MALAYSIAN INVASION MMA Finals: Now Everyone DOES Fight!

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On this coming June 15, 2013, Malaysia will witness MMA history as the country’s first and highly ambitious large scale amateur MMA tournament comes to a conclusion.  Malaysian Invasion MMA (MIMMA) has accomplished unbelievable growth in the sport in just half a year.

Malaysia has never been considered a hotbed of MMA in any respect.  While the adjacent city-state of Singapore has launched the takeover of the Asian MMA scene, and neighboring Indonesia had an MMA sanctioning body and TV broadcast as long as ten years ago, Malaysia has been content to grow its combat sports in traditional areas and slowly creep up competitors in the  blossoming Southeast Asia BJJ scene.  However, with the full-scale assault on the country by ONE Fighting Championships, and then the advent of the amateur competition MIMMA, a dearth of dormant MMA fighters and fans awakened and joined in the movement.

MIMMA began as the brainchild of Alex Wong, a superfan of sorts who first turned his creative talents to designing walkout apparel for fighters he liked and who had taken Malaysia to be their new home.  “I designed t-shirts for fighters to show my appreciation for their commitment,” Wong is proud to say, “I spent tens of thousands of ringgit on making them and sponsoring the fighters, and at least I can say it made them happy.  I’m a huge MMA fan, a huge UFC fan.”

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Watching ONE FC live left a huge impression on Wong; it is what set him clamoring to be involved in whatever way he could to develop the sport in his home country.  “I met Victor (Cui – ONE FC CEO) after ONE FC 2, when (Malaysian fighter) Peter Davis won in Jakarta,” Wong shares.  “Victor  is my idol – yeah, true,” he exclaims.  Wong is a very successful businessman himself who can recognize and appreciate aptitude and ability in others.  Then his epiphany for MIMMA came at the first ONE Asia MMA Summit in 2012.  How did it happen?  “Victor and Matt Hume said ‘grow MMA’, that the sport must be built from the amateur level,” he shares, “So I got Brent Yap, Henry Goh, and Jack Star involved to start it.”

However, it wasn’t an overnight decision.  Wong was an MMA fan, to be sure, but his business mind was always searching for a way to contribute towards an end result.  “The idea always there, I’ve been searching for the right company to sponsor it,” Wong states, “Out of 50 companies I presented the idea to, finally Jason Lo of Tune Talk received it.  Thanks Jason!  Now he loves MMA more than anyone.”

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And thus by a huge fan and a huge sponsor, a huge idea was brought to reality.  The project, of course, turned out to be enormous in scope.  “We started developing the idea from a simple presentation file,” Wong explains,”and it became huge.”  MIMMA’s original concept of “Anyone can fight” began with an open call for any and all Malaysian participants to meet in the initial phase, the try outs.  The site of the event was planned to be Paradigm Mall, possibly an odd choice for such an event, but Wong has a very considerate explanation.  “I put it in Paradigm Mall to challenge people’s opinion of MMA,” he explains, “I wanted to change them from thinking it’s just violent to the fact it’s a real sport.”

MIMMA’s first tryouts were nothing short of unbelievable.  Three hundred participants signed up to compete.  It was so unbelievable, in fact, that naysayers started challenging it on the basis of frivolity and lack of safety.  Wong and company proved them all wrong by continuing with ladder matches, quarterfinals, and semifinals with attention paid to the refereeing predominantly, and well-organized events secondarily.  In the process they garnered a broadcast deal with StarSports and tagged the grand Stadium Negara for the Finals on June 15, 2013.

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Wong is only getting started.  “MIMMA is just the foundation,” he states,”to unite all, and network.”   He knows it’s an uphill battle, but given all that MIMMA has accomplished in a few short months, he knows it can be done.  “To build MMA in Malaysia is big challenge, we must always be creative,” Wong shares.  MIMMA’s creativity includes life-size sculptures of animals charging through the iconic fencing of the cage around the Mall – now the defacto home of MIMMA – and billboards scattered across town with Jason Low’s sportily-coiffed head photoshopped onto uberfit fighter Peter Davis’ bare-chested body.
“I want millions of MMA fans in Malaysia, to challenge football, turn it into the second most popular sport, or even the biggest sport in my country,” Wong proclaims, “Football fans will come to love MMA!”  It’s a big proclamation coming from the head of a brand new organization promoting a practically nascent sport in Malaysia.  “MMA work is not easy,” Wong laments, “so I must always stay positive, and the people who surround and help me must be positive and love MMA.  We don’t have limits on time, or money, sweat because we love MMA. And now I can see that the people love it more too.”  Apparently Wong’s time really has no limits, as he’s already planning Season 2 and has a reality series in the works.

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MIMMA will hold its first Finals across seven weight divisions on June 15th in the Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  All but the Bronze tier of ticketing is sold out.  The event will be live-streamed, and rebroadcast on StarSports on June 23rd.  Along with the amateur fighters, three professional ONE FC Superfights will take place: Peter Davis versus Ariel Sexton, Aditya Deshpande versus Saiful Merican, and Tanaphong Khunhankeaw versus Edward Kelly.  MMA-in-ASIA will be onhand with live reports throughout this historic event for Malaysia, and eager to see firsthand the remarkable grassroots efforts of Alex Wong, Jason Lo, and the rest of the MIMMA group.

MIMMA Finals 1
June 15, 2013
Stadium Negara
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

ONE FC Superfights
Peter Davis versus Ariel Sexton
Aditya Deshpande versus Saiful Merican
Tanaphong Khunhankeaw versus Edward Kelly
Final Round of the Amateur Tournament
Bantamweight
Muhd Aiman versus Prabu Somanaidu
Lightweight
Allen Solomon Chong versus Shammah Chandran
Welterweight
Ooi Aik Tong versus Chew Chee Chan
Heavyweight
Adrian Tham versus Christopher Leow
Featherweight
Muhd Ikram versus Keneau Subba
Middleweight
Hafiz Chandran versus Jim Chong Jing Yi
Flyweight
Ngeoh Jian Chong versus Kenny Yap

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