07-03-2012, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 1970
Location: Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
One FC Destiny of Warriors
Asia the home of mixed martial arts
By Dennis Wong
New Straits Times
Sunday, Jul 01, 2012
Judging from the 10,000 strong crowd that thronged Stadium Negara last weekend for the One FC Destiny of Warriors competition, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is here to stay.
This new form of close quarters combat, using a mix of various martial art styles, is gaining popularity not just in Asia but throughout the world, judging from the viewership of the matches that were also broadcast live on the Internet.
Malaysia is certainly making a name for herself in the MMA scene with rising stars such as Adam Shahir Kayoom, Peter Davis and Aj Lias Mansor, sparring alongside MMA greats such as Gregor Gracie, Masakazu Imanari, Renato Soboral and Tetsuya Mizuno.
"One FC is now a platform for martial arts proponents in the region to reach even greater heights in their careers," said One Fighting Championship chief executive officer Victor Cui.
He said as sports was very much culture-oriented, Asia was the home of the MMA because of its martial arts heritage.
"We have Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Donnie Yuen. Everyone in Asia knows about martial arts. It is part of our culture. In Japan alone there are 50 million karate practitioners. Now MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world and we are here to stay," he told the New Sunday Times.
In the past 10 years, MMA has raked in US$500 million (S$633 billion) via pay-per-view live telecast, compared with boxing, which only netted half that amount.
"MMA creates local heroes, which also gives opportunities for local martial arts proponents to build their careers. When we watch an F1 race, many of us are supporting an international racer. We do not enjoy the pride of showing off a local hero. But in MMA we have that," added Cui.
And it was patriotic pride that drove Malaysian spectators wild the minute local fighters entered the cage despite the presence of famous names such as Marcos Escobar, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt holder. This was the first time Malaysia hosted an international level MMA event.
He said Asia had a larger fan base and a deep talent pool because of its martial arts culture.
"A fighter who knows silat, karate or tae kwon do can become an MMA fighter in just two to three years.
"They just need to work on their stand up and grappling skills and they can be a complete fighter," he added.
Malaysia can also stand tall in the MMA arena as three of the 18 competitors during last Saturday's championship are locals.
One of them was Adam, who was badly taken down and pounded by Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Gracie in the first round of the championship, before emerging winner in the third round, dominating the match with his muay thai skills.
Though Adam clearly won the match against Gracie (who is part of a prominent sporting family from Brazil known for their founding of Brazilian jiu-jitsu), he was quick to honour the family.
"Without them, BJJ and MMA would not be what it is today. Thank you for helping us BJJ instructors with employment, and the knowledge of BJJ," he said after winning the fight.
The victory comes as a double joy for Adam who will be a father soon.
Adam travelled to Brazil at a young age to learn BJJ from Ricardo Liborio who trained under Carlson Gracie, considered the best in the sport.
After winning several BJJ titles in Brazil and Australia, he decided to take up Muay Thai in Thailand, where he was initially rejected from most gyms because he was considered too old to train with them.
But he proved them wrong by winning the world titles in 2006 and muay khmer in Cambodia the following year.
The two other Malaysian fighters who fought that night were model-turned actor Peter Davis, who went against 21-year-old Singaporean national boxer Quek Kim Hock.
He proved many wrong when he won the match against Kim Hock in just 55 seconds in the first round.
Former national silat champion AJ Lias Mansor, 37, however, was out of the match after 1 minute 25 seconds into the first round against American Mitch Chilson, 34, by a rear naked choke submission.