Fransino Tirta makes his long-awaited return to MMA at ONE FC 17 on June 14, 2014. The Indonesian black belt remains undefeated across 15 fights.
Tirta started in MMA back in 2003 with Indonesia’s then-airing TPIFC promotion. For three years he blistered his way through the ranks and earned himself a huge fan base. However the promotion lost it’s broadcast and Indonesia’s MMA scene, left without an audience, slowly dwindled away.
Tirta then did a stint in China’s Art of War, and was picked up by Legend FC. He fought once for the promotion in 2011. A second appearance was delayed to an emergency appendectomy, but once he’d recovered, Tirta unfortunately witnessed another promotion dropping by the wayside.
Fast forward to 2014. Tirta has continued to grapple in competitions and coach other fighters, and along the way he’s earned his black belt from Niko Han. MMA-in-ASIA spoke with Tirta briefly before his debut in ONE FC.
MMA-in-ASIA: It’s been a while since we’ve seen you in action. How are you feeling?
Tirta: I’m happy and excited. This is awesome!
MMA-in-ASIA: Even though you havet fought in Indonesia for a long time, has there been a lot of fan support for you lately?
Tirta: Yup, my friends and students have been really supporting me.
MMA-in-ASIA: Congrats on your black belt too!
MMA-in-ASIA: How long did it take you to get that?
Tirta: Nine years.
MMA-in-ASIA: Are you Niko’s first black belt?
Tirta. Yup. I’m the one and only.
MMA-in-ASIA: How many Indonesian black belts are there in Indonesia now?
Tirta: From Synergy, just Niko and me. There are another two, one from Gracie Barra and from Crazy Monkey.
MMA-in-ASIA: Has ONE FC helped to grow MMA interest in Indonesia again?
Tirta: Yup. Ya ONE FC is big here, ONE FC is big all over Asia.
MMA-in-ASIA: Your opponent is not well known. Did you get to see any video of him?
Tirta: Ya, I only got one video.
MMA-in-ASIA: What was your opinion?
Tirta: He’s good, but I’m better!
MMA-in-ASIA: How is your striking these days?
Tirta: Better. I train a lot on boxing and wrestling.
MMA-in-ASIA: Who have you trained boxing with?
Tirta: My boxing coach, former National boxing coach, Vicky Von Room.
MMA-in-ASIA: How do you feel about your fight?
Tirta: Good! I’m excited.
MMA-in-ASIA: Any pressure to be in front of your countrymen again?
Tirta: Not pressure, more motivation
MMA-in-ASIA: What about the cage?
Tirta: I like the cage, ring ropes are annoying.
MMA-in-ASIA: Really? Is it the safety thing? That you could fall out?
Tirta: Ya, that too. With rope you never know what’s going to happen, his body could go out, a hand could get stuck.
MMA-in-ASIA: So you’ve been working on wall-walking and cage stuff like that?
MMA-in-ASIA: Do you like gi or no gi better?
Tirta: No gi, it’s more suitable for MMA. But don’t get mistaken, I prefer no gi, but i dont mind using the gi.
MMA-in-ASIA: So if there were old school rules, you wouldn’t walk into the cage wearing your gi and black belt?
Tirta: I wont fight MMA with a gi, as it restrict my movement and it’s heavy to carry.
ONE FC 17 will be live streamed at 20:00IST on Saturday, June 14th. Streaming information and the full fight card, which is headlined by Adriano Moraes versus Kosuke Suzuki, can be found here.