What?! Cage fight tournament in a shopping mall in Malaysia?! I was surprised as well when I attended this very unusual and exciting event. One did not need invitation to spectate as the first and biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) cage competition in the country was held openly at the Orange Concourse lower ground level of Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall on the 11th of September 2011.
It was very bold of them to organise Mayhem 2: Hell in the Cage in the open like this. I guess it helps when you have a Y.B on your side. Initially, I was actually amused by the name of the event. Hell in the cage? I was like, “Hah! Don’t make me laugh.” I thought it was just going to be some friendly sparring, a demonstration, a child’s play show. But it turned out to be raw, brutal and violent as “Hell” indeed.
Every punch, every kick, every slam to the ground the figthers gave to their opponents’ flesh and bones in the cage were genuine and pain-inflicting as most participants were hungry to win. I could even hear the sounds of every physical impact they made. And yes, there were blood and injuries. Some of the participants actually cowered out when it was their turn to fight.
I totally didn’t expect that at all. Neither did any of the shoppers who were there that day to witness it. However I don’t think every parent in the mall were pleased that such serious fights took place right front of their children’s eyes. It was truly an exceptional free live entertainment for the people who was around. One that people could probably have paid to watch.
Mayhem 2: Hell in the Cage was a mixed martial art (MMA) cage tournament opened to all amateurs and pro-amateurs (Pro-AM, mistakenly pronounced as “pro emature” by one of the officials before the first match began) to participate. The purpose was to popularise mixed martial arts (MMA) as sport and also to display, introduce and promote various martial arts in Malaysia.
64 fighters from all around the world were invited to join as well, therefore all of the participants were locals. Perhaps the most surprising participant was Antonio Graceffo, the producer and host of a martial arts TV programme “Martial Arts Oddysey.” I never thought a celebrity would risk his credibility and reputation by joining an amateur competition such as this. He lost in the semi-final match of his category.
The rules were simple. 4 minutes per round, only one round per match during preliminary stages. No weapons. As mentioned, fighters were separated by level of experience – amateur or pro-amateur; and weight – bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight and up (above). Participants faced the opponents of their own category only. Most of the matches were won by submission or judges’ consent. Not many lasted one whole round.
The fighters had various martial arts background. From Muay Thai to Wing Chun to Taekwando to Silat. There was one or two with none, presumably street fighting or self-taught style. A few of the fighters that lost were really really poor and lacked of experience. Those who won at least a match were either fierce-strong-explosive or calm-skilled-technical. From watching the matches, I could see how the fighters who learnt more than a single martial art benefited. Example; if one was literate with both Wing Chun or Muay Thai AND Wresting or Judo, one would have problem with neither hand-to-hand nor grappling combat.
From my observation, I learnt that size really didn’t matter that much. I saw a few thinner participants winning muscular ones, and shorter ones winning their taller opponents as well. It was all experience, strength and agility or just pure skills. Most of them opt to take down their opponents to win by having a better position or to pin them up for a victory by submission. Some of the positions looked quite sexual from my angle. Sorry but it’s true! Anyhow, they proved to be very effective in the competition. Two pro-AM fighters from Kazakhstan came on top in the finals of their respective categories. Apologies, I did it again.
The competition kicked off later than scheduled and then ended earlier than scheduled. My friend wasn’t pleased about this as he returned all the way to mall wanting to watch the final matches. Of course, the event wasn’t perfect. Apart from the poor emceeing, the RELA personals did not do good job too. They failed keep the people out of the media’s area. There were also referee and judging errors; some were really embarrassing. There was once where the judges got the names of the fighters mixed up and announced the wrong winner. They didn’t realise until the supposed loser’s hand was raised by the referee at the end of the match. One of the judges was “Pistol” Pete Davies, the British welterweight champion of UKMMAC. I recognised that he acted in the local film Sell Out!
The fights kept me in the mall from morning until it ended at night. Such interesting event was bound to gain massive attention and response from the crowd in the mall. I absolutely loved some of the rock tunes they played during the event. Perhaps the most distracting element in the whole event was the ring girls. I’m a sucker for chicks with nice sexy legs. Besides the matches of the competition, the organisers MuayFit also put together some martial art demonstrations during the lunch time interval.
Mayhem 2: Hell in the Cage was brought to us by MuayFit, Malaysia’s MMA/fitness gym. If you’re interested in becoming a member but short of dough, stay tuned to MilkADeal as they may be running another discount deal for Muay Fit again.
The following are a couple of the final matches I recorded with my mobile phone;