Hanoi (VNS/VNA) – Mixed martial arts has finally found its place in Vietnam after the national federation (VMMAF) was established, promising a bright future for the sport.
The Vietnam Mixed Martial Arts Federation was born on May 30 in Hanoi under President Ngo Duc Quynh and his four deputies.
The establishment of the MMA governing body was warmly welcomed by officials and athletes who have been involved in the combat sport for about 15 years without management.
"The VMMAF’s establishment matches the development of MMA in the world," said Hoang Quoc Vinh, head of Vietnam Sports Administration's Elite Sport Department.
"MMA has been strongly growing in the region, Asia and the world. Our neighbour countries such as China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines have federations and have successfully organised tournaments.
"In Vietnam, MMA lovers and practisers have been involved in the sport for a long time but it was unorganised. It is really the right time to integrate with the world," Vinh said.
"Moreover, we can see MMA has brought huge benefits for the organising country. If we can manage MMA well, it will be a big financial resource for Vietnamese sports," he said.
Vietnam's WBA Asia champion Truong Dinh Hoang was one of the delegates at the VMMAF's first congress and said MMA would have a great future here.
"We have been waiting for the federation's establishment for a long time. It is great news for martial arts lovers. It is a key step for athletes to join MMA which is a hot sport in both Vietnam and the world," he said.
"Vietnam has potential athletes who are practising MMA as well as those from kickboxing , Muay Thai and boxing. They just need to improve techniques of MMA to master the sport.
"I really hope that with the support of sport managers and the federation, MMA will grow strongly in the near future," he said.
Fighter Tran Quang Loc has been practising MMA for nearly 10 years and was the first Vietnamese athlete to go international and won a title at Rich Franklin's ONE Warrior Series last year.
He has been waiting for a federation for many years.
"It is amazing news. I feel like I was born for the second time with the establishment of the VMMAF," said Loc.
"It will be a milestone for the MMA community. VMMAF will bring us official rules, training and competing activities, and assurance for athletes which will make us more confident in competition.
"I hope that we will have regular official tournaments locally for us to maintain our skills so we can prepare for international competitions," he said.
Nguyen Cat Tung is a rising star in national MMA. The national jujitsu champion is confident about his chances when joining in the new sport of MMA.
"I practice both boxing and jujitsu which are key bases for MMA. I believe that I will meet with no difficulty in MMA," said 24-year-old Tung.
"VMMAF was set up. It means that MMA has been legalised in Vietnam. It is a good opportunity for us to show off our abilities and develop."
MMA is a combat sport which is a mix of different martial arts such as boxing, karate, jujitsu, wrestling and judo. The aim is to defeat opponents using striking, throwing, kicking, punching and grappling techniques, both stand-up and on the ground.
MMA was first seen in Vietnam in 2005 with a small number of practisers. But currently, there are more than 40 clubs in the country with the participation of up to 5,000 athletes.
At the event, Quynh also revealed the federation's plans to develop MMA.
"Our first jobs are to set up our operation regulations and rules of competitions. We will focus on training for referees, coaches and athletes.”
Quynh said MMA is still new in Vietnam and Vietnamese athletes have to learn from friends across the world. In the future, he plans to invite international coaches here to lift up the local level.
He said VMMAF will work with the sports administration to organise one to two international events along with domestic competitions for local athletes in 2020.
He said he has already made interesting plans for the next year to let the world know about Vietnam’s MMA talents./.
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