout win at the 4:10 mark of the fifth round, Usman sat down for a post-fight interview, in which he addressed Covington's bigoted behavior as well as the white nationalists in attendance who chanted "USA! USA!" as his opponent walked into the ring. Usman stated that the cheers were actually meant for him, as he was the one who displayed what it meant to be a real American:

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Photo courtesy of the NBA

In Con​versation: What You Need to Know About Africa’s First Professional Basketball League, the BAL

We talked to John Manyo-Plange, Vice President of BAL, the NBA's new league in Africa.

In February, the National Basketball Association announced the launch of the Basketball Africa League, or BAL, their first professional basketball league outside North America. The launch of a league in Africa comes at a time when African talent is flourishing in the NBA, both on the court and in the front office.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek-Nigerian, won the Most Valuable Player award last season, while Masai Ujiri, an English-born Nigerian, built the Raptors team that won the title last year. On that Raptors team were also, Pascal Siakam, a Cameroonian, and Serge Ibaka, a Congolese man.

In August, John Manyo-Plange was announced as the Vice President & Head of Strategy and Operations for the BAL. Manyo has been working with the NBA for almost a decade to popularize basketball across the continent of Africa. He helped launch the NBA Africa office in South Africa in 2010, and before that he spent 14 years in the New York office of the NBA, holding various positions management positions.

The BAL will begin play in 2020, and we recently got a chance to talk to Manyo about ambitions for the league, as well as some of the difficulties that have come from launching such a grand project.

Read on for our interview with the the Vice President of BAL below.

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