Video Shows Female Basketball Players Fist-Fighting During Live Press Conference

They were upset about losing their fourth game in a row.

Mali basketball players are apologizing after getting into a fistfight during a live press conference after a game in Sydney, Australia. Salimatou Kourouma and Kamite Elisabeth Dabou from the Mali women's team were seen throwing punches at each other, and the whole incident was captured on camera by a Serbian news team. "We're here to apologize for the images that were going on social media," Kourouma told reporters. Here's how it happened, and what sparked the fight between the two teammates.

Women's World Cup

Oluwashina Okeleji/Instagram

The Mali women's basketball team was in Sydney for the Women's World Cup and had just experienced an 81-68 defeat against Serbia—their fourth straight defeat at the tournament—when the fight broke out. Kourouma punched Dabou repeatedly, much to the horror of their teammates, who attempted to break up the fight. At one point, Dabou was attempting to hold Kourouma in a headlock. Keep reading to learn more and see the video.

Apologies Made

FIBA Media

The fight quickly went viral, and the two women were forced to apologize for their behavior. "We're here to apologize for the images that were going on social media," Kourouma told reporters on Tuesday, with Dabou sat next to her. "It was not our intention and we were frustrated because of the loss. We are here to apologize to the world of basketball (and the) FIBA World Cup."

A Family Fight

Oluwashina Okeleji/Instagram

Mali star men's player Mahamadou Kante is defending the pair via an Instagram post written in French. "I see some people who allow themselves to say anything about what happened after the game against Serbia," he says. "I just want to say that it is normal that there are misunderstandings in a family because this group for me is a family."



Mali only qualified for their second World Cup after Nigeria pulled out, citing government and administrative issues in their country. "Winless on court, shameless off it😢Mali benefited from Nigeria's withdrawal to compete," tweeted BBC sports journalist Oluwashina Okeleji, who posted a video of the fight.

Consequences For the Fight

Oluwashina Okeleji/Instagram

Basketball international governing body FIBA says it will look into the incident and decide what measures should be taken. "FIBA acknowledged today that there was an altercation between Mali players in the mixed zone following the Group B game Serbia-Mali at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2022. Following the incident, FIBA has opened an investigation. Once the investigation is concluded, FIBA will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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