An official for a Singapore-based promoter of mixed-martial arts (MMA) fights says their planned event in Dubai at the World Trade Centre on August 29 will be “one of the biggest” in the history of the sport.
Loren Mack, director of public relations for ONE Fighting Championship, said he is surprised by the popularity of MMA in the region.
“I’ve promoted fights in the United States, in North America, in Europe and in Asia for the last few years, but the growth rate that MMA has taken off in Asia is like nothing I’ve ever seen before,” the American said.
“Every venue we’ve been at we’ve sold out. Free-to-air stations are picking us up so we are all over TV.”
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Mack said that with more corporate sponsors signing on, the “astronomical growth” in the sport will continue and more fighters from the region will get involved in MMA.
“There’s a variety of reasons that people are getting involved,” he said. “Could be for fitness, because it’s a great cardio workout, then you see people getting involved for self-defence purposes. But, ultimately, you see people who want to compete in the cage.”
He said the demand for MMA in Dubai is “huge”.
“We realised there’s a history of martial arts here, a history of jiu-jitsu here,” Mack said.
“Abu Dhabi has held the top grappling tournament in the world for the last decade, so a lot of the infrastructure was already in place.”
He also is hoping for a breakthrough at the August 29 event.
“We’re looking to have the first Emirati fighter to compete at an international level,” he said. “We’re starting to see a lot of local fighters involved, too.”
Mack says One FC’s plan is for 10 bouts involving 20 fighters “from around the world” and believes the event will attract the attention of “a huge contingent of international press”.
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