Victor Cui discusses the value of Amateur MMA & its development in Malaysia

On Dec. 11, 2013 the Malaysia Mixed Martial Arts Association (MASMMAA) was officially announced by the Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports as the region’s governing body of MMA under the Malaysian Sports Development Act 1997 which regulates the general development, administration and promotion of sports. By 2014 the MASMMAA had already secured solid relations and an established presence and was thus welcomed as a member of the International Mixed Martial Arts Association. The International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) recently discussed the development of Amateur MMA in Malaysia with the highly successful Victor Cui, CEO/Owner of Singapore-based ONE Championship (ONE), Asia’s leading professional MMA organization. As one of the world’s largest and most prominent promotions, ONE continues to expand throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, China, the Philippines and beyond. Since the appearance of both IMMAF and the MASMMAA in Malaysia, the Amateur MMA base has been supported with a greater platform bolstered by IMMAF’s universal standard for rules, health and safety. This has in turn enabled further growth of the sport whether it be through the fans, the opening of new gyms or domestic competition for amateur athletes. “Malaysia has always been one of our key markets,” Cui explained. “With knowledge of the sport of mixed martial arts beginning to mature in the region, of course due in large part to the work of IMMAF and the Malaysia Mixed Martial Arts Association, fans are starting to understand the kind of action they can expect from live MMA events, as well as the high level of priority there exists now to look after fighter health and safety. Organizations such as Tune Talk who spearheaded the largest amateur tournament in the world, the Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts (MIMMA) tournament, also helped catapult the sport into the next level. More people notice the pool of talent in the country and this encourages more gyms and trainers to be based in Malaysia, offering various martial arts skills and producing better MMA athletes.” Malaysian Tune Talk Victor Cui has been a keen follower of the Malaysian Invasion Mixed Martial Arts tournament with regular updates via social media. Like other domestic tournaments conducted under the banner of IMMAF and its members, MIMMA brings order at the grassroots level, planting the seeds for amateur athletes to flourish and one day compliment the professional scene as well developed contenders. The ONE CEO continued, “Like any sport, MMA is built at the grassroots level. We wouldn’t have the amazing mixed martial artists today if they didn’t start off as budding amateurs who are eager to learn and grow in this sport. MIMMA is doing a tremendous job of developing young athletes to be ready to turn professional when the time is right. “It is ideal for young fighters to build a solid foundation competing as an amateur. The experience a fighter receives when competing as an amateur will pay off in the long run, when a fighter advances in his or her career. I believe all fighters benefit from experience, and having a solid amateur background can only do good.” While Mixed Martial Arts is continuously moving into the mainstream, Cui agrees “without a doubt” that a well-structured amateur scene is the key for MMA to flourish even more worldwide, as it’s the essential model in building and maintaining all of the world’s most prolific sports. “You take any sport like Football or Basketball, or even Hockey for that matter, and you look at these sports and you realize, these sports are being played all over the world in millions of backyards by people of all ages. It’s the same thing with MMA. Having an amateur scene allows people from all walks of life to get into martial arts and have fun with it.” Team Malaysia In the world boxing fighters will look to master their craft at the amateur level first, often achieving an excess of 50 fights before turning professional with an established reputation that has earned them a high profile debut, despite being 0-0. This mindset is just beginning to break through in MMA with the likes of 2 x IMMAF World Championship gold medalist Jose Torres set to make his pro debut with one of the USA’s top promotions, in large part thanks to his IMMAF World Championships success and a groundbreaking 25-1 record in Amateur MMA. Victor Cui agrees that greater dedication to amateur accomplishments can lead to other top promotions bringing in the world’s amateur standouts for their own, more high profile, professional debuts and in doing so they will enjoy higher quality fights and entertainment for combat sports fans. [/spb_text_block]

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