Maiden mixed martial arts event set to rattle Singapore

Wed May 12, 2010 1:21am EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Tickets for concerts by crooner Tom Jones and band Tears for Fears were hot sellers in Singapore recently, but for cage fighter Mitch Chilson, "Martial Combat" is the only show in town.

Asia's biggest, and also the city-state's first, mixed martial arts (MMA) event kicks off on Wednesday with five fights at the S$6.59 billion ($4.76 billion) Resorts World Sentosa integrated resort. The two-day card features 10 bouts in total.

Branded human cockfighting and unbound bloodlust by its critics, MMA is one of the world's fastest growing sports which combines fighting styles ranging from boxing, muay thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling.

Chilson, who fights out of Singapore's Evolve MMA Academy, takes on Taiwan's Zhang Jing Xong in Thursday's main event. Also on the card are fighters from Brazil, South Korea, China and the United States.

"People are going to see the ultimate martial arts competition," muay thai specialist Chilson told Reuters after checking out the Martial Combat cage.

"It's a rare opportunity to have this many accomplished fighters in one area from around the region.

"This is the show to see."

Adam Zecha, ESPN STAR Sports executive vice president and head of sales, South East Asia, has high hopes for the fledgling fighting championships and said there was an appetite for professional MMA action throughout Asia.   Continued...